Composing Music for Video Games

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<p>(Composing Music for Video Games) Course Syllabus (Lennie Moore)</p> <p>1</p> <p>Course Title: Composing Music for Video GamesCourse Catalog Description: Composing Music for Video Games (Online) Through weekly writing assignments, online lectures and audio-visual demonstrations, composers gain an understanding of the composition techniques, organization, and delivery formats unique to the video game industry using the Blackboard system. Topics include in-game versus cinematic scoring; budgeting and project management; contracts; technology tools for asset creation and processing; music engines and compositional techniques specific to video game music; electronic music creation versus using live musicians; mixing; composing for different game genres and audio formats, delivery of assets for different console formats such as Xbox/Xbox 360, PS2/PS3, PC, GameCube, and handheld devices (GameBoy, Nintendo DS). Weekly composition assignments focus on writing original adaptive music similar to works created for current games. Prerequisite: Some composition background. Since outside composition projects are assigned, students must create final mixes outside of class with their own composition tools such as: Pro Tools, Logic, Digital Performer, Cubase SX, Nuendo, Sonar, or Reason and upload them to the Blackboard. Enrollment limited; early enrollment advised. Lennie Moore, composer of music for the Watchmen Motion Comic (2009 G.A.N.G. Awards winner) and such video games as Star Wars: The Old Republic, Magic the Gathering: Duel of the Planeswalkers, Dirty Harry, Dragonshard, The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Ring, Plague of Darkness, and Outcast (Infogrames, AIAS Best Music Nominee 2000). Mr. Moore also has composed and orchestrated music for feature films, television movies, and commercials.</p> <p>(Composing Music for Video Games) Course Syllabus (Lennie Moore) WELCOME MESSAGE Instructor Lennie Moore</p> <p>2</p> <p>WELCOME to Composing Music for VideogamesThis class is an intense, hands-on workshop on composing music for videogames and I will be challenging you for the next twelve weeks - breaking down your conceptions of what composing is, building your abilities to compose adaptive music, and introducing you to many of the things I consider when creating music for video games. Enjoy the class and prepare for the unknown!</p> <p>Getting StartedI suggest starting with a review of the syllabus, which you'll find by clicking on the syllabus button on the upper left side of the Blackboard. You will also need the following: A sequencing host software (Logic, Cubase, Pro Tools, etc.) and familiarity with how to export audio mixes of your compositions into 44.1KHz 16-bit .wav audio format. I recommend an Audio editing tool like Pro Tools, Bias Peak, Sony Sound Forge, Steinberg WaveLab or the like to really do detailed edits of things like seamless loops.. I also heartily recommend Ableton Live, which is a tool I use to simulate video game music engines for testing my adaptive compositions (I'll be showing you examples of this in my course). Apple Quicktime Pro (costs about $30 and you can save and edit Quicktime movies from the web easily, convert movies and audio to various formats - a great buy) Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader (the full version of Acrobat allows you to create and edit pdfs - a slick tool for making docs look great for your clients)</p> <p>If you have questions, I can be reached at the phone number and email address listed below. I'm a busy guy, so be respectful of that and I'll do my best to assist you ASAP.</p> <p>Lennie Moore Studio: (707) 260-2400 email: lennie@lenniemoore.com</p> <p>(Composing Music for Video Games) Course Syllabus (Lennie Moore) Staff Information</p> <p>3</p> <p>Instructor: Email: Work Phone: Office Location: Office Hours: Website: Notes:</p> <p>Lennie Moore lennie@lenniemoore.com (707) 260-2400 3l33t Studios Santa Rosa, CA Thursdays, 4-6pm Pacific time zone or by appointment www.lenniemoore.com</p> <p>For over 20 years, Lennie Moore has been a proven force as an accomplished composer, orchestrator and arranger of music for videogames, film, and television; with a wide range of musical styles, from jazz to symphonic orchestra. He has composed music on numerous films, orchestrated for other composers on feature films, television movies, over 125 commercials, in addition to composing for many videogames including Outcast (2000 nominee for Best Music by the AIAS - Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences), Star Wars: The Old Republic, Magic the Gathering: Duel of the Planeswalkers, Dirty Harry (WBIE), Dragonshard (Liquid/Atari), War of the Ring (Liquid/Vivendi), and additional music for Snoopy vs. the Red Baron (Bandai Namco). Lennie recently won a G.A.N.G. Award for the Watchmen Motion Comic web series. He has taught Composing for Games at UCLA Extension, USC Thornton School of Music, CSUN Summer Arts Festival, and developed the first accredited degree program in the U.S. in Video Game Audio at Pinnacle College in Alhambra, CA. If you need to reach me, the best method is via email (which I check usually twice a day) or calling when necessary. If I am unavailable or on another phone call, just leave a message and I will get back to you (usually within 24-48 hours). As I develop this online course further, I'll research more effective ways for online conversations (Skype for example).**I will occasionally add new features/content to the course to refine the material based on things</p> <p>like changes in technology, discovering better ways to present a particular topic, and student feedback.</p> <p>(Composing Music for Video Games) Course Syllabus (Lennie Moore) Class/Instructor Expectations</p> <p>4</p> <p>What you can expect from this course: Online lectures demonstrating techniques most often used in composing adaptive music for videogames. Other lectures will cover important aspects of the work I do such as project management, contracts, and technology. Lots of audio/visual examples Eight composition assignments where you will be creating your own adaptive music. Instructor/Peer review of your work What I expect from you: Weekly assignments to be turned in by 9am (Pacific time zone) of each due date (every Wednesday). Active participation on the forums (25% of your grade) with your comments, questions, and opinions. Excellent time management in completing your work when it is due. Review of your peers work using the following criteria: 1. What do you like about the piece? 2. What will make it better? Regarding Posting Responses: I expect you to make a commitment to post your responses for exercises, assignments and discussions by or before the due dates each week. The classroom/forums should be active and engaging. Pacing your work earlier in the week will give you more time for larger projects when you need it (and there are plenty of them!). Your postings should incorporate responses to your peers, your opinions, pertinent information from things that youve read, web links, and examples from your experience. Your responses should include more than phrases such as "I agree" or "kk." Features of a good posting IMO include objective and critical analysis, thoughtful inquiry, and generous sharing of your experiences. Your posts should feature good writing, correct spelling and mechanics. The quality, clarity and depth of your writing conveys many things to your clients. This is part of the business side of the work we do. Communication should be professional and use good netiquette. In the spirit of scholarly discussion, I expect responses that agree and disagree with others as long as they apply to the topic and are respectful (see my FORUM RULES thread). Put my name in postings to me (to Lennie). Do the same for responses to everyone else. No messages are private - so please expand on any topic.</p> <p>(Composing Music for Video Games) Course Syllabus (Lennie Moore)</p> <p>5</p> <p>Responses to your Postings: I will be in the classroom almost every day. I will respond to questions generally within 24-48 hours. Feel free to email me if theres something urgent. If you need to contact me with non-public questions (things like problems with how youre managing the course, scheduling issues, or absence from the class due to emergencies) please email me. Any question that relates to the subject of composing for games (like how do I do X?) I will always have you post it on the forums as it has been in my experience, a valuable thing to bring to the whole class. If after reading the assignment, you do not understand what to do, please call me at (707) 2602400, so that I can explain the assignment. This is much better than turning in an assignment that is not done correctly and losing points. If I get enough similar questions about assignments or any subject in particular, Ill respond via a follow-up online tutorial.</p> <p>(Composing Music for Video Games) Course Syllabus (Lennie Moore)</p> <p>6</p> <p>Discussion Rubric TableThis Rubric Table will be used to assess the quality of your participation in the online discussion forums. Please use this tool as a guide when constructing your postings.Mechanics of the Posting Unsatisfactory Uses incomplete sentences, is unstructured in its organization, and includes frequent or consistent errors in mechanics (grammar, spelling, usage) in each paragraph. The posting is unreadable and there is a distinct lack of tone. Provides minimal comments and information to other participants in the forum. Basic Uses complete sentences and the posting is comprehensible. The organization could be improved to present a more coherent argument, statement, or question. Includes 2-3 mechanical errors grammar, spelling, usage) per paragraph. The tone is respectful. Provides comments, and some new information on a sporadic basis. Interacts with only 1-2 participants in the forum. Proficient Uses complete sentences, organization is evident, and the posting includes no more than one mechanical error (grammar, spelling, usage) per paragraph. The tone is clear and respectful Provides comments, discussion, questions, and new information on a fairly regular basis. Interacts with a few participants in the forum. Demonstrates an adequate understanding of the concepts, topics, and ideas as evidenced by posting superficial, or general statements in the forum. Includes a few details in the posting. Indicates agreement or disagreement with an existing discussion including a limited explanation or justification. Provides comments, discussion, and questions without a clear connection to the course material at hand. Distinguished Uses complete sentences, organization is clear and thoughtful, the posting is grammatically correct, and free of spelling errors. The tone is clear and respectful.</p> <p>Participation in the Discussion</p> <p>Content of Posting</p> <p>Writes a general or superficial posting that is unrelated to the discussion at hand and/or posts no comments.</p> <p>Demonstrates a restricted understanding of the concepts, topics, and ideas as evidenced by posting information that could be derived from prior posts and/or including highly general comments.</p> <p>Critical Thinking Evidenced by Posting</p> <p>Provides no evidence of agreement or disagreement with an existing discussion.</p> <p>Indicates agreement or disagreement with an existing discussion but provides no justification or explanation for comments.</p> <p>Provides comments, discussion, questions, and new information on a regular, active, and weekly basis. Shows a high degree of interaction with other participants in the forum. Demonstrates a solid understanding of the concepts, topics, and ideas as evidenced by thoughtful responses and questions that show a clear connection (are integrated) with the course material at hand. The posting shows depth, and includes many supporting details. Demonstrates a critical analysis of an existing posted idea or introduces a different interpretation to an existing concept or idea. Includes comments, discussion, and questions that have a clear connection (are integrated) with the course material at hand.</p> <p>(Composing Music for Video Games) Course Syllabus (Lennie Moore)</p> <p>7</p> <p>Reflection Rubric TableDuring your course, you will be asked to reflect on your work and how you will apply what you have learned. This Rubric Table will help you assess your reflections.Uns Coherence &amp; Relevance atisfactory One cannot discern the learners perceptions and attitudes or what he or she learned. Basic Paper adequately describes the learners perceptions, attitudes and what she or he learned; however, gaps and omissions are present. There are gaps in the learners description of how the experiences helped transform him or her into a scholarpractitioner. Proficient Paper describes the learners thoughts, perceptions, attitudes and what was learned; a few gaps or omissions are present. Learner adequately describes how the experiences helped transform him or her into a scholarpractitioner. Distinguished Paper thoroughly describes the learners perceptions, attitudes and what he or she learned from the project. Learner clearly describes how the experiences helped transform him or her into a scholarpractitioner.</p> <p>Transformation</p> <p>It is not clear how the experiences transformed the learner.</p> <p>The Rubric Tables provide a way for you to discern the level of performance I expect in my course. It provides performance-based criteria that may help to steer discussions so that they are effective and reflect on your learning experiences.</p> <p>(Composing Music for Video Games) Course Syllabus (Lennie Moore) Syllabus Outline Topics by Unit Unit 01 Introductions, Course Overview, In-game vs. Cinematic Scoring, Tools/Resources, Common Terminology, and Music Engines Unit 02 Technology/Tools for asset creation and processing, Music Engines I Looping Unit 03 Project Management I, Mixing, Music Engines II (Merging Stems) Unit 04 Composing for Different Genres, Project Management II (Pre-Production), Music Engines III (Branching)</p> <p>8</p> <p>page 14</p> <p>15</p> <p>16 17</p> <p>Unit 05 Electronics vs. Live Musicians , Project Management III Compartmentalizing &amp; Scheduling, Music Engines IV Zones, Flags &amp; Triggers Unit 06 Audio Delivery Formats, Project Management IV Budgeting, Music Engines V Transitions Unit 07 Project Management V Contracts, Music Engines VI God of War style Unit 08 Music Engines VII Composing in Segments Unit 09 Middleware Engines Unit 10 Project Management VI Your Music Team, Music Engines VII Layers &amp; Stems Unit 11 Final Projects due, Audio Implementation and Music Systems, Demos Unit 12 Final Project Review and course wrap-up</p> <p>18</p> <p>19</p> <p>20 21 22 23</p> <p>24 25</p> <p>(Composing Music for Video Games) Course Syllabus (Lennie Moore) Course Overview</p> <p>9</p> <p>This course will teach an in-depth program of composing music for videogames. Teaching style will include online lectures, audio/visual demonstrations, handouts, composition assignments. Topics will include: In-Game vs. Cinematic Scoring, Budgeting/Project...</p>