Although Ronan McQuillan from Termonfeckin in Co Louth is an accomplished singer, musician, composer, producer and sound designer with a track record in music composition for advertising and other commercial projects, when a friend asked him ... to come up with music for a video game it opened a whole new challenge for him.
“It was like a different language,” Ronan said. “In fact, it is a different language as much of the music written for gaming is coded in. Game levels can last from a minute to up to an hour so you have find clever ways of making the music work for that length of time. It also has to be dynamic because you need to create music that reacts to whatever action the player decides to take.”
Keen to upskill and work in this area, Ronan began to research courses in music for gaming and found via Twitter DKIT's Springboard Level 8 part-time Diploma in Composing for Games, the first course of its type at that level in Ireland. Aimed at students with specialist music knowledge, participants are then equipped with the skills in writing music for games, orchestration, instrumentation, synchronisation, sound design, interactive music and the understanding and analysis of the role of music in games.
Ronan said, “It’s not often you’re sent home from college with specific instructions to study and actively play video games like Assassin’s Creed, Batman:Arkham City and Mass Effect, considered the ‘cream of the crop’ in current music game composition. I have to confess that I’m now addicted to the playing side of it!”
A non-games player before he began, he now spends his days playing and trialling various existing games, composing for new games and working as a consultant on upcoming gaming projects. He has formed a partnership with some of the graduates of the DKIT course on a new website for game developers and creatives to source audio and gaming music under licence.
“We hope to launch the website by the summer and our timing is good as the east of Ireland is now becoming a hub for game companies moving here. It could be a lucrative income stream for us.”
Speaking of the challenges of completing the course Ronan said that getting to grips with the technology and software side of the business were the most difficult, as well as juggling work and family life.
“I had the musical expertise but learning how to apply it to gaming and understanding the technology behind it was probably the most difficult part. I couldn’t praise the course lecturers enough. Our main lecturer was Claire Fitch and she pretty much brought us from nothing to completely up to speed in a year. She’s amazing and has just been incredible at sharing her knowledge with us. I would encourage anyone with a musical talent, who is looking to apply it to an up and coming dynamic industry in Ireland, to take a look at this course.”