Editorial: June 2005

From SID to SAD in 25 years.

Neil Carr
Well, this editorial will be the last one from me for a good while as by the time you read this I will have set sail or rather fly to distant shores – to be precise that tiny little insignificant speck of a country called The United States Of America. The next editorial from me will most likely be in September. Will you miss me? (Probably not)

Slightly going away from commodore 64 mixes but still in the vain of computer music. It’s staggering to see how far we’ve come from the beeps of the Spectrum through to 3 channel sound and beyond Digital music. We’ve gone from a three man team designing computer games to a production crew now of around a hundred and all in the space of 25 years.

In the 90’s we lost the use of the on-board soundcard playing MIDI pre-sets. What followed was the rise of a more professional sound.. It’s always been the case for years.. While graphics and coding became a team game the music was often created by just a single person responsible for everything but this time they could utilise the power of their Synthesiser. This is set to stop and signs are already there as more and more BIG titles opt for the Hollywood approach, I’m talking Orchestras.

While smaller titles/companies still use the person at their keyboard approach a new breed of musician is emerging; those who are capable of writing music for Orchestras. It was interesting to learn whilst watching BBC news 24 that the biggest game of 2004 made as much money as many of the Hollywood blockbusters, so I guess its natural to assume that these titles will hire the cream of the crop complete with a full orchestra.

I actually played a rather nice little game the other day, I forget its name but it would be classed as a quieter release that also featured an orchestra. That kind of made me think a little.. More and more games are now heading in this direction and the days of a musician sitting in his studio could well soon be obsolete. Ok, it’s not the end of yet, but I think it’s sooner than many would think.

This is a bit of a kick in the balls for most musicians whose dreams are placed firmly in being in the game industry. Well, not unless your name is Goldsmith or something ;)

There will always be games that require Synth music, but the days of making a living writing music for games for many are soon to end. The end of be is that if you want to be like Hollywood then you have to act like Hollywood and unfortunately with that notion so will many peoples dreams.

So, thats all for June/July and August... see you in September.

- Neil


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