A Chill Soundtrack
Mike Coons brought along with him over 25 years of composing experience. He however had never worked on a game before. Mike is an extremely talented guy. He composes all of his music and he plays just about every instrument I can imagine.
Over the period of a few months I shared with Mike some of the best soundtracks in gaming. I wanted the game to have a soundtrack that was retro with possibly some chiptune sounds. I sent him links to just about every game I could imagine. Bomberman, Mario, Contra, Crash Bandicoot were just a few games I sent him as reference. Mike came by weekly to demo his latest tracks. Below is a breakdown of the songs in the game.
Cold as Ice Jazz
The first thing Mike came up with was just the baseline. It was a very mellow line that sauntered through your ears. We talked about adding a bit more to it and what he came up with was great.
For reference I told Mike that we were kind of going for a very 1950's malt shop kind of vibe. I described it as something that would be played through a jukebox. When it came to the tone and the vibe he certainly matched what we as a team was looking for.
He filled in the track with some light piano and guitar that came together to form a very relaxed Jazz sound that perfectly reflected Frosty as a character. The piano to me fits well with the feel of the game, the song sounds relaxed but the piano is something of a warning that things might get a bit tense.
The first track Mike gave us was a bit dark. The second track was a mostly piano track. It felt right but it was missing the urgency. It wasn't until he combined the two he came up with something that fit the bill.
The track that he came up with captured the mood exactly. He kept the piano but added in some horns and gave it a pulsing rhythm. It is one of my favorite songs he composed for us. It has a very moody feel to it without being overbearing.
I sent Mike a clip of that music and told him that I wanted our second level to pay an homage to it without being overtly noticeable. I knew it was going to be a challenge but Mike was an expert and so far he hadn't let me down yet.
Mike really knocked this one right out of the park. He really made a track that not only paid homage to one of the classics but it stands on it's own. I remember running play tests of the level and having people come up to me asking if they can get a copy of this song. It was pretty much at this point I knew Mike was capable of working with the guidelines I gave him and excel.
Royal Ice Palace and Jurassic Flavor
I sent over a clip of the Jurassic Park theme over to Mike and he got to work. He was able to replicate the sound really well. I dropped it into the boss fight level but it didn't fit the mood of the boss fight.
Ice Cream Adventure and 8-bit Boogey
Implementing the music into Kismet