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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Working With Game Developers

It has been interesting over the years to work with different game developers and development teams. As you can probably tell by many of the games I've worked on, I'm more at home with independent developers. Back in the days of working with id Software, there would be a decision to be made, and it would be made very shortly after the need for a decision. More recently, in working with Brad Carney on Wrack, I'd suggest something and Brad would make a quick decision. This is generally not true of larger development teams, and decisions usually come very slowly from them.

Larger teams are also generally not interested in hearing what a composer/sound developer has to say about anything to do with a project except music/sound. If you talk about game play, graphics, ideas for additions to the project, they look at you like you're speaking a foreign language. This has often been the case with movie production teams, too.

When Wolfenstein 3D was getting close to release, the artists showed everyone the game manual they had designed. It was impressive work. I looked it over and read it. Something jumped out at me. Instead of using the word "Nazi" for the enemy, they had used the word "German." I said something to the effect that "German" included many people that did not support what the Nazis did, so those German people would not like being the enemy in the game. They got what I was saying and changed the term. They were willing to listen to what I had to say though it was not about music/sound effects.

After working on many projects, I decided that the most important thing about a project would be the people I'd be working with. I've turned down projects because I had a feeling they only wanted a musician, not a team member. That's not to say that I would have anything to add to a project other than music/sound effects, but I'd like to think if I did have something to add it wouldn't fall on deaf ears :-)

For me, a decision to work on a project also comes down to whether the others working on the project love what they are doing. If the project is only for making money, alarms go off in my head. I'd much rather work with people who love what they are doing (and happen to make money at it). Money doesn't make up for a mechanical working environment. And projects for the principal purpose of making money usually don't do that great in the end.


  1. Hi. I just wanna say I'm a huge fan of your work in the game, Doom. It's one of my favorite games of all time, and the music you composed for it was amazing. I look forward to hearing your newer stuff. Thanks :)

  2. Hey Bobby you're right, if you make art out of love and excitement, you get doom, if you make art out of the potential for the franchise to make money, you get quake 2