MA Composing
for Video Games

We train you for the industry of the future.

Game music is one of the fastest expanding areas of media music with employment growing at 10% a year. Composing for Video Games is an online master’s degree that will prepare you to enter the industry as a video games composer. The course will give you all the skills you need to compose and implement fully interactive music using industry standard middleware like FMOD. You will be given the space and support to develop as a composer, finding your voice and raising your production and composition to the next level.

    • Find your voice as a composer, with help from leaders in the field.
    • Learn to create work in an adaptive and interactive genre, tackling challenges unique to video games.
    • Learn about the business of video games, how it is structured, who you are working with and how you fit in.
    • Personal 1-to-1 tuition from top professional composers
    • Regular online workshops and tutorial groups, forum discussions and exclusive webinars.
    • Access to over a 1000 videos covering topics across the spectrum, with exclusive content from events like Develop Brighton and the Ludomusicology conference.

There is no other course in the world that offers tutors and support staff as well connected as ThinkSpace, and no offline campus can compete with our wealth of talent from around the globe.

What Will I Learn?

    • You will learn to compose music for a wide variety of different game genres from mobile puzzle games through to actions and racing games.
    • You will learn to use FMOD to implement your music interactively in fully functional Unity games and game levels, many specially licenced for the course, including commercial releases.
    • You will learn different ways of creating an interactive strategy to allow the score to respond seamlessly to the game play.
    • You will have regular one to one tuition sessions with working video game composers, learning from the people who make their living doing what you want to do.
    • You will learn collaborative and remote working skills, vital in such a connected global industry.
    • You will learn business skills to help you produce a winning portfolio that will help you into a new career.

What Work Will it Prepare Me For?

Students are prepared to go into the industry as video gamers composers, as assistant composers or as team members at a video game music production house.

The course is very specifically focussed on video games and if you aren’t certain that is where you want to work, then please have a look at Professional Media Composition MA which is much more broad in it’s approach.

Full Access to ThinkSpace Course Materials.

All our degree students have full access to the course materials on all our other courses, including all the degree and non-degree premium courses. Course text, videos, project materials, online workshop library, everything you could need. Choose the degree course you feel most comfortable with, and then explore new challenging areas like interactive composition for games, sound design, film, tv scoring and orchestration.

Who’s Teaching Me?

Our faculty are all current working professionals, many involved at the highest level in the business.

The instructors who will be giving you individual feedback, either in writing or at the student workshops, have composing and orchestration credits including:

Batman Arkham Knight, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Dragon Age Inquisition, Need for Speed, Mass Effect 3, Bioshock 2, Project Cars, Elite Dangerous, Formula 1, Alien Isolation, Quantum Break, Harry Potter, Assassins Creed (trailers) Sim City, Drakensang, Sniper Elite 3 and Pokemon. They’ve worked for most of the major game studios including Electronic Arts, Sony, Rocksteady, Microsoft, Bioware and many others.

We are extremely grateful to our guest lecturers who have contributed either in person at seminars and live events, or on video and include Harry Gregson-Williams (Metal Gear Solid, Call of Duty), Charles Deenan (Call of Duty, Halo, Need For Speed) and Vincent Diamente (Journey, Flower).

It is a tribute to the generosity of all these composers and orchestrators that they are willing to share their expertise and insights with the next generation of professionals.

  • Dr Stephen Baystead

  • Guy Michelmore

  • Erasmus Talbot

  • Peter Ward

  • Gina Zdanowicz

  • Andy Gibson

Your Degree

On successful conclusion of your course, you will be awarded a Master of Arts degree from the University of Chichester. All UK degrees, including those of the University of Chichester, are recognised worldwide. The qualification is full accredited in the UK and subject to regular quality control, review and external invigilation to ensure the highest academic standards are maintained.

The graduation ceremony takes place in Chichester each year where you will receive your degree alongside you fellow students and the rest of the university’s graduates.

Content

Your course falls into eight modules plus a final major project which lasts three months. Each module focuses on a different section of the orchestra or lineup, while at the same time developing specific compositional, technical and business skills.

  • Connector.

    Unit 1 – Game Audio Technology

    The fundamental difference between traditional media and video games is the technology. We’ll be training you on industry standard tech such as FMOD and engines like Unity. If you’ve ever tried to learn tools like FMOD through youtube, you don’t need to be told of the issues you can come across. With ThinkSpace, we give you hours of detailed and entertaining videos with certified FMOD user and Audio Lead Andy Gibson and detailed text and diagrams to help get into the world of Game Audio.

  • Connector.

    Unit 2 - Foundations of Game Music and Audio

    Ensuring you are fully equipped to begin your journey into video game audio, we’ll be teaching you about not just the technical challenges that form the heart of our daily lives, but also the creative necessities of collaborative projects and working with a brief.

  • Connector.

    Unit 3 – Research Skills and Critical Reflection

    Putting all this in context, learning to analyse how and why music and audio is used. Learn research skills and understand where game music fits into wider cultural and academic landscape.

  • Connector.

    Unit 4 – Sound, Music and the Moving Image

    For all the separate and distinct challenges that face game developers, learning to create music designed for a visual medium is still a key part of the creative process. We’ll introduce you to some of the indispensable skills of working with music to picture. We’ll also be discussing some of the key challenges of editing music to picture.

  • Connector.

    Unit 5 – Adaptive Music 1

    The most challenging and most exciting area of game music is the dynamic systems we create our music to function in. We’ll be teaching you in how to both technically achieve these systems through middleware and testing your music in game through Unity. So you can learn to create music with dynamic layering the reacts to gameplay.

  • Connector.

    Unit 6 – Adaptive Music 2

    Continuing your journey into video game composition, you will discover how to create branching musical structures. Unlocking the creative skill of orchestrating the player experience on the fly.

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    Unit 7 – Advanced Music 1

    Learning from industry experts with countless orchestral sessions under their belt, you will be diving into the world of high quality AAA style production. Learning the ins and outs of an orchestral session, from hiring an orchestrator, where the main recording stages are, to hybrid production with top trailer composers like Konstantine Pope.

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    Unit 8 - Elective

    As part of your MA, you will be given the opportunity to further your studies with a selection of elective modules. With choices ranging from sampling technology, Kontakt training and cinematic sound design, with more choices being added as time goes on, you can choose what’s best for you to progress your career.

  • Connector.

    Final Major Project

    This longer three-month project involves creating audio for a game under real-world conditions. There are a wide selection of projects to choose from and students can put together several in the form of a portfolio or tackle one longer assignment.

“ThinkSpace serves an incredibly valuable function by connecting the practice of media music from the industry with the newest research on the topic coming from university academics.”

– Dr. Tim Summers
Ludomusicology Research Group

“ I would recommend [the ThinkSpace MA] to any composer who simply wants to be better at their job, whatever their experience level.”

– Amory Leader
IMDB

Time

Full time, 12 months – 30 hours a week

Part-time 24 months – 15 hours a week

Part-time 36 months – 8 hours a week

These are estimates and the exact amount of time will depend on each individual student. It includes, live workshops, one-to-one tutorials, reading and watching video tutorials and project work.

Prices

The course fee is the same for UK, EU and international students and includes the cost of a live orchestral session. Full-time and part-time students pay the same.

£8,850 / $12,950 / €11,600

You can choose to pay in pounds sterling, US dollars or euros.

We offer an interest-free instalment plan where you can spread the cost of your course and graduate debt-free.

Students will be required to pay a deposit on enrolling. For more information on this, please contact the course manager.

For a more detailed summary of fees, loans and finance procedure, please visit the dedicated Student Finance page.

  • Interest-free monthy repayments
    start from £57, $83 or €75 a week.
  • Apply Now

Requirements

For FAQs and more information, please visit the Applications & FAQs, Student Finance and Study With ThinkSpace pages.


  • Academic

    Applicants should have a first degree.

    If you don’t have a music degree, then other experience can be taken into account, including work-based experience of making music, professional development courses like Music for the Media and Cinematic Orchestration and first degrees in other subjects. This RPL, as it’s known, is always assessed on a case-by-case basis. It also depends in part on how many other students in the cohort are using this route, as there is a maximum percentage of students we can take through this process.


  • Musical

    We expect you to have a good, solid knowledge of one computer based DAW like Logic, Cubase, or Digital Performer. You need to write music fluently and productively. You should be able to produce roughly two minutes of music in a day. Your demos should be of good quality and we are happy to listen to your music and give you an opinion on this before you apply. A high level of music theory is a big advantage but we appreciate there are many different ways to great a great score and you will be judged principally on the potential shown in your portfolio.

  • Software

    This is an intensive course with strict deadlines in order to mirror a real-world professional working environment. As such, students must be have acquired and be competent in the use of the minimum technical requirements prior to starting the course to get the most out of it. Students may be eligible for significant educational discounts.

    DAW (Digital Audio Workstation):
    We expect you to have a working knowledge of one computer based DAW:

    • Logic
    • Cubase
    • Nuendo
    • Sonar
    • Ableton Live
    • Reaper

    Game Software:
    You need to have a copy of the following programs but we do not expect you to know how to use them. The exact version number of this software is important, and the version we support may change. Full information on the current approved course software version is available when on the course. Both Unity and Fmod are able to be downloaded for free.

    • Unity
    • Fmod

    Recommended Additional Software:

    • Pro Tools
    • Kontakt
    • Sound Forge

    You should be comfortable learning new softwares and troubleshooting technical problems.

    For queries about any other platforms, please contact the Course Manager.


  • Hardware

    You will need a computer, software and ancillary equipment (MIDI keyboard, monitors, hard drives both internal and external), Mac or PC, capable of producing professional quality music and audio, and recording equipment. This is the overriding principle and the following minimum technical specifications are given for guidance.

    PC:
    Windows 7 or above PC laptop / desktop
    Quad core 2.3 GHz processor +
    16 GB RAM +
    Graphics card, 1GB GPU (EVGA Nvidia GT 610 or equivalent), we recommend 2GB+

    Mac:
    OSX 10.8 or above
    MacBook Pro, iMac or Mac Pro
    Quad core 2.3 GHz processor +
    16 GB of RAM +
    Graphics card, 1GB GPU, we recommend 2GB+


  • Sample Libraries

    Sample libraries are a must-have for the course. There are literally thousands of libraries, many of them capable of creating outstanding quality demos and we could have chosen any number. Most of the libraries listed below are available at a significant educational discount.

    As our base core libraries, we suggest:

    East West Quantum Leap – Symphonic Orchestra Gold
    VSL Special Edition – Woodwinds
    8Dio – Adagietto
    Heavyocity – Damage
    Soudiron – Emotional Piano


  • Internet

    You will be uploading and downloading a large quantity of material so you should have access to a reliable broadband with a speed of at least 5Mbs or more.

    We have found that the Google Chrome browser is the most compatible with the Adobe Connect webinar software we use which will also be an important part of your course. All your assignments are uploaded through the Student Portal on our website. This can also be accessed with any standard FTP client, for example CuteFTP on a PC or Transmit on a Mac.


  • Technical

    We expect you to have a good, solid knowledge of one computer based DAW like Logic, Cubase, ProTools, Ableton or Reaper. You should be able to complete tasks quickly and to a deadline within these softwares and be comfortable doing new tasks inside them. Your demos should be of good quality and we are happy to listen to your work and give you an opinion on this before you apply.

    A high level audio production standards is what we are looking for. You don’t need to be creating sound effects already, but should have demonstrable experiences with audio, whether through music, radio/podcasting, live audio or other audio production activities.


  • Books, Films, Scores and Recordings

    Throughout the course, you will be required to play games, read books, study scores and listen to recordings. These are, for the most part, not included in the price of your course. You should expect to have to purchase, rent or borrow games, films, recordings and printed material. The reading and listening list gives you guidance to the minimum reference material you will need. This list is a minimum and you should expect to have to access further resources during the course of your programme of study.

Contact Us

My name is Tim and I’m the MA course manager here at ThinkSpace. If you have any questions that you’d like answering, please don’t hesitate to fill in the contact form below, or email me at tim@thinkspaceeducation.com.

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