Round 01 - Zelda

Video Games we love💖, re-imagined as original works for performance!

Artwork by pearl  (@_blanketc on Twitter)

Game Play video. Spoilers!!

Full story and cut scenes. Spoilers!!

One of the most beloved of games of all time takes center stage in our first challenge round. 

Zelda is a franchise that has touched almost every gamer on the planet it seems and makes a fitting first round challenge focus. You have a vast world of prior titles to tap into for inspiration. For this challenge we will be particularly focused on the 2017 title, Breath of the Wild, because as part of the challenge outcomes we are going to be working with modder Jacobg431 to release a Music MOD Pack for the WiiU called "Bards of the Wild - Original music to save Hyrule". It is highly recommended that you familiarize yourself with all the music of the game, and then set out on your own adventure to save Hyrule, with your music!

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is:

Imagine that it was you who got the call... to write the music for the next Zelda game!! How would you approach that? How much would you lean into the styles of past games in the franchise, or how much would you take Link's adventures in a whole new musical direction. This is your chance to find out. 

Because we are also creating a music for a mod for Breath of the Wild you can use the game visuals as a reference when thinking about your track, but you don't have to feel confined to the existing musical style. Feel free to make this your own expression.

Spoiler Alert!! Don't watch the videos if you have not played the game!
If you want to try to get a feel for game play at various locations in the game to get a feel for the music you might like to write you can check out a game play video like this one. Just know there are obviously spoilers to the game in doing so.

Remember, this is not a cover, or arrangement of an existing track, but a completely new (and copyright/trademark safe!) theme in the style of the game franchise. 

You should also be thinking about your composition in terms of ensemble performance if you can. That means that if you write a part for an instrument to play, it should be on its own track (eg. piccolo, flute1, flute 2, oboe, clarinet 1, clarinet 2, etc.) and if the track includes electronic music elements (including synths/sound effects) that could be in the final performance, plan to export those tracks as WAV file stems to be included in an orchestrated version of the track. (For these tracks the ensemble will be playing to a click track to stay in sync with your non-live parts.) If you don't have experience in composing this way, the critical thing to consider is that the music that will be played by real instruments and should be quantised, within the instruments range and on individual tracks in your DAW to facilitate transfer to sheet music notation for an arranger/orchestrator tor to work with. You will need to know how to export the parts as midi files for this.

If you are comfortable with also doing the Orchestration of your own track to sheet music format, you are most welcome to do so, though you might want to do that as part of the Arrangement/Orchestration challenge in the following month.

What does success sound like for this challenge? The track must be original, though it may have references to motifs from the original (think back to Season 8 Round 1), but it must pass the copycat test... as in it should not sound like a copy of any particular existing track from the franchise. It should sound like it is a track that could have been on the OST but wasn't, so people would say... oh that sounds like xyz OST but... I don't see that track listed? Or it could be your take on the next installment of the franchise, what you would write if you were approached to make the next release for that game. So there is plenty of scope for you to put your own stamp on it.

Round 1 Reward - Kindly provided by Best Service!

In Arabic music, the Oud is considered one of the oldest musical instruments; in fact, in the Middle East it plays an important role in musical tradition. Although the origins of this instrument are uncertain, the popularity of the Oud has spread across the Mediterranean, North and East Africa and the Middle East, where it is still very popular to this day. In the Western World, the Oud is probably best known as the forerunner of the European lute.

The Arabic Oud Library was created in close collaboration with the renowned musician and Oud virtuoso Bassam Ayoub. Bassam Ayoub performed and recorded all playing variations with the main emphasis on achieving an authentic sound, both for melodic playing and rhythmic accompaniment.

All participants who complete the Original Composition Challenge will go into the draw to receive this unique library.

A note from our Modder, jacobg431

I first played Breath of the Wild at a friend in the summer of 2022, and I was instantly hooked. After finishing the game a few times, I started to watch various related YouTube videos. This was when I stumbled upon a fan-made cover of the Breath of the Wild main theme. I spent days daydreaming of what it would sound and feel like to have that track play in-game.

Therefore, I started to learn how to mod BotW.

I am now the author of the BotW mod, Ballads of the Wild. This mod replaces in-game tracks with covers, remixes and rearrangements from popular tracks in the Zelda franchise. All my thanks must go towards the very talented Zelda fan community, which has made my mod possible.

A while back, I asked dGecko if I could use one of his tracks in my mod. It eventually led to us talking about making a music overhaul challenge for Breath of Wild. And here we are, with Bards of the Wild! I very much look forward to listening to your contribution.

Let’s together create the best music experience Breath of the Wild could give!

Want to know more about me? Check my LinkedIn page:

Ballads of the Wild is uploaded to Gamebana:

Several showcases of Ballads can be found om my YouTube channel:

2. Cover/Remix Challenge

Using any Zelda game from the franchise, create a cover of that track for the server to enjoy. All Zelda games are in scope for this cover challenge, and you can create your track in any style. It is possible that if we get enough covers we might release a second mod pack of covers to sit along side the Originals pack! 

Cover and Art challengers will have the chance to win a random Steam game key.

3. Arrangement/Orchestration Challenges (Sheet music)

As this is the first round of the season there are no prior tracks to use as the source for the arrangement/orchestration challenge. This will start from round 2.

4. Art challenge

Your challenge is to find inspiration from any Zelda game to create a wholly original piece of artwork that would sit comfortably within Zelda, while not impinging on any copyright or trademarks for that franchise. So... not copying a character or location that exists, but imagine creating a new character or location that would fit into that world, something that might complement a new original piece of music in Hyrule! Artwork that is deemed clear of potential copyright issues could be utilised (with your permission and crediting) in the mod pack and the album cover art.

Cover and Art challengers will have the chance to win a random Steam game key.

"Bards of the Wild" Album

At the end of round all the submissions for the original challenges will be released as a Bandcamp album as well as the mod pack, and selected tracks will be distributed on as an EP (with the creators permission). The most popular artwork will be the album cover for the album (where permission has been granted).

MOD Track List

List of available tracks you can choose to replace in the game with your own original music.
When you listen to the track, take note of the track length. We want to focus of the longer tracks ideally for the mod and work down to the shorter ones.

A note about track selection:

The list is sorted by track length, and we want to create as many of the longer tracks as possible for the mod, so please give them consideration first.

Some of the original tracks has sound effects baked into the music. Those are indicated with the ticks and are almost always cut scenes. If you wish to do one of these tracks you may want to:

Either way, these tracks will need more work than the others.

Length: You should aim to keep your track to about the same length as the original, and all tracks that are not cut scenes should be looping.

Selection for the Mod: The tracks selected to make it into the mod will be chosen by Jocob and Scott, based on suitability, quality and match to the criteria. The best tracks will be released on the Bandcamp album.

To reserve a track, post your requests in the S09R01 chat channel under the Challenge-chat forum!

VGMLOVE: VGM Lounge Orchestra Virtual Experience!

Excitement next level! We are forming a virtual orchestra within VGML as one of the ensembles that composers can compose for, and we are inviting you to join us for this! We are going to put together a crack team to manage the project and teaming up with VVGO to assist us. So what does that mean?

We are going to form a virtual orchestra which will be able to play any of the pieces that arrangers/orchestrators complete as part of the challenge, and we will be working with the very talented people on VVGO to help bring the right resources together for this project. 

Current Open Challenges:

You can join an In Progress challenge any time before the Round End date, if you think you have time to submit before the cutoff. Remember you join by reacting to the emojis on the Discord server announcement post. Make sure you submit on time, as late entries won't get processed. You won't be able to join a Scheduled event until its posted to the server and set to the "In Progress" status.