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VGM Composition - GRAND DAD

Blog entry posted by Threxx, 1 Jan 2017.

This blog series(?) will focus mostly on the nuance of the process of composing video game BGM. I’ll try to avoid getting too technical so these can be understood by the layman, and if I do use a term which I think is technical I’ll define it. Nonetheless if there’s something you don’t get, try Googling it first, and if you still don’t get it I’ll try clarifying.


When writing video game music, my goal is to have the music compliment the gameplay and the setting as much as possible, while still trying to have some of my own style in the music. Ultimately, making sure the music is fitting comes first, but how you get the music to fit is the fun part.

When writing music for RED-FIRE’s GRAND DAD game, I didn’t have the luxury of having stage graphics in front of me while writing, so I was forced to work mainly on references given by the project head as to how he thought the music should sound.

The first track I finished was the Alien Base theme:

This song was supposed to sound "very ominous and 'metallic’", according to the creator’s notes. I focused mainly on getting the sound right, and I played around with using a 3/4 time signature and some more dissonant harmonies.

While the track is fine, there was one concern that was brought to my attention:


I forgot the game I was writing for. It is somewhat illogical for the songs to lack any musical reference to GRAND DAD or other related memes, so I added this element to my thinking when I wrote the next track I did… the Runaway Train theme:

This level is planned to be a high-action level, and the creator asked for something intense. I wrote a relatively fast and thrashy riff to back up the song, and then wrote a more traditional VGM melody over it. The second half of the song moves to a faster pace with the percussion playing in double time, and a "guitar solo" which is accented by incorporating part of the Flintstones theme melody. Fitting the game is not just about the specific stage itself, but also making sure the music compliments the overall tone of the game. While I have some disdain for the entire SilvaGunner circle in general, it's what I signed up for with this project, so you have to find some way to work it into the music.

Whether or not these tracks actually will fit their settings is tough to say, since the project still has not gotten to the point where these songs will be used in game, but you won’t always have the luxury of having assets in front of you, so some level of imagination is helpful.


I'm not sure how engaging this was, I effectively just wrote it and what the fuck are revisions???????????? :seagull: If people like this I'll keep doing it, I guess. Leave feedback in the comments.

About the Author

VGM composer who sucks at music and has crippling depression.
  1. Pika
    it was fun to read while waiting for an RPer to say some bullshit in the closure thread
    Faruga likes this.