What must game audio designers learn from film?

What must game audio designers learn from film?
Will Freeman

By Will Freeman

October 30th 2009 at 5:03PM

Nimrod's Mark Canham on lesson's gleaned from a trip to other side

In the final feature for Develop's recent fortnight-long Audio Special, Nimrod's Mark Canham has penned a fascinating insight into what a game sound designer can learn from working scoring for a film.

Video game composer Canham, who was commissioned to create an original score for director J Blakeson's upcoming feature film The Disappearance of Alice Creed, has revealed his belief that by necessity game developers who work in audio are sometimes limited in their creative endeavours.

"We the video game composers are, after all, 3D thinkers when it comes to audio and interactivity – the linear medium of film in comparison is relatively straightforward. It is the 3D ability of our ‘audio’ brains that sometimes prevents us from being as emotional in our music as we possibly can," suggested Canham.

The Nimrod composer then talks in depth about how the linear medium of film allows for total immersion in the story its music often tells.

"It results in creating purely emotional music when scoring a film, whereas games blend a combination of emotional and functional," he added.

"With games we have small snippets of cutscenes, Metal Gear aside, allowing us to really sync audio with visuals which, admittedly, are then rudely interrupted by the in-game soundtrack. This is the great challenge for the video game composer and ultimately where our strengths lie: in creating variation yet providing enough cohesion so that the music doesn’t appear jarringly patchwork or too repetitive throughout hours and hours of gameplay."

To read the full feature, click here.