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Monday, June 11, 2007

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The Music Of Warcraft
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Gamespot recently interviewed Jason Hayes, musical composer for Blizzard Entertainment's extremely successful World of Warcraft. Hayes discusses his career, the technical difficulties of game-soundtrack creation, and the legitimisation of games as an art form.

GS AU: What's the typical creative process involved in creating a game soundtrack?

JH: When it comes to starting a game project--in some ways it's similar to a movie in that you've got certain moments of gameplay that you want the mood to be evocative in a certain way. In the game industry it's a lot different, because instead of just sitting down with a director and just spotting the movie and picking out the exact spots where you want music to play, it becomes an effort of sitting down with game designers and programmers and actually architecting the implementation strategy for how things will play. If you know an area wants to feel scary at a certain moment because there's a certain boss creature or something, then you need to plan out very carefully at what point that music will start and what things should trigger it. It could be artificial intelligence of the game that gives you a clue, or crossing over of a geographic boundary, or it could be walking into an instance. It could be all kinds of things that might inform the decision to play a certain piece of music at a certain time.

Once you get into the thick of it and you're working on the music for the game, for me that process usually begins with my portable voice recorder and I'll sing and hum ideas into it. Because one of the great things about technology is that I have this rack of studio gear and it's capable of emulating an orchestra, if that's what I need to do--[it's] fairly convincing, but all this gear can be a bit intimidating to me if I'm going to write a piece of music. So I love to get away from everything and just go jogging and hum some ideas and come up with some good broad-stroke ideas. Once I get those, then I've got a guiding blueprint for what I want to do, and I can import these ideas directly into my workstation, or just reference them directly on the recorder. Then I feel a lot more prepared to face the arsenal of gear and begin production work.
Check out the rest of the interview at the link below.

Gamespot: WoW Music Q&A
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
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