PROFESSIONAL COMPOSITION MFA

Video Game Music and Sound Design

Two-year Master Of Fine Art postgraduate program
  • Level:
  • Master Of Fine Art
  • Duration:
  • 24 Months Full Time
  • Time Commitment:
  • 10 – 40 hours per week (approximately)
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Create interactive music and sound design systems for video games.

Video games are rapidly evolving, both technically and creatively, and this is creating enormous opportunities for game audio professionals. The video games industry is the largest sector of the entertainment industry and larger than the film and music industries combined. Our master’s degree in Video Game Music and Sound Design has been developed in close consultation with the industry to ensure you are learning the skills the industry requires.

The MFA course is an advanced degree and prepares you for a career as both a video game composer and as a game sound designer, the kind of full-stack game audio professional that is increasingly in demand. 76% of games composers also produce sound design so this combination of skills opens doors to employment. Scoring video games is rewarding and challenging but highly competitive. Our real-world, project-based approach, tutored by working professional game composers and sound designers, is designed to help you compete at the highest level. Being able to provide a complete audio service makes you much more employable.

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

  • Learn to create interactive music and audio systems using industry standard middleware FMOD and WWise.
  • Find your voice both as a sound designer and composer with help from leaders in the field.
  • Personal 1-to-1 tuition from top professional sound designers and games composers.
  • Regular online workshops and tutorial groups, forum discussions and exclusive webinars.

Course Content

Course Highlights


  • Learn to create game sound both from your own recordings and sourced from commercial libraries.
  • Learn the power of sound and music to tell stories and build character.
  • Learn to compose music for a wide variety of different game genres from mobile puzzle games through to action and racing games.
  • Use inexpensive and readily available field recording equipment to produce atmos, spot-effects and foley.
  • Learn different ways of creating an interactive strategy to allow the score to respond seamlessly to the game play.
  • Learn technical skills like creating and implementing Foley, weapons, impacts and vehicle sounds.
  • Implement your music interactively in fully functional Unity games and game levels, many specially licenced for the course, including commercial releases.
  • You will learn business skills to help you produce a winning portfolio that will help you into a new career.

Course Structure


  • Module 1 - Research Skills

    You start this module and module 2 at the same time so you are working on creative and practical skills at the same time. This is a rich and rewarding module that is closely tied to the practical projects. Designed by leading game music academic, Dr Tim Summers, this module leads you deeper into the conceptual thinking surrounding games. It gives you the research tools to reflect on your own work and to draw more meaningful conclusions about the nature, structure and future of video game audio and music.

  • Module 2 - Elective 1

    A chance to get up to speed with a core skill. Remember you get full access to all the course materials on all courses and all electives so just because you choose Sampled Orchestration for example doesn’t mean you can’t dive into the course materials on Sibelius as well. There is a second elective module later in the course so you can choose a second option then.

  • Elective: Sampled Orchestration

    Learn to produce professional grade sampled mock-ups.

  • Elective: Wwise

    Learn this widely used piece of middleware and implement your sound and music interactively in game environments. You will learn FMOD, the other major piece of middleware in the next module so choose the WWise elective to get up to speed with both systems.

  • Elective: Cinematic Sound Design

    Learn to create state of the art musical soundscapes using digital audio manipulation and a range of plugins and virtual synths including Serum and Razor.

  • Elective: Music Business - Work and Money

    Everything you need to know about making money from your music in film, games and television.

  • Elective: Advanced Sibelius

    How to use this scoring software to produce industry standard orchestral scores and parts.

  • Elective: Pro Tools for Orchestral Recording

    How to setup a pro tools session for live orchestral recording.

  • Module 3 - Game Audio Technology

    You start with an intensive course in audio middleware that you will use to implement your music in the game. You will also learn about memory budgets, CPU restrictions, game engines, different platforms and version control. There is information on who does what and how game audio teams are put together.

  • Module 4 - Foundations of Game Sound Design

    Your first practice based module and you’ll be creating sound for a range of puzzle games, an infinite runner and a simulator. It’s all about learning to work to a brief and finding a creative space inside the game aesthetic. You’ll be learning about atmos loops, spot FX and dealing choosing and implementing music. The business focus is on one of the fastest growing and most accessible sectors, mobile and handheld gaming.

  • Module 5 - Sound, Music and the Moving Image

    Trailers and cut-scenes are an essential part of the gaming experience. This module looks at how to create stylized textured sound to picture. You will also learn music editing so you can take pre-existing tracks and incorporate them into the cut scene or trailer. We have a wide selection of cut scenes and trailers to work on including the triple A title Red Bull Air Race and the multi-award winning Armello.

  • Module 6 - Adaptive Music 1

    Writing music that responds to game play and enhances the players experience is the aim of every composer. In this module you will be learning basic adaptive music strategies and implementing them inside the game using the audio middleware. Throughout the course, these two things, music composition and in-game implementation will become inextricably intertwined. The business focus is on working with very small indies, those bedroom developers who can go on to great things.

  • Module 7 - Interactive Audio 1

    You will learn many of the fundamental tools of the sound designers trade from foley to idles, weapon and machine sounds to vehicles and impacts. All of this you will implement using middleware inside specially selected game levels. As with the music, you will be learning both to create engaging and distinctive sounds and how to implement the audio interactively inside the game.

  • Module 8 - Adaptive Music 2

    In this module we extend the range of adaptive techniques and further reinforce the core skills as well as further developing creative and technical problem solving skills with yet more games and game levels to work on. The business focus is on working with medium sized indies and small teams.

  • Module 9 - 3D Audio Environments

    How do you create the sound of a 3D world? What are the implications of VR and AR for game audio? In this module you learn how to create the sound and implement the audio to bring 3D worlds to life.

  • Module 10 - Advanced Game Music 1

    This module brings everything together and extends your adaptive strategies to include compound techniques for creating innovative solutions to musical and technical problems. We look at the world of the AAA games, the workflows and what it takes to break into the big time.

  • Module 11 - Advanced Game Audio 1

    This module brings together all the individual techniques you have learnt so far. You will be applying the problem solving skills you have been developing and following a complete project workflow through from start to finish.

  • Module 12 - Elective 2

    In addition to the choice of electives from Module 2, we have added:

  • Advanced Game Audio 2

    A chance to further extend your skillset and get more experience of dialogue editing and foley, two skills that are frequently required of entry level sound designers.

  • Advanced Game Music 2

    An opportunity to experiment and develop a distinctive approach, recombining the interactive tools you have learnt so far and finding a new voice as a composer.

  • Final Major Project

    The dissertation is a substantial piece of work taking 12 weeks to complete. It will take the form of a major project or portfolio of smaller projects in which you create the sound and implement all the audio inside the game. You will also write a commentary on your work to explain your choices and problem-solving strategies.

Requirements


  • Internet Access

    You need access to a reliable broadband internet connection to stream the course materials, preferably 5Mb/s or better. We need an active email address that can receive emails from us. Course materials are mostly streamed.

  • Computer

    You’ll need a fairly capable machine to match Guy’s set up. At least a quad-core computer with 16GBs of RAM. The techniques are still transferrable to any modern machine however, so as long as your processor is up to scratch, your only limit to how many instruments you can load is how much RAM you have installed.

  • Software

    You’ll need the latest digital audio workstation (DAW) that you are able to mix in. We would recommend: Cubase 8, Logic Pro X, Pro Tools, Digital Performer 9, Reaper, FL Studio 12 and Ableton Live. You’ll also need a collection of sample libraries and sampler; we highly recommend Kontakt, Play and for larger set ups Vienna Ensemble Pro.

  • Musical Knowledge

    You don’t need to be able to read music to take the course, as long as you have a reasonable understanding of how instruments interact with each other within the orchestra you’re good to go!

  • Time

    The video material totals at over 10 hours, however you can watch them in whatever sitting suits you best.

  • Downloadable Materials

    Downloadable course materials are only enabled after the money-back guarantee has either been waived or expired (30 days after purchase).

Contact Us

My name is Bradley and I’m the student support manager here at ThinkSpace Education. If you have any questions that you’d like answering, please don’t hesitate to or email me at contact@thinkspaceeducation.com, or jump on over to our contact page by clicking the button below.