The genesis - Why does this project exist?

The genesis - Why does this project exist?

The first question one might ask when coming upon this project is "Why?", and I must say that's a question I'm also asking myself when reflecting on it.

Turns out there's a couple of answers to this, let me introduce them.

An artistic approach

Before everything else, this is an artistic project.

I've been playing video games since I was around 2 or 3 (I have actual footage to prove it!), and never really stopped since, even though it's been a back-and-forth pastime, time being sometimes available and sometimes not.

Starting learning music since I was 8 and still learning since, I got into scoring and music for media at the age of 18, when doing some demos for the videos my best friend and roommate was doing for its cinema studies. It seemed logical for me to, one day, try and create my own video game soundtracks.

Now, 10 years later, no such project presented itself, even though I tried creating some games myself over the years, but man is it time-consuming to do everything yourself! I needed a project a bit less big in scope to really dig into. That's when I thought I could try breathing a new life into an existing video game, trying my best to bring a modern touch both musically and technically to one of my all-time favorite games: Half-Life 2.

Adding a new brick to an existing monument

I first played Half-Life 2 in around 2005-2006. I was 11 at the time, and couldn't go past the beginning of Ravenholm because it so frightened me! I've finished it a couple of times since, and as I loved that game, it felt logical to try and give a shot at giving a new musical approach to a game I now consider fantastically dynamic, whereas the music can sometimes be a bit stationary.

I wanted to put myself in the composer and producer's shoes as if I was given this project to lead, today, in 2024, 20 years after its real release and, funny enough, around the time its story takes place.

A technical challenge

I've never composed and produced a video game soundtrack, I've never worked on game audio with today's adaptive music tools like FMOD or Wwise, and I've never coded a single line of C++ outside of my development courses back in university (I'm still an IT engineer)... needless to say this is a challenge!

Good thing is I have a broad understanding of these subjects, and the development side can be helped online. Valve's Source Engine is open source and even though it's been made in the 2000s and reworked in 2013, it's a bit hard to find documentation. Hopefully the engine is still popular (so there's community help), frameworks somewhat exist, and I chose FMOD as it's completely free to use.

The project

Now it's on! I've dug a bit the subject for the past year, thinking about it, trying some coding stuff and now I'm in, using a lot of free time into it. This has started.