Looking to get into music composition/audio design


#1

Hey, Waypointers.

I’m really interested in providing music and/or sound design for games, but I don’t actually know anybody who makes them. I’d love to get some experience working on stuff like weird/interesting little game jam games, and I was wondering if any of the fine folks here know which are the best forums for finding that sort of thing.


#2

I don’t have the most experience with this kind of thing but I’ve been interested in this kind of thing for the last year so know some useful places for finding stuff to do.

In terms of game jams itch.io is super good. They have a calendar for all the jams they do - including a lot specifically for beginners. I found it quite easy to find a team and to start doing stuff (I participated in one called My First Game Jam).

Theres a good place in itch.io’s forums for advertising about your work - and as well as that I have posted in /r/gameDevClassified, indiedb and the Unreal Forums. The only thing about these is I’d say you have to be careful about the people that may approach you as 1) They might just be copy and pasting the same reply to every composer on the forum and 2) You need to make sure you get credit on the work (especially if its hobby stuff).

Again I’m not an expert but I hope this can helps as someone who has recently been in a similar position as you. I’d say also to check out this blog post from Winifred Phillips as she lists some great resources and also to check out other stuff she has done because she has wrote a lot about composing for video games (and she is pretty cool).


#3

My best tip: try to find local game makers or even other composers/sound designers. You’d be surprised how many cities have them and if not your area, maybe one near enough to you would be suitable. I see a lot of composers who do not have a great presence on the web still getting plenty of work simply because they are the known composer in their area who every game person knows and will recommend.

Going to a game jam venue (my local organization does events for Ludum Dare and Global Game Jam, for example) and setting yourself up as the musician and sound designer, taking requests from everyone and delivering them assets, is a neat thing to do for a weekend. I have gotten a handful of paid gigs after doing this, and that’s a higher rate of success than I have had doing any other one thing to get myself out there. That’s another thing: make sure the people at the jam know you’re not always free. And if you’re thinking about always working for free, please read my other thread. Please, please don’t work for free, even if you are just starting out and trying to break in.

Mind the fact that we’re all strangers to each other at first on the internet and asking games people you’ve never met in person to hang out one-on-one and talk about the industry can be weird. If you want to get talking with someone who you have no personal or business connection with yet, try to arrange to meet them at another public event or gathering.

Other tips:

Definitely be on Twitter, find friendly people in the industry who have stuff in common with you, and focus on making genuine relationships rather than spamming or schmoozing. I did a Twitter thread recently about the best ways to genuinely network and avoid using people or becoming known as someone who overpromotes.

#gameaudio is a good hashtag to follow, as well as #gamedev #indiedev and #screenshotsaturday, which can be used in particular to find games very early in development. Indie Game Jams is a good list of jams that you can perhaps participate in and find teams by using a hashtag of the jam’s name.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever found a legitimate game job on reddit, or any forum, that wasn’t just looking for someone to do free work. Be wary of people with big game ideas and not a lot to show, people who are paying some members of their team and not others, and people who say they have crowdfunding/other funding plans and can pay you later.

Winifred Phillips is really great and if you’re into it, I highly recommend her book A Composer’s Guide To Game Music. It is specifically about what is different about game industry music jobs, and it is specifically for people who plan to be freelancers/contractors. That blog post @rowan linked is really great, too, and made my shit a lot shorter here by covering a lot of ground!

Let me know if you have any specific questions, I’m almost always around.


#4

I second the idea of getting involved in a local dev community if possible. It’s a good way to make connections and, in my experience, people who are committed to facilitating those kinds of communities are often really cool, so you’ll likely make some good friends!

You could also try going to some conventions! Personally, I have found meeting people IRL more fun/impactful than online. That might just be a personal thing though, as I tend to have an easier time connecting with people in person. Unfortunately going to cons can be financially difficult, but local conventions are becoming more prevalent and you may be able to find some that aren’t too far from you.

I’m not what one might call an established professional, but feel free to shoot me a message any time. I love hearing other people’s music!