Video Games

By their nature, video games present a totally fictional world. Music helps to create an immersive atmosphere, helps the player to suspend disbelief, and generates a feeling of realism.

Unlike film music, which is linear, video game music is often nonlinear. In other words, the music adapts interactively to the action in the game. And, since the time that a player will spend in a scene is unpredictable, the music track usually is designed to loop seamlessly.


BeeFense is a 2-D tower defense game. You are faced with the task of protecting the beehive from a variety of predators. So you choose among a set of defense towers, and place them strategically to establish a defense.

There are 4 seasons in this game. This video shows an example of the “Fall” gameplay with an interactive (nonlinear) looping music track. As gameplay progresses, the number of enemies in the field changes the music’s intensity, with Level 1, 2, or 3.

These videos show the “Fall”, “Winter”, “Spring”, and “Summer” gameplays. The interactive music in each season has a different rhythm, tempo, and arrangement. So, the music in each season  has a different character. However, to maintain a sense of unity and consistency, the thematic motifs are all very similar.

 See this blog post for more details.

"Missing Pieces," a Visual Novel

The game development team QuestYard is working on a variety of games. The team specializes in games that foster empathy and human understanding. I have been contributing original music to these games, especially the visual novel “MIssing Pieces”.

Missing Pieces is a story-driven adventure in a vibrant alien world, full of hidden secrets, a plethora of languages and a sparkling cast of characters: lovable rogues, heartbroken families, and questionable allies. Find friendship and love, learn about yourself and discover who you really are!

The first chapter of Missing Pieces is available for free on Steam. Below are two videos; a trailer on the left and a teaser on the right.

We received some nice reviews on the first chapter of Missing Pieces. As an example:

“This game has some serious promise! The art-style is super fun design wise, the backgrounds are stunning, and the soundtrack is just *chefs kiss*. I particularly loved the sounds of people doing all kinds of things when you were in the town, it was super immersive and the sound of that lone woman singing loud enough to rise over the chatter but just quiet enough it felt like it was part of the chatter? God I loved that.”

— Recommended by Jackolantern


This video shows the pre-game menu of the visual novel “Missing Pieces”.

In the Spaceship

You are biding your time in the wilderness, surviving in the ruined hulk of a crashed spaceship. You are miserable, lonely and homesick, and wonder how to return to Earth.

In the Town

You have ventured into an alien town. You are bombarded by all the strange sights and sounds of an alien culture and a diverse range of alien beings.

This soundtrack was especially fun to produce. There is a low-key musical drone and percussion. Also, I added a number of sound effects; foot traffic, speech and laughter in an alien tongue, and some women casually singing as they walk along.

In the Shop

You have found your way into Sharla’s shop. She is a strange person, with two wings; one of them is deformed. You try to talk with her but soon realize that she speaks a different language, one that you have not yet learned. Soon, out pops “Kope”, an enthusiastic person who can help translate. Before Kope helps you, he requests a favor of you.


“Missing Pieces” contains mini-games that provide a bit of a challenge to the player. The difficulty level can be adjusted to suit the player’s preference. Here is a walk-through of a mini-game that is similar in style to “Guitar Hero”. The player goes through 3 instruments, each time increasing the complexity of the sound.

For the Global Game Jam in January, 2022, I contributed music tracks to the game “DualKitty”. From my blog post DualKitty, you can see all the details, and even play the game!

That Retro Guy -- Throwback Studios

I am scoring a set of Machinima videos, that were produced with the Grand Theft Auto-5 game engine. The music scores include a variety of styles, including rock with heavy guitar, saxophone and drums, orchestral, big band, jazz guitar, Chinese-style, Italian-style, and vocals.

Episode 5

This episode is finished and uploaded for public viewing!

0:08 – 1:10 Suspenseful jazz style, with main theme played by sax and muted trumpet.
1:11 – 1:40 Jazz with duet played by jazz guitar and sax.
1:41 – 3:10 Jazz with percussion, sax, upright bass and electric guitar
3:50 – 4:59 Suspenseful jazz with guitar, brass, sax
5:00 – 5:13 Orchestral hits synchronized with explosions
5:15 – 6:00 Action scene with percussion and orchestra
6:03 – 7:03 Percussion and organ playing fast almost atonal theme
7:05 – 7:27 Suspenseful underscore
7:28 – 8:42 Rock theme played with electric guitar and sax duet accompanied by percussion

Episode 6

There are many styles in the music score. For example, 0:05 to 2:40, and during the closing credits and outro from 9:56 to 12:05, the music has a “detective thriller” atmosphere. Then, from 2:40 to 3:58, Chinese instruments are used to generate a Chinese style of music. There is also a piece of diegetic music at about 3:25 that I produced, and processed to make it sound like it is played through a radio. From about 5:22 to 7:40 is an exciting track that is loosely based on a 3-Act trailer score. From 7:55 to 9:10, a big band plays a rock tune, in contrast to the gruesome interrogation violence. From 9:18 to 9:45 there is a low-key tension-building cue.

Episode 1

0:00 – 0:39 Suspenseful music
0:42 – 1:12 Diegetic music that the director supplied, and wants to be retained in the video.
1:13 – 2:18 Suspenseful music with the main theme played by a sax and then by a muted trumpet.
2:18 – 3:23 Suspenseful underscore
3:23 – 4:16 Return of the main motif, played repeatedly by an electric guitar.
4:17 – 5:02 Percussion, then supplemented by sax playing a motif.
5:03 – 6:40 Electric guitar playing a soulful riff,.
7:01 – 8:06 Guitar duet playing Italian-style music
8:07 – 10:00 Soulful jazz band with background vocals.
10:01 – 11:12 Cinematic suspenseful music with background vocals.

"Redactor": A Social Media Game

In the year 2062, a devastating war has left the world with a dystopian society. You work for a social media company, “Liaise”. You battle against posts that feature fake news, hateful posts, and disinformation. As the player, your job is to moderate the content, and to make sure that people are engaged and happy on the platform. Not an easy job!


The music in this scene is 100% electronic, as befitting a scene from the future. The mood of the music is a blend of sad and hopeful, as well as introspective.

Battling "The Boss"

A battle against “the boss” is often an important element of adventure video games. The boss is often portrayed as a supremely powerful, aggressive, scary monstrosity. As the game player, your job is to kill it. In some games, you battle against it alone, while in other games you are a member of a group that must use teamwork to take the boss down.

Here are two examples of music styles that work with a boss battle. The first style is electronic, and the second is a hybrid electronic / orchestral arrangement. In both styles, a driving percussion rhythm and strong bass pattern accompany the action.