This week I am trying something brand new. I joined a few online “Game Jams”. Previously, I had never even heard of game jams–they are a new concept for me. A game jam is a get-together of a bunch of game developers, in response to a challenge. The challenge is to develop a brand new video game in a limited amount of time. Some game jams last only a few days, while others can last a month or more. The more time that is available, the more complex and complete the finished products can be.
People usually compete in teams against other teams. They are given some theme or style that their games must conform to. And sometimes they don’t learn what the challenge theme will be until the very start of the competition.
This month I joined a few teams in a couple of online game jams. I will be composing music for their games. Each team needs a different style of music, so I need to comply with their needs. One of the game jams is called Metroidvania. This is a genre of action-adventure games, a sort of combination of two genres; Metroid and Castlevania. These games often involve a large fictitious world that needs to be explored. Obstacles lie in your path, that require special keys, tools or abilities to overcome. This is going to be fun!
Video game music is quite different than film music. The challenge is to compose music that does not suffer from repetition fatigue after listening many times over and over. Here are a few of my attempts at this genre of music.
Harmonic progression, with no distinct melody.
Same harmonic progression, with an etherial piano playing arpeggios.
An nostalgic melody interacting with a whistle that is shaped by a succession of portamentos (gliding in pitch)