Just finished up with the Global Game Jam in St. Louis and it was a blast. There are so many awesome people in the game development community. I can’t think of many things that are better than spending an entire weekend with a ton of supportive and driven people like you.
I have spent about a year now learning to write and arrange music for video games. It has a lot of challenges that I didn’t expect. Here are the songs that I created over the past weekend. Most of the songs I worked on weren’t published to the Global Game Jam site, but I can still post it here!
Dating Simulator ( Anime/JPop music)
Vibe ( Zen/Ethereal)
Heart Invaders ( 8 bit-ish)
It is ok to “borrow” song structure for music. When I say structure, I mean the structure of how a song is organized and arranged. For the dating simulator game, I really had no idea where to start with creating that style of music. In these type of situations, YouTube is my first (and usually only) resource. First decent sounding song down the list was “Remember Me” by Cristina Vee . Name doesn’t sound very japanese to me, but the video was pretty anime dating-ish.
If you listen to my song along with the youtube version, you can see where the arrangement and instrumentation are almost identical. I didn’t have a singer, so I threw in a guitar solo. The melody, rhythm, and harmony were all my own, so I wouldn’t consider it too plagiarizing. Most genres use a similar structure in general, so Jpop music uses the common chorus/verse duo that most pop and rock music follows. It would have been nice to have a singer though.
The biggest point I really took home was that game gams aren’t about the final product. Yes, it is nice to show a game you worked on to people, but I think it is REALLY about the entire experience of being with people and working toward a goal.
When you look at game jam game in its final form, it is easy to look on the surface and make judgements based off how good the art is — or what features the developers implemented. What you don’t see is the growth and evolution of people. Stories people remember for years are formed at these events. Relationships begin, and old friendships are enriched. This is the most rewarding part going to game jams for me.