Planning for Music

Today we’re going to talk a bit about the planning process for the music in Aurora’s Nightmare.  This is the type of stuff that falls to the designer before a composer is even brought in.  Naturally, a composer needs some information.  How many tracks are needed?  Where and how are they used in game?  What music style should be used?  And so on.
The first thing I needed to do before I could provide answers for those questions was to plan out the basic progression of the story, along with the key characters, locations, and scenes.  Once that was done, I was able to start making a list of necessary musical tracks.  In the case of Aurora’s Nightmare, the music falls into three main categories:

Emotion Tracks:
These tracks are meant to evoke the key emotion of the scene in which they’re played.  The list includes things like love, fear, and sorrow.

Location Tracks:
Rather than specific emotions, these tracks are meant serve as accompaniment to some of the game’s most important locations.  They tend to include a mixture of emotions, based on the location and the history behind it.  A couple of locations which will have their own music include the LRC, which is the company where Ars, Tia, and Aurora work, and the abandoned clock tower where the three of them used to play as children.

Character Tracks:
Finally, we have what could be considered the theme music for the major characters such as Tia and Aurora.  It’s meant to help convey their personalities and general attitude.

In the end, I created a list of 18 tracks that I’d like to have (not counting opening and ending themes, which are a separate category of their own).  But I designed the track list so that I can scale the number either up or down depending on the budget and the opinion of the composer.  So the final soundtrack could end up anywhere in the 12 – 26 range.

So, what will the music in Aurora’s Nightmare actually sound like?  Well, we’ll save that for another day…