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Topic: musical approaches for games

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  1. #1

    musical approaches for games

    Heres the situation:

    -You have a level...the character runs throughout the level for...oh, let\'s say...20 minutes...perhaps even longer.

    The problems (or potential problems):

    -The music can\'t be very dynamic because it would be inappropriate to go from whispering winds to screaming brass when the character\'s doing nothing but running down a hallway.
    -The music gets boring after about 5 minutes.

    Issues:

    -You can\'t write 20+ minutes of new music (there just isn\'t the space). So you have to loop. (or do you?)
    -You REALLY want the music to stay interesting, impressive and not irritating.
    -You HATE midi (direct music or the like) because the sound quality just isn\'t good enough to live up to the quality of your work.

    Solutions:

    What do you do? What do you do?

    (Shooting the hostage will not be an acceptable solution in this case.)

  2. #2

    Re: musical approaches for games

    Just one approach of many of course, YMMV, but a typical way round this would be :

    Looping background ambiences/beds provide the atmosphere, then key trigger points throughout the level cue in your mp3/ogg/whatever pieces i.e when entering a different area, making a discovery etc.

    You get a fair degree of control over musical placement - though you need to watch that your carefully planned trigger points don\'t get mysteriously \'moved\' and mess up all your efforts [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

  3. #3

    Re: musical approaches for games

    another possibility would be to compose a song which is about three or four minutes and then try to find a good way to go back to the beginning in a situation where somebody who listens, thinks, \"this is a new part ??...is it a new part??\"

    i am hardly thinking about a song where they use it, to let the chorus go round and round and round and its always cool to hear it again but you always think it\'s introducing a new part... if you do one big chorus over 3 min, the listener will loose the feeling of knowing the part and the melody, so you have 7 times to go [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

    even more worse is the situation for a strategy or industrysimulation, for instance. the player sometimes is stuck in one level or area for about hours. so i had the problem on my last project. so i did it like this, that the beginning of the song was the end of it. means the real end of the file was just something like a short bridge which leads to the intro, but you think the intro is the resoluting chorus or main theme from the previous bridge...
    by using this technique you can go round and round for a very loooooong time [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  4. #4

    Re: musical approaches for games

    Yeah, triggers are where it\'s at. I\'ve been working on a job where I\'m using triggers to start/stop ogg files like the scenario you described. I can\'t say I feel limited by this technique at all, though I\'m not using music constantly throughout the level, either. If you\'re working on a platformer, and it kinda sounds like you are, you probably would want music throughout, in which case the trigger system may not be perfect for you. But with this triggered start/stop technique, you can really let your film scoring sensibilities come to the fore.. setting up big combat areas, discovery/exploration areas or boss fights.

    Of course, King ought to pop up here any minute now trumpeting the virtues of MIDI/sample/DLS scores, so let\'s just wait patiently for him [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Seriously, an adaptive MIDI score would allow you to use those same triggers to execute seamless transitions between sections of music in your level. The benefits of tying certain musical ideas to certain parts of a level should be obvious, AND you can do it very musically and unjarringly.

  5. #5

    Re: musical approaches for games

    We probably wont be using much internal MIDI in the next big gig [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img] Tho it will still have limitations musically due to interactivity. Ultimately I want to create a hybrid engine, we\'ll see.

    you can also trigger streams using Direct Music I believe.

    You can work with multiple streams and crossfade ala SSX or Klanoa 2 (which was really MIDI, but the Xfade idea is there and works wonderfully)

    Triggers can work in platformers too, depending on the platformer and design of course.

    and no I\'m not here, I\'m only reading Game Audio, and that one gigantic stupid freaking thread in Sample Libraries, which I wont reply to no matter how stupid the posts get.

  6. #6

    Re: musical approaches for games

    Originally posted by KingIdiot:
    We probably wont be using much internal MIDI in the next big gig [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img] Tho it will still have limitations musically due to interactivity. Ultimately I want to create a hybrid engine, we\'ll see.

    you can also trigger streams using Direct Music I believe.

    You can work with multiple streams and crossfade ala SSX or Klanoa 2 (which was really MIDI, but the Xfade idea is there and works wonderfully)

    Triggers can work in platformers too, depending on the platformer and design of course.

    and no I\'m not here, I\'m only reading Game Audio, and that one gigantic stupid freaking thread in Sample Libraries, which I wont reply to no matter how stupid the posts get.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Some of those stupid posts are mine. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] Sometimes I just can\'t help going off on topics, even if I don\'t really care that much at all. The thing that really sets me off, funny enough, is music theory or compositional techniques. I\'m weird that way.

    That thread is SO far off the original topic now that it\'s funny. I\'ve just been debating with Bruce about something that\'s about a 5 or 6 topic bounce away from the original. (Though I\'m not so sure he\'s interested in debating back. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] ) But I think I\'m sick of it so I won\'t respond there any more. Of course I say that. But when someone else makes another point I\'ll give in most likely with another ridiculously long post that no one cares to actually read. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Okay, sorry...what were we talking about? Oh yeah...

    Let\'s see.

    I can\'t really say much about the nature of the game. But I do want music mostly throughout either way. (I am the musician after all, so I\'m gonna stick as much music as I can in.)

    I love the idea behind direct music. If I could just use giga quality sound. But even if we stick the game on DVD there\'s just not enough room to create that size and quality of sound. *sigh*. Maybe there is. But not really. I want to use VOTA. Talk about impossible to convert to direct music.

    I have to head off to class for a bit, so I\'ll finish this up in a few hours.

  7. #7

    Re: musical approaches for games

    SSX and Klonoa 2 are PS2 games. SSX is an \"extreme\" snowboarding game and Klonoa 2 is a sidescrolling 3D platformer. SSX is considered a case study in well-executed adaptive music, while Klonoa\'s just cute as hell [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Btw, King, yes, DirectMusic can trigger and crossfade streams. That\'s what\'s going on in Tron 2.0, I believe.

  8. #8

    Re: musical approaches for games

    Originally posted by KingIdiot:
    We probably wont be using much internal MIDI in the next big gig [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img] Tho it will still have limitations musically due to interactivity. Ultimately I want to create a hybrid engine, we\'ll see.

    you can also trigger streams using Direct Music I believe.

    You can work with multiple streams and crossfade ala SSX or Klanoa 2 (which was really MIDI, but the Xfade idea is there and works wonderfully)

    Triggers can work in platformers too, depending on the platformer and design of course.

    and no I\'m not here, I\'m only reading Game Audio, and that one gigantic stupid freaking thread in Sample Libraries, which I wont reply to no matter how stupid the posts get.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Okay, I\'m back. What, exactly, is SSK and Klanoa 2? I\'m very interested. Thanks.

  9. #9

    Re: musical approaches for games

    Re: tron directmusic and crossfading.

    I think it\'s actually crossfading. ogg files. I remember Guy whitmore and nathan grigg showing off something at GDC that had a sophisticated branching ogg system for NOLF2. They also previewed some of the tron music and it did the same thing. There is no easy way to preview the stuff; however, so Monolith built an app to do it.

    -dev

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