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The Complete Guide to Game Audio: For Composers, Musicians, Sound Designers, Game Developers Paperback – Oct 28 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 454 pages
  • Publisher: A K Peters/CRC Press; 2 edition (Oct. 28 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240810740
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240810744
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 2.5 x 23.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 953 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #426,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Aaron Marks' The Complete Guide to Game Audio should be compulsory reading for anyone considering a career in game audio."

Greg O'Connor-Read, Founder & Editor, Music4Games

"Aaron's book is recommended reading in my USC and UCLA Composing Music for Video Games courses. It is a well-rounded presentation of what we video game composers do every day. Anyone wanting to know more about this great industry should start here!”

Lennie Moore, Composer, Outcast, Dragonshard, War of the Ring, Dirty Harry

"Aaron knows his stuff!"

George Sanger, The Fatman - Game Audio Legend

"Let the fat lady sing! Aaron has created the definitive resource for all things game audio. Bravo, Aaron!"

Chris Rickwood, Composer, Rickwood Music LLC

"Aaron Marks the spot. An informative, educated, thorough look at the game audio industry, and provides valuable insight into the production process of many of the top working professionals. The Complete Guide to Game Audio continues to be one of the best resources for game audio engineers and composers.”

Keith Arem, Creative Director, PCB Productions

"Seven years ago, Aaron Marks redefined how to learn the art, science and business of making world-class game soundtracks with the release of 'The Complete Guide to Game Audio.' His groundbreaking contribution to game audio continues in this, the second edition of his seminal work!"

Todd M. Fay, Professional/Personal Coach (www.toddmfay.com) & President of DemoNinja (www.demoninja.com)

"This book has changed my life! To understand the game audio business, creativity and the people who are involved in this industry, Aaron Marks has put together the perfect easy-to-read manual. If you are reliable, talented, and excited about how to pursue a path into game audio, then this is THE BOOK for you. I read it, loved it, read it again, and ultimately followed Aaron's advice. Now I owe him my life...and so can you. Buy, immerse yourself, and tell everyone you know about this book!”

Watson Wu, Composer/Sound Designer/President, WOOTONES, LLC (a media & publishing company)

"Aaron Marks' book is THE most insightful look into the world of sound for the multi-billion dollar video game and interactive media industry. It is a resource as valuable to game producers and developers as it is to those looking to venture into the field as sound artists and composers. Bravo Mr. Marks!"

Jon Holland, Game Composer and Recording Artist

"Seven years after his successful first edition, Aaron Marks treats us to the long awaited up-to-date second version of "The Complete Guide to Game Audio” and I can only say, wow, he has pulled it off again!. The book boasts near to 500 pages filled with all the precious information the entrepreneurial composer/sound designer will ever need to get his foot in the door of the game companies. It covers all the important topics from creating the perfect demo reel to closing the deal, from choosing your tools to delivering top-notch audio. While giving a thorough and deep presentation of today's game audio world, it's also an easy and entertaining read topped off with lots of anecdotes and tricks of the trade taken directly from the mouths of some of the finest game audio creators. A must-buy for everyone turning a serious eye towards a profitable career in the game audio business."

Henning Nugel, Composer/Sound Designer, Nugel Bros. Music

"Aaron has created an extremely detailed and informative resource for all levels of composers and sound designers. Additionally, this book would be tremendously helpful for any game industry professionals who would like to gain understanding, insight and appreciation into the very complicated process of writing music and creating sound design for video games. Aaron has covered every possible subject that a person would encounter from start to finish in the game audio process including valuable creative and technical information as well as the ever-so-important - and many times most difficult part of the job - art of business negotiations and contracts. He has also included numerous inserts from other successful game audio professionals giving their real world perspectives and detailed insights related to their own experiences. Great job Aaron!"

Mark Scholl - Award-winning Composer, International Game Technology (IGT) and Screaming Tigers Music, Inc.

"Aaron Marks' work is definitely a landmark achievement for the game audio industry. It clearly explains many concepts that separate game audio skill sets from that of the film and television industries, and it does so in an accessible and fun style that welcomes all audio enthusiasts to join our exciting and interactive world."

Alexander Brandon, CEO, Celadon Studios

"Mr. Marks has done it again! I cannot imagine trying to break into the gaming audio industry without this book in my hands. It provides newcomers and seasoned vets alike access to the type of information crucial to not only break into, but to succeed in this highly competitive industry. This is information that will never show up in a Google search. It's like having a dozen industry pros by your side to answer any questions you may have. I am thrilled to have been a part of this book as it is a vital resource for so many.”

Darryl S. Duncan, President/CEO, GameBeat Studios, LLC

About the Author

Music had always been a part of Aaron Marks' life. But it wasn't until 1995, when his overgrown hobby became On Your Mark Music Productions, that he began selling it to the world. He started with the local radio and television scene, composing jingles and scoring public service announcements. With his sights set firmly on Hollywood, he bumped into the games industry. Ever since that fated redirect, he has been cranking out music and sound effects for games. His credits include a PlayStation 2 game, five CD-ROM game projects, 56 on-line casino games, a dozen touch-screen arcade games, and numerous multimedia projects. As an occasional diversion, Aaron sidelines as a writer for Game Developer magazine, Gamasutra.com, and Music4Games.net.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9c4e5e00) out of 5 stars 15 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cb6f8c4) out of 5 stars Excellent intro to the world of Game Audio March 9 2010
By The Captain - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book focuses more on the business side of game audio. If you are looking for a 'how to' guide for composing and sound design, this is not the book for you.

However, for anyone interested in making a living by creating game audio content, this is a must read. Everything from networking, pricing your services, to standard contracts are covered. Of particular interest were the interviews throughout the book. Some more famous personalities, such as 'The Fat man' were interviewed, as well as some lesser known composers and sound designers. Some of them list what gear and software they use. I was surprised at both the spartan and the over the top set ups that some of these guys have.

The disc that comes with the book has some very useful content. Perhaps the best was the demos provided. If you are serious about composing, listen to these demos, they will give you an idea of what skill level you will need if you want to get any jobs.

Just a side note, at the end of the book Aaron suggests that you send him an email. I did, and got an encouraging response back from him. So he isn't just pretending to be a nice guy in the book, he really is!
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cb6fb10) out of 5 stars Not a "Complete Guide" June 17 2010
By Lewis R. Strasburg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was not for me. I'm a student for Game and Simulation Programming looking for good a good introduction to the basics of Game Audio. The author has targeted this book directly at audio engineers who already have a good head start and want to market themselves to game developers as contractors. The majority of the material is about making money, and in fact it seems the author can not pass a topic without some reference to getting paid. As I read through most of the book, the material that I would have found useful was lost in a mess of anecdotes and rambling about the plights that composers have.

I rated it 2 stars because the writing was long winded, difficult to read, repetitious, incomplete, and poorly organized. This was not what I was expecting from a "complete guide".
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cb6fad4) out of 5 stars The best guide to video game audio I've read yet Oct. 4 2011
By tjazzington - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is hands down the best book I've read on the subject of video game audio. It covers everything from: the Digital Audio Work Station (DAW), The Demo, Marketing, Contract Negotiations and more. If your an aspiring video game developer, sound designer, or composer get this book!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cb6fdc8) out of 5 stars Outstanding Resource July 3 2010
By christheFER - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Aaron Marks touches on all of the key elements necessary to get started in the Game industry today. He makes a point to talk to you as a friend and guide you through the necessary steps to get you to where you need to be. I'm a novice Sound Designer and I can honestly say, that this book has been a really good guide so far. Thank you, Aaron!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cb6fe28) out of 5 stars Excellent Resource for Game Composers Oct. 23 2009
By Joseph L. Rivers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is hard to imagine a more complete text on video game music scoring. Not only was I struck by the book's comprehensive treatment of topics on composing music for video games, but I was also impressed with its visual appeal and the clarity of the author's explanations. The author begins with an overview of the issues involved in a career producing game music and then discusses the important skill sets and tools for composing game music, along with setting up a personal music studio (including surround sound). Next he considers the business of composing for video games and how to market one's work, create effective demos, and network with others. This leads to negotiating the deals with game developers, including the issue of agreements and contracts, as well as collaborating effectively with developers. The author discusses in great detail game music varieties, compositional approaches to video game music, recording, sound effects and sound design, and editing and mastering musical tracks, as well as all the relevant issues in music production. Next, there is a lot of information about game platforms and the nature of music and audio for these various formats. There is even a chapter addressed to the game developer, which does not lack for substantive information.

Two appendices round off the volume--one on obtaining the help and resources you need to succeed as a video game composer, and the other on the various awards available to game composers. Interspersed throughout the text are insets called "Composer at Work," featuring short but valuable interviews with various game composers, and "Tools of the Trade," which are descriptions by different composers of the specific hardware and software they use in their studio. A DVD is included containing various audio samples and demos that were produced by the author and two dozen other composers, along with contract documents and information on surround sound for games.

The text is presented with great clarity and is written in an approachable and interesting writing style and is highly informative, with excellent and salient illustrations. The author presents a lot of sound advice from one very experienced and conversant in the industry. Occasionally the author describes some very interesting personal experiences, such as a fascinating one where he was involved in a rather surreal contract negotiation--entertaining to read, but certainly not to have to go through. This book may very well become the standard volume for video game music, if it has not already, for I cannot think of any relevant or related topic that has been omitted or unsatisfactorily treated. Indeed it would be hard to imagine a topic related to video game scoring that is not discussed. Of course, one can probe even deeper into such areas as sound design and audio production with additional resources, but the author nevertheless covers the topics quite thoroughly.

The book may be read straight through, or digested a chapter at a time, and it can serve as an excellent reference tool. In any case, it will be a valuable companion for any composer who wishes to pursue a career in video game scoring, or is already working as a game composer. If you want to understand how the world of video game scoring works, this book is the answer. All that remains is for the composer to be willing to exert the effort, develop one's creativity, and pursue it with tenacity, armed with a full understanding of what it takes to become a successful video game composer.