The sound design of MineRalph + Music Examples!

The Music and Sound-design of MineRalph

The Music in MineRalph

The task of composing music to MineRalph was for me personally a great challenge, the reason being how we wanted the experience of gameplay and the music combined so that they would compliment each other. The soundtrack, therefore, needed to be generic or adaptive to how the physics of the gameplay is and how the player plays the game.

We worked back and forth with many versions of different themes, track-lengths and sounds. When we had decided for the overall sound and feeling of the music, the process of composing several ''elements'' which, combined with the main track, will create alternate versions that will express the feeling to the player, that now the game is fast.

The Sounds of MineRalph

After having done my first sound-design of the game Chase, I was very excited to start working on MineRalph. The universe of MineRalph is completely different! - Coming from the unknown reigns of space to a hidden world deep beneath the ground.

The world of MineRalph is very organic. Although the miners are searching for gems with mechanical equipment, the player is surrounded by rock, water and bats, as well as playing as a rock-like character. The challenge has been to create a sound-environment which the player associate with being inside a cave or deep underground. So far this has been an entertaining experience and I will continue to explore the deeper levels inside the sound universe of MineRalph, travelling further down the mineshaft.

The Process of Designing a Main Theme

It all starts with a simple dialog. This dialog will be between the main project managers or developers. First, we need to discuss the environment of the game. The environment would be of the story, world and game-development.

Next, we will listen to reference music. Reference music will be presented from both the developer and me. The developer will present their perspective of the music, and I will present my interpretation of the music. After this meeting, I will start composing a first take on how the music can be. At first, the ideas I composition might not become the main theme or even be part of the game, but ideas may return and be altered through out the composition process. In the following I will percent the ‘’Main Theme’’ of MineRalph and how it came to be.

The first concept

Here is the first example of a possible main theme:

DEMO #1.1

My first shoot at the music for MineRalph. As you can hear from the example, the music is rather upbeat and have a drive to it. This of course is due to MineRalph being a fast-paced game. However, this demo was to upbeat to be the theme, which also was to be included as the menu theme. So I needed to alter the track. Below is my example, of how I tried to keep elements which the team really liked and then changing other elements which did not fit.

DEMO #2.1

So, for this second version, I kept the repetitive arpeggio melody. Removed the dominant drumbeat and added a simpler hi-hat which changes through out the whole track, from slow to fast. My aim with this, was to establish a connection between the fast-pace gameplay which a player would experience and the music. I also added a very simple guitar melody to make the track a little bit melancholic. Maybe also a bit with a hint of old classic western movie. Although, I generally was making the team happy and was headed in the right direction, I was still not getting the complete sound and emotion the team wanted. Therefore, I made another demo:

DEMO #2.2

This time, I tried to go down, instead of straight ahead. This resulted in a slower version of the main theme. I removed the guitar and returned to some of the elements I used in my first demo. I kept the hi-hat changing speed and the repetitive arpeggio melody. And then added some more speed in the background, adding another layer of speed. Finally, the team and I was getting on the right track. The result of revisions and work:

MineRalph Main Theme

In this final track I have added some more detail and changed the repetitive arpeggio melody, so that it is not the complete same melody and tones being played all the way through. Also, by adding more detail to the track, it gets undertones of something going on or that something is about to happen. I have tried to add a slightly hint of action which you can hear in the end of the track. Last, even though this main theme is heavily based on synthesizers, I tried to capture the sound of organic rock and cave, as well as the sound of the robot miners working in the shafts.

This was a short presentation of the process I go through when composing music and making sound design for a game project. I hope you have enjoyed my story.

Written by Audio Director

Rune R. B. Eskildsen

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