I was at GDC all last week, and it was great. Got to hang out with a bunch of game audio nerds, both local and from far away, and even meet some I’ve only known through Twitter until now. Met a lot of cool people from all over the industry, and had some great conversations. In fact, spent a lot less time worrying about furthering my career than I did at the last two GDC’s I attended and focused more on just learning about making games, and still walked way with a mountain of business cards, and a lot less of my own.
This GDC actually got me thinking about how far I’ve (hopefully) come as a game composer since I started. I’ve been writing music since high school and playing since I was four, but translating those interests into making music for games was a rough process at first. There’s not a lot of structure or guidance in this job, and when you’re starting out, you need to find other people doing what you want to do and reach out to them, ask for advice. I spent my first GDC years ago stressing out, believing that I had to find contacts before the conference was over, that this was my one chance to land a game soundtrack. As a result, I was awkward (when I’m normally pretty good at talking to people) and very ham-fisted about working my music into conversations (when I’m usually ham-fisted about working The Avengers into conversation). This year, by comparison, I had a great time, came away with a ton of new contacts, and only threw up on myself a small handful of times! Huzzah for self improvement! Note to self: next year, stop saying “huzzah.”
Since I’m all self-reflectey and whatnot, I thought that this week for Microjam I’d dust off an older track buried deep in the dank basement of my website. A place where the musty barrels under the stairs hide dark secrets, but you’re too afraid to look. A place where maybe there’s an old couch and a decent TV setup for watching movies, but nobody uses it because the water heater is too loud.
I found one of my earliest game music demo tracks and, well, oof. It was bad, you guys. And I don’t mean just the writing itself, though I like to think I’ve improved since when I started. It was all the technical stuff. All the sound was occupying the same space, I barely used any reverb or effects where it would’ve counted, and the ones I did use didn’t improve anything. So like Freddie Prinze Jr. in every teen movie ever, I need to take this weird artsy chick and get her ready for prom! Lose the overalls! Your glasses are gross! Where something skin-tight! Now you’re hot, and thus, socially acceptable! Was that the lesson I was supposed to learn?
Anyway, here it is, with a lot of improvements to the mixing, mastering, and overall balance. What do you think?