Gunpoint Music Submissions Update

Thank you so much to everyone who’s sent in samples for Gunpoint’s music! It’s been exciting to sit here listening to all this awesome work. Some people have asked for a) a deadline and b) a bit more guidance. I mentioned Monday on Twitter – I’d like to extend that to Friday the 23rd of December, since I won’t have time to go through everything thoroughly on a weeknight anyway.

As for b), I don’t want to get too specific about genre or style, because the great thing about this process is that people are always surprising me with things I wouldn’t have thought would work, or just hadn’t considered at all. I will say that you need to put it over the gameplay video, and if your music doesn’t ever change in response to what’s happening in the game, it’ll probably lose out to something that does.

When you’re done, uploading it to YouTube and posting a link in the comments here seems to be the best way to get it out there. E-mailing me a download link is fine too though. I’ll see it either way so you don’t need to do both.

To help out as much as I can, I want to pick out some to he submissions that have come in so far and point out specific things that are awesome about them. This isn’t a best-of list, I won’t decide stuff like that till all the submissions are in. There are some great ones I haven’t included here because they’re just generally good, or because the thing they do well is already covered here.


C418 worked on something called a Minecraft? I am stunned and immensely flattered that he made a sample for Gunpoint, and stunned and immensely excited by how good it is. A few people on Twitter said things to the effect of “Contest over!” – that’s not true. I’m serious about the open submissions idea – if John Williams, Jeremy Seoule and Jesper Kyd sent in samples too, I’d still listen carefully to every submission anyone put their time and effort into, and give them all a fair chance.

The two things I love most about C418’s take are a) the clever transitions between indoors and outdoors – not only adding an extra layer when you go inside, but muffling the music when you leave again. And b) the beautiful crosslink music, and the natural way it builds onto the existing track – I get excited thinking about how switching in and out of crosslink could feel like composing your own music on the fly.


HyperDuck’s take is a great example of subtle game music, focused entirely on atmosphere and tone. There’s a fantastic heartbeat pulse when you pounce a guy, which fades after just the right amount of time. And the tinny muzak in the elevators is hilarious.

Ryan Ike

A really stylish old-school take, gorgeous upright bass. There’s a huge upkick when you’ve completed your objectives – it might be too dramatic for some levels, but it’s a really cool idea to give the player a “Let’s get out of here!” vibe without actually imposing a hard time limit. It’d also be great for when a gun goes off – at which point there really is a time limit.


This is just one track at the moment, but I love the mood of it, and the way it can turn from an anticipatory, suspenseful tone to an exciting action one smoothly.

John Robert Matz

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John also made a video, but it’s the full version of this song he wrote for the menus that I want to highlight. It’s a gorgeous, lonely piece of brass, the kind of sad, sinister track you’d hear in one of LA Confidential’s darker moments. If this started playing when you died, I’d probably sit and listen to it before reloading.

Ben Schwartz

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As Ben says himself this piece isn’t really a soundtrack, I’m just including it here because wow, what a great track.

Apologies if I haven’t mentioned yours – it doesn’t mean it wasn’t awesome, because that list would be very long. Thanks again for all your hard work, and sorry if you asked for a reply and I haven’t sent one – my backlog is so huge that I may just have to come to terms with seeming rude to some people. I’ll try to keep up with posts like these to give as much feedback and detail as I can.

49 Replies to “Gunpoint Music Submissions Update”

  1. Wow… Thats already a load of awesome. Hey, Tom, why not pick mixtures? I mean, the menu theme from Mr Matz should certainly implemented! But I also like Hyperduck’s general subtlety and Ike’s objective complete track could be implemented after a shot is fired like you said. Truly a great selection!

  2. That last one by Ben Schwartz… WOW.
    It would make for a brilliant credits track. I know the credits wouldn’t be long, but damn that would be a great way to end the game.
    I’m with Johnkillzyou on this, mix it up. There are a ton of great tracks up there that you could bring together.
    I can’t wait to play the game man.

  3. Ben Schwartz track is now on my media player playlist:D

    Great credits track. I love the rock vibe of part 2.

  4. Hyperduck’s track is so Deus Ex. So very very Deus Ex. I think it’s the samples it uses or something, they’re really similar to some of the Deus Ex levels – not sure which, but I think Paris. I mean that in the best possible sense.

    They’re all excellent though. Glad I’m not the one who has to choose between them.

  5. I like C418’s the most out of these. It just feels like it flows so well and the music seamlessly changes depending on the situation. Others have flow but none of them flow as well. I haven’t heard every submission but his seems like the one to beat atm.

  6. This is kinda obvious, but why can’t you pick more than one soundtrack? You could let players choose between a few choices when the start the game, and then change it in the options.

  7. Ryan Ike’s is definitely my favorite. Awesome mix of classic detective vibe and a little synth for the cross link mode.

  8. MY fave is Ryan’s music. Then C418. These are really great. But J.R. Matz’s piece just HAS to go for the menu music. Fantastic submissions. All of them.

  9. I’m really surprised how all of these different interpretations can mesh really well with the game.

    My personal favourite is C418’s. I love chiptunes, but I also couldn’t see it fitting with Gunpoint; I was blown away by his use of a chiptune layer in crosslink mode, I really enjoy his style. The transitions were seamless as well, and it’s a shame that C418 said he isn’t interested in composing. There doesn’t seem to be a shortage of talent though.

  10. Ryan Ike’s please. Oh yes, that’s the noir-y goodness I want.

    Or, as someone already suggested, include several and allow the player to choose the soundtrack. Then everyone wins.

  11. glad to hear the deadline’s been extended!

    One important thing: What do you use as sound engine? Because last time I checked, gamemaker was quite limited in that regard, and so were even several other sound solutions you can get that expand the functionality somewhat. More specifically:

    Are you sure you can implement synced multilayered, adaptive music?! E.g. if an extra layer of percussion is supposed to come in when you enter a building or crosslink mode or whathever, it needs to check what part of the beat the currently playing track is and then start playback of the 2nd layer at the corresponding position. Does the sound engine support this?

    If not, I guess you could work around this by using non-rhythmical layers. Or have all layers playing all the time and just fade them in and out as needed, of course, but that’s not very system-friendly.

    Sorry if that bit was just obvious to everyone, just wanted to point it out just in case people haven’t considered implementation…

  12. I’m torn between Ryan Ilk’s submission and HyperDuck’s. I like them both for very different reasons.

    Man, tough call, Tom.

  13. Wopps. I meant Ike, of course.

    Also, John Robert Matz’s submission, like you said, is just an awesome piece of music. It needs to be in there.

  14. Given the quality of these submissions, I think there’s a real possibility that if you included multiple soundtrack options you could have a game that many people would replay several times just to experience it with each background music option.

    In fact, now I’m really surprised there aren’t more games that do this.

  15. Dave, you raise a fantastic point. It’s probably for implementation considrations such as these, at least in part, Urthman. Setting up parameters for dynamic music to respond to and making sure things are all looping and mixing together nicely isn’t necessarily a trivial task.

  16. Ryan’s track really made me smile. It seems like it really pushes a kind of aesthetic in the game that could make it stand out a little better in people’s minds.

  17. I think HyperDuck’s entry has the best sound overall.
    This game is (as far as I’ve seen from the gameplay etc.) not about some crazy action hero, it’s about a professional, a silent killer, a man with standards. No fuss, just doing the job. HyperDuck’s music just breathes that whole atmosphere. It is, in a way, silent enough, the music doesn’t distract you from your mission. Plus, the “heartbeat” is pure genius and builds excellent tension.
    It’s a soundtrack I would gladly also buy separately.

    Ryan’s track was also brilliant, but a bit too vivid in my opinion. That bass is awesome, but some parts are just too Incredibles-ey (not that that’s a bad thing per se, I just don’t think it fits here).

    The single track by Matz is beautiful and should be included in the game anyhow (maybe for the main menu, it’s a good “mood-maker”).
    I’d also pay for this one separately.

    Ben’s 3 pieces were very good music on their own, but I don’t really see them fitting in the game, unless a further trailer would show more explosions, it just sounds so… badass and action hero-like.

    Surprisingly, the one I liked the least was C418’s entry (even though I’m normally a big fan of his work). It just didn’t fit at all, the only good thing about it were the transitions inside/outside etc. It sounded too cheerful, disconnected,… Don’t choose this one.

    Anyway, that’s just how I think about it.

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  19. I beg you to use Matz’s music in -some- fashion, most likely as others have stated in the menu. For in-game, Hyperduck’s music is fantastic. It’s subtle enough not to be repetitive over repeated playthroughs and truly proves ‘less is more’. The stunning vibe of Deus Ex, Human Revolution and Amon Tobin’s legendary work on Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory also speak to an excellently atmospheric soundscape.

  20. I’ve been playing around with some of the themes from my original submission (, and made some more neat music. Dunno if anything here would ever belong in the game, but I thought I’d share the SoundCloud set:

    I’m particularly fond of Network Wetwork, and Free Overnight Shipping is fun, if weird.

    I think it’s absolutely fantastic that this game inspired so many people to make so many great submissions. Even if I’m out of the running for doing the soundtrack, I’ll probably keep working on spy-oriented music for a while because it’s so much fun. Congrats to everyone involved.

  21. Why not use all of them… ok, that’s saying too much, but to keep the music interesting, have different levels play different music, or change up the menu track every once and a while. you know, keep it kool.

  22. Hey so regardless of which one you choose can we get a soundtrack included with the game? or like most Indie games I’m finding have 2 versions, one with and one without witha varying price difference.

    Basically, I’d like the soundtrack.

  23. I like Ryans submission except for the loud intro to the objective completion, if the action oriented music from that were to just fade in( instead of the bells and flair) it would be perfect. On a similar note I can see C418’s tracks on longer, more difficult levels. Also I could see a few levels transitioning from one music style to the next as having the music for the upcoming levels overpowering the previous until it is dominant( it could be through the course of one or a handful of missions, entirely up to you. This way you could have more music to keep play a bit more refreshing.
    Also Johns menu submission is beautiful and I think Ben’s submission would be perfect for the title screens and credits. Specifically the first bit as the title screen and the second two bits as end credits.

  24. My pick is C418. I really love that mystic feeling and addition of jazzy tunes in the music. But it should not be to dark and scary! It must capture that mystic atmosphere but also make the music soft and relaxing to make the gameplay good!

  25. Hi. Can’t wait to play Gunpoint – looks like a brilliant, open-ended game with a lot of “Can’t believe I can DO that!” in it :-)

    I wonder… has anyone submitted a Michael Giacchino-Incredibles track yet? Because that seems like it would be perfect. Kind-of 007-screwball.

    Well done on your work so far – looks fabulous :-)


  26. Ben’s tracks is awesome! I could see part 2 used in a really balls to the wall boss fight or timed mission because of the transition and pacing; IMO, part 1 would be great as background music for in-between mission “cut-scenes” (maybe something resembling an action comic that sets up the story).

  27. Just saw the YouTube video with a walkthrough of 3 levels. At some point you asked if you should charge money. If it helps, I’d be willing to pay up to $10 for it, and would probably purchase inexpensive level packs in the future.

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