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MA Composing for Video Games

Composing for video games is one of the most exciting and innovative areas of media composition. It is the only truly interactive and non-linear medium. It’s like scoring a film that hasn’t been edited yet. That presents the most exciting technical and creative challenges. In the highly competitive world of professional composition, a career as a video game composer still offers some of the best opportunities.The MA Composing for Video Games is run in partnership with ThinkSpace Education.

Student view

DR. TIM SUMMERS
FOUNDER OF THE LUDOMUSICOLOGY RESEARCH GROUP
ThinkSpace serves an incredibly valuable function by connecting the practice of media music from the industry with the newest research on the topic coming from university academics.
GARI BIASILLO
COMPOSER, PRODUCER AND PROGRAMMER

The hands on tutorials, course materials and project have aided my focus, reflect on my work, and enabled me to compose more efficiently and at a higher quality. 

OSCAR FLORES-ZAZUETA
LOUDER PRODUCTIONS

I received very honest feedback about the music I was composing, but at the same time encouraging feedback about the things I needed to do to improve my work.

Course content

The course has been developed in close consultation with the industry, so we are teaching you the skills your future employers want you to have.

It’s a strongly project focused course and you will develop an effective workflow, remote working and collaboration and a clear understanding of what’s expected of the game composer as a member of the game audio team.

All your tutors are working professional video game composers.

You will work on an inspiring range of games, including commercial releases, provided as part of your course materials.

You will learn not only how to create inspiring interactive music but also how to implement your score inside the game using industry standard middleware like FMOD and WWise.

There are plenty of music production schools yet, despite increasing interest in video games soundtracks, almost none who specialize in scoring computer games.

This is currently the only online master’s degree in composing for video games. So if you enjoy working in a vibrant and rapidly evolving area of music production, if you embrace the technical and creative challenges that scoring computer games will involve, then come and join us.

Our MA will bring you the real-world professional tuition you need to lay the solid foundations of a career composing music for video games.

Indicative modules

GAME AUDIO TECHNOLOGY

You start with an intensive course in audio middleware that you will use to implement your music in the game. You will also learn about memory budgets, CPU restrictions, game engines, different platforms and version control. There is information on who does what and how game audio teams are put together.

RESEARCH SKILLS

A rich and rewarding module that is closely tied to the practical projects. Designed by leading game music academic, Dr Tim Summers, this module leads you deeper into the conceptual thinking surrounding games. It gives you the research tools to reflect on your own work and to draw more meaningful conclusions about the nature, structure and future of video game audio and music.

FOUNDATIONS OF GAME SOUND DESIGN

Your first practice based module and you’ll be creating sound for a range of puzzle games, an infinite runner and a simulator. It’s all about learning to work to a brief and finding a creative space inside the game aesthetic. You’ll be learning about atmos loops, spot FX and dealing choosing and implementing music. The business focus is on one of the fastest growing and most accessible sectors, mobile and handheld gaming.

SOUND AND THE MOVING IMAGE

Trailers and cut-scenes are an essential part of the gaming experience. This module looks at how to create stylized textured sound to picture. You will also learn music editing so you can take pre-existing tracks and incorporate them into the cut scene or trailer. We have a wide selection of cut scenes and trailers to work on including the triple A title Red Bull Air Race and the multi-award winning Armello.

ADAPTIVE MUSIC 1

Writing music that responds to game play and enhances the players experience is the aim of every composer. In this module you will be learning basic adaptive music strategies and implementing them inside the game using the audio middleware. Throughout the course, these two things, music composition and in-game implementation will become inextricably intertwined. The business focus is on working with very small indies, those bedroom developers who can go on to great things.

ADAPTIVE MUSIC 2

In this module we extend the range of adaptive techniques and further reinforce the core skills as well as further developing creative and technical problem solving skills with yet more games and game levels to work on. The business focus is on working with medium sized indies and small teams.

ADVANCED GAME MUSIC 1

This module brings everything together and extends your adaptive strategies to include compound techniques for creating innovative solutions to musical and technical problems. We look at the world of the AAA games, the workflows and what it takes to break into the big time.

ELECTIVE

Choose from Sampling technology, to improve your mockups, Professional Development to learn about getting working and making a living , Kontakt Programming, Working with Wwise, or further cement your core skills with Advanced Game Music 2.

DISSERTATION

The dissertation is a substantial piece of work taking 12 weeks to complete. It will take the form of a major project or portfolio of smaller projects in which you create the sound and implement all the audio inside the game. You will also write a commentary on your work to explain your choices and problem solving strategies.

Teaching and assessment

  • Personal 1-to-1 tuition from top professional composers and sound designers.
  • Learn by working through projects. The workload is challenging but it’s only through hard work that you will truly reach the next level.. The workload is challenging but it’s only through hard work that you will truly reach the next level.
  • Detailed feedback from a range of tutors, online workshops and tutorial groups, forum discussions and exclusive webinars.
  • Telephone and direct email support.

Additional Costs

Include Additional Costs: 

Additional Costs

Hardware and software

You will be uploading and downloading a large quantity of material so you should have access to a reliable broadband with a speed of at least 5Mbs or more.

We have found that the Google Chrome browser is the most compatible with the Adobe Connect webinar software we use which will also be an important part of your course.

All your assignments are uploaded through the Student Portal on our website. This can also be accessed with any standard FTP client, for example CuteFTP on a PC or Transmit on a Mac.

HARDWARE

You will need a computer, software and ancillary equipment (MIDI keyboard, monitors, hard drives both internal and external), Mac or PC, capable of producing professional quality music and audio, and recording equipment. This is the overriding principle and the following minimum technical specifications are given for guidance.

PC

  • Windows 7 or above PC laptop / desktop
  • Quad core 2.3 GHz processor +
  • 16 GB RAM +
  • Graphics card, 1GB GPU (EVGA Nvidia GT 610 or equivalent), we recommend 2GB+

MAC

  • OSX 10.8 or above
  • MacBook Pro, iMac or Mac Pro
  • Quad core 2.3 GHz processor +
  • 16 GB of RAM +
  • Graphics card, 1GB GPU, we recommend 2GB+

SOFTWARE

This is an intensive course with strict deadlines in order to mirror a real-world professional working environment. As such, students must be have acquired and be competent in the use of the minimum technical requirements prior to starting the course to get the most out of it. Students may be eligible for significant educational discounts.

DAW (Digital Audio Workstation):
We expect you to have a good knowledge of one computer based DAW:

  • Logic
  • Cubase
  • Nuendo
  • Sonar
  • Digital Performer
  • Reaper

Game Software: 
You need to have a copy of the following programs but we do not expect you to know how to use them. The exact version number of this software is important, and the version we support may change. Full information on the current approved course software version is available through the VLE.

  • Unity
  • Fmod

Recommended Additional Software:

  • Pro Tools
  • Kontakt
  • Sound Forge

Places still available

Apply Now

Apply for 2018

Course length

Full & Part Time