Sound and Music for Video Games

Sound and Music for Video Games
The second in a series of collaborative events between DiSc and TORCH, Sound and Music for Video Games, took place on the 31st October. Panellists from academia and the games industry, as well as composers of music for games, spoke about the unique aspects of composing for games and how music can help games to tell narratives, build immersion and worlds. 
We were also delighted to collaborate with colleagues from the Bristol Digital Game Lab in bringing together another panel across games and academia for a roundtable discussion. 

The first half of the session comprised three talks. Our first speaker was Joris de Man, a BAFTA-nominated and Ivor Novello winning composer who has previously worked on Killzone, Horizon Zero Dawn and Horizon Forbidden West. He introduced his work and covered a brief history of composing music for games. 

Joris de Man stands at a lectern in front of a projector screen showing musicians playing a piece

Joris de Man talking about composition

Photo by Andrew Cusworth

We then had a talk from Alex Silverman, a composer and DPhil student at Jesus College, Oxford. In his talk he discussed the adaptation of an ancient song to place it in a modern game with a historical setting.

Alex Silverman stands next to a lectern

Alex Silverman speaking at the event

Photo by Andrew Cusworth

Our third talk was from Professor Dave De Roure, Academic Director of the Digital Scholarship @ Oxford initiative and Professor of e-Research in the Oxford e-Research Centre who discussed more broadly the relationship between games and music and it’s early days in hypertext fiction. 

Dave De Roure stands in front of a projector screen, pointing at a square with the text 'Sonifying Life'

Photo by Andrew Cusworth

This was then followed with the roundtable discussion, chaired by Jack Orchard and Richard Cole. Jack is Content Editor for Electronic Enlightenment and co-organised the series of events in collaboration with DiSc. Richard is Lecturer in Digital Classics at Bristol University; he also co-directs the Bristol Digital Game Lab. 

The panel of speakers and chairs was joined by Steven Gamble, a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow from the University of Bristol; James Newman, Professor in Media at Bath Spa University; Katya Zoio, Media and Film score composer; and Tess Tyler, composer of game scores for the Lego franchise. Attendees both in Oxford and remotely had the opportunity to pose questions to the speakers and panel, discussing such topics as the difference in composing for game and film narratives, the role of sound design and music in streaming and the preservation of play, the role of music in cultivating player emotions and the difficulties in tracking them, and the significance of game music experienced outside of game contexts, in concerts and discrete soundtrack albums. 

Black and white photo of the panel sat at a table in front of a projector screen showing remote attendees.

Photograph by Andrew Cusworth