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[How Far Do Music and Sound Affect Players’ Experience in Gaming?]

Septian Pamungkas Monkey Melody music and sound
Oct 2017

How Far Do Music and Sound Affect Players’ Experience in Gaming?

Sound is an inseparable aspect of a game. In here we will discuss the meaning of music and sound in game development and some cool examples.
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In this discussion, we asked one of the go-to guys for sound designer and composer in Indonesian game industry, Septian Pamungkas. He is the founder of Monkey Melody, a music and sound development studio based in Bandung. Some of their portfolios are Tahu Bulat, Tahu Bulat 2, Rage in Peace, and many more.

Monkey Melody Logo music and sound

How do you define a good music and sound in a game?


From a sound developer point of view, good music/sound in games is the one which can fulfill their objective in term of input and output of a game.

From the input perspective, music and sound that are produced must be optimal when in the development process. We usually can see it from one of its process aspects which is how much effort the sound developer willing to do research and apply it to help a game to achieve its objective. From output perspective, if the input’s objective is already fulfilled, usually the output will have a good impact on players.

How far do sound and music affect players’ experience in gaming?


If that is the question, then the answer is another question, which is how far does a game give music and sound role in it? This is because music’s role in a game can also be as important as other aspects of it. For example, music/sound can be a game mechanism that is applied to rhythm games. Even in other genres, music/sound have also been applied as some sort of mechanism, just like in the video below.

Can you give us some examples of games that really optimize the use of sound/music and how they do it?

There are few games that I think as both sound developer and player are very cool. It has a great impact and message to deliver from the sound department. From the music perspective, I love Doom which its music was developed by Mick Gordon.

I love how he answered the challenge from the game developers which is “We want you to make music that no one has ever heard before.” For his various approaches and research that he has done, you can see them in the video below.

From the sound design perspective, I really like Inside game, with Martin Stig Andersen as the sound developer. I love his approach on building experience through the sound he creates. You can read one of them here.

And then you can see how he implement sound in his games in this video.

With its huge importance in the game, how do you feel about the state of game music composer right now in today’s industry (locally)?

From my experience from holding Game Music Talk last year in four cities in Indonesia and from what I see so far, I think there are more talented new composers and sound designers going into the game industry. But then again, with our industry is still fledgling and young, music and sound are still only considered as complementary. Those new talents one by one got out, but there are still few names that I know are still in.

I think we need a platform to bridge audio talents so they can grow together, along with the game industry. At least there can be a concrete collaboration between the audio and game developer folks because, for me, the more effective way of learning is by on field experience with game developers.

Is there enough resource for developers to make a good music/sound for their game in today’s industry (local)?

If we compare the needs of the market with the games released nowadays, I think it is still sufficient. But the thing that needs to be underlined is game developers must give sound designers and composers the space to learn and explore more things in the game that is being developed. It is really unfortunate if we researched many things about audio but we can not implement them because there is a lack of awareness about sound and music in games.

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Arya Wibowo
Arya is a gamer dad, boardgame geek, and game industry enthusiast. He loves strategy games and soccer games.
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