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MFA Game Music and Audio

Video games are evolving rapidly both technically and creatively, and this is creating enormous opportunities for game audio professionals. The MFA Game Music and Video is in partnership with ThinkSpace Education and has been developed in close consultation with the industry to ensure you are learning the skills the industry requires.

Student view

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.
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. 

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 MFA course is an advanced degree and prepares you for a career as both a video game composer and as a game sound designer, the kind of full-stack game audio professional that is increasingly in demand.

Scoring video games is rewarding and challenging but highly competitive.

Our real-world project based approach, tutored by working professional game composers and sound designers, is designed to help you compete at the highest level.

Being able to provide a complete audio service makes you much more employable.

The course will help you develop as a video games composer, raising your music to a new level, helping you find a voice and distinctive style of your own.

But then you go further and learn the technology and creative skills required to work as a video games sound designer, creating immersive audio worlds.

The course is project focused. We want you to feel like you’re already doing the job.

All your tutors are working professional video game composers and sound designers.

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

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

Whether you want to learn to compose for video games or are looking for a video game sound design course, our MFA will bring you real-world professional tuition you need to lay the solid foundations of a career in video game music and audio.

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.

A choice of one of the following:

Sampling technology: How to produce top quality sampled music. Building a template, choice of libraries, use of controllers mixing and much more.

Professional Development: How to make a living, get work and build a career. All the things you’ll need to know about money, copyright, networking and climbing the ladder.

Kontakt Programming: The industry standard sampler and how to produce your own sounds. Whether as a composer or sound designer, a deep knowledge of Kontakt is a significant advantage.

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.

INTERACTIVE AUDIO 1

You will learn many of the fundamental tools of the sound designers trade from foley to idles, weapon and machine sounds to vehicles and impacts. All of this you will implement using middleware inside specially selected game levels. As with the music, you will be learning both to create engaging and distinctive sounds and how to implement the audio interactively inside the game.

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.

INTERACTIVE AUDIO 2

How do you create the sound of a 3D world? What are the implications of VR and AR for game audio? In this module you learn how to create the sound and implement the audio to bring 3D worlds to life.

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.

ADVANCED GAME AUDIO 1

This module brings together all the individual techniques you have learnt so far. You will be applying the problem solving skills you have been developing and following a complete project workflow through from start to finish.

ELECTIVE 2

In addition to Sampling technology, Professional Development and Kontakt Programming, you can also choose to learn a second middleware Wwise, or further cement your core skills with either of these project based module Advanced Game Music 2 or Advanced Game Audio 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
  • 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.

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.

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 time 2 years, part time 3 – 4 years
Full & Part Time