Can you monetize the game development cycle while paying homage to the evolution of video games?

'...don't start with the story ...start by trying to understand what emotion or idea you are trying to get the player to experience. Next work with the dev team to find really compelling mechanics that in some way help explore that idea or emotion.' Extra Credit, "How To Start Your Game Narrative - Design Mechanics First"

When Epic Games released $12M worth of art assets for anyone to use, I just KNEW I'd hit the lottery.

Many other underrepresented people who dreamed of working in the video game industry hopped on board only to find... the asset drop was woefully incomplete. I could go into how I joined a fledgling video game studio with grand dreams of fixing the video game industry. Only to discover, this rag tag group of individuals ranging in ages from 19 - 40+ really didn't have any idea how to create a project or manage it. Each one knew their part of the process and a few others who has small businesses wandered into leadership.

Moving on...

Determined to find a way or find a project team I could work on, I asked a few people I knew if they would be willing to help me get a basic prototype together. What I ended up with is NOT near where I thought I could get.

Paragon Heroes using the Rider-Waite tarot system

We called it - Returning to the Void

After reading an article on, "Finding Your Niche" I found a relationship between magic, card games, music and gaming through Tarot. While in this day we associate Tarot with divination, it actually started as a trick taking, bet making strategy card game.

Reading Tarot: How a Stack of Playing Cards Became Tools for Rumination

Mage: The Ascension Tarot is one of the first "game" tarot decks I have been able to find.

Returning to the Void.mp4

I notice you talk about the range of YouTube when you mixed and mastered this track. What are you thinking about during this part of the process? Are you already thinking about the kinds of clips services like SoundCloud Pro does for its preview or is that a different type of mix-down?

There's a lot of confusion for newer EDM producers about the ideal loudness level and dynamic range to shoot for these days, given that YouTube and most of the streaming platforms (except for SoundCloud) normalize everything to a relatively quiet level. Bottom line is that the loudness war is still raging for EDM, and if you're not mastering competitively loud tracks, your song won't feel like it belongs in the same playlist or DJ set as everyone else. Even when every other EDM song is normalized down to streaming levels along with yours. "Loudness" is not just a matter of where your song hits on a meter. It's also a matter of saturation and density in the mids and highs. If I had mastered this to take advantage of the full dynamic range possible on YouTube or Spotify, the kick and snare might punch a very tiny bit harder, but the song would feel too dark and too mellow by comparison to every other EDM song out there. So this song is mastered to a competitive -7.2 LUFS (integrated) across the span of its loudest climax drop.

As for where to snip out samples for use in promo shorts, there aren't any rules here, but I did consider that question when developing my song arrangement, and tried to give two good (and different) obvious sections for that purpose:

  • Brooding atmospheric tension/anticipation (coming soon). For this purpose, I'd recommend either the first 16 seconds of the song, or the entire first 42 seconds of the song (up to where the buildup is about to start)

  • Majestic otherworldly Epic. For this one, you could use the 2nd drop and let it run all the way through the outro and fade for a smooth finish.

Baphometrix on Creating the Teaser Track

My conversation with Baphometrix started with where did she see this song in the day of a person's life.

This track sits nicely in any playlist of broken beat EDM.

How would a Producer describe this song to their peers?

This is a "midtempo bass" song. I'm doing something unusual for that genre, though, by using a half-time feel for the kick and snare. I did that to make this less of a "dance" tune and more of an anthemic, heavy, epic kind of tune. I wanted the song to feel atmospheric, brooding, and heavy while still being a "bass music" broken beat song at its heart.

What do you think is the BIGGEST misconception clients have when it comes to making music?

Most clients have no idea how many hours goes into a finished song that is competitively professional in quality and content. Even if a producer has learned very fast workflow habits, it's still usually at least 40 hours to write, mix, and master an original song. It's a little less work to make alternate remixes from the original track components, but remixing is still significant work, especially if it has to be finessed to specific lengths (like exactly 30 or 60 seconds). If a client can make do with just using snippets of the original track in their promo socials and trailers, that's cheaper and faster, and the producer doesn't become a release bottleneck for the client.


  • Creative Director – Dominique Devereaux

  • Writer - Matthew Koentjoro

  • Music - Baphometrix

Paragon was a MOBA game created by Epic Games.

What Happened Next?

You live and you learn, many people DREAM of being a startup founder or on a startup team. However, they don't quite process a career is not like when you have a "job". And I learn the industry REALLY has a problem with underrepresented persons. Oh they'll say they don't but just wait. As soon as you start looking like you are going to make something they either can't exploit or duplicate on their own [just look at all of the Fortnite/Battle Royale clones], they'll just ignore you. Wait for you to be stoopid enough to go to market where they can then take it from you based on some kind of legal "issues" only to release something similar but watered down to mainstream blandness.

But these are the "Laws of Human Nature," right? Now GO and ... Fail Faster! But is it a failure when you learn valuable lessons and have a little something something to show for it? It could be good. It could be bad. Only time reveals those answers but, if you were to ask me. I'd say it was not only well worth the effort. I decided to keep going.