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Patrick_de_Arteaga on 10/30/2018 at 03:22PM

4 tips you should know when using music in video games

If you are thinking of using royalty-free music in your video game project or mobile application, you should keep in mind some small details, since the thing is not as simple as simply adding music to your project, and that's it.

So here I bring you some tips that not all developers take into account:


1. Be consistent with the context

Well, this is simple, but even today, not all developer have this in mind.

I will be frank, despite many people say that music in video games follows the style of the film industry, it is not the same at all. We can see futuristic movies scored with a symphonic orchestra soundtrack, but in a video game will always be better to hear synthesizers or electronic music for this sci-fi genre. As it will always be better to set a retro game with chiptunes, or a fantasy RPG game with orchestral music.

Remember that music is the main tool for unleashing the viewer’s emotions. Remember that a story can make you feel, but you will shed the tear when the music starts.


2. And then, break the rules

Background music has the peculiarity of going unnoticed. This gives you the possibility to reach the subconscious of people and manipulate their feelings to some extent.

For example, a violent and even bloody scene or stage is usually accompanied by tension, danger, drama or horror music. But what if you play happy music? You could say to the player that this scene is not so tense, or it could result in a much more terrifying scene! In any case, you are telling the player what to feel.


3. It has to be well-configured

Neither the sound effects nor the music should be overly repetitive, they shouldn’t have variances in sound levels and must be of a decent quality. Neither too short nor too long.

Here, on the FMA, as a place to get good quality royalty-free background music, you can find a lot of kind of tracks suitable for multimedia projects in general. But you must choose the most suitable for your game. Don't let the music of your game to be monotonous.

The attention of the viewer should not focus on ambient music, this one is just an accompaniment. And if at some point the viewer turns his attention to the music, the reason must be because he pleases, but not otherwise.


4. Say “NO” to MP3 format

Yeah, I know that most of the royalty-free/no copyright music on the Internet is MP3, and here in Free Music Archive is also a common file, and everywhere. But there is no excuse not to convert tracks to another more suitable format for your game engine, like Ogg Vorbis.

This is a very important detail when using music in video games since in this case, the music will repeat once and again in a loop, and MP3 does not work well in loop mode.

I will tell you a secret: MP3 format automatically saves information at the beginning of its sampling frequency,  and this makes hard to play a song in a loop properly, always listening to a small silence of 25 milliseconds that may bother your gamers.



And that's it for now, I know it's not so much. Just try to look for the perfect music for your video game or mobile app. Music for video games can also be royalty-free music since we are not talking about the music of existing games, but about original music made to use freely in multimedia projects such as independent video games.

If you want to know more about how to musically set your video game projects, you can visit my website


May the music be with you!



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