The Power of Music
Sooo.. this weeks entry is about what the title says.
Why? Because of everything.
I recently came to the conclusion that designing a game doesn't only mean designing mechanics, designing the gameplay. Good games design the feelings the player has while playing the game. And those are the games we remember, we know and love.
On the other hand, the very bad games have much in common with bad horror movies. Instead of feeling scared, you laugh your pants off in the worst case. Not because it has such good humour, but you see the director trying, and terribly failing at giving you an emotion.
Making a good game, starts by you knowing what atmosphere your game should have.
I try doing this by going out there and finding music that reflects the atmosphere I want to have in the game. I know this is starting to look a bit esotherical, but trust me, I am an engineer.
No seriously, think about the greatest moments you had in video games, movies, etc. When you find the soundtrack of exactly that moment, you feel the same way you did during that scene. I think music is a very good way to make atmosphere tangible and if I was working in a design team, this may be even more important. Without it, there is a bigger chance that the designers have different images of the game in their head, therefore the game can become inconsistent.
In my opinion, inconsitencies in the game are the most accidentally hilarous thinks that can happen.
Finding music for the World itself was the most important task. It should help defining the settings and the overall mood. Also, how the people react to earth's transformation from a habitable to a very hostile planet. It also gives a bit of a "I am fighting for earth" mood.
Planning should be important in this game, so it deserves a soundtrack.
I am not completely happy with the soundtrack, it is a tap too much A-Team like, it has a different style that doesn't completely fit with what I have in mind, but it gets in the right direction. It gives a kind of urgency that I very like.
In Project-Phoenix, you have three basic tactics, therefore they have to have a completely different appeal, they deserve a different soundtrack. That's the reason, why playing splinter cell as a Rambo just feels wrong.
I stumbled upon this by watching people play Halo 4. I enjoy this soundtrack very much and it happened to fit in my vision of gameplay for an attack. It isn't too fancy, you don't feel like being part of one big army, it starts and ends bitter, almost sad. I want the player to feel that he is fighting, because the only other choice he has is death for him or his comrades. So they fight not for glory, not for freedom. not to be remembered, because there is nothing left to do. Because it is there last hope for a better world.
To me, this soundtrack fits perfectly to what I envisioned, if I could, I would put it in the game. I love the way the soundtrack builds up urgency.
I want the gamer to sneak around, finding his way to his target and either take out an demon before he sees him or sneak around him. Or if the player was spotted, kill the alerted before it is too late and he has to flee.
The sudden rises in the soundtrack fits that perfectly. If I want to make the gameplay awesome, I should incorporate that uprising in the game.I dynamically change fade in and fade out a soundtrack if he was spotted or is attacking.
I currently don't have a soundtrack for that. I first wondered why, if i don't know enough different songs. Well, here comes the practical application for finding soundtracks to your game design. My vision of ambushing an enemy is just boring. Find a place to attack, find a spot for each player, BOOM, flee, rinse and repeat. It is too short compared to an assassination or attack, and frankly, too repetitive. I also wanted to have the ambush fail, let the demons take an other route and miss the ambush spot. Then I frankly just wasted the players time.
I didn't find anything because there wouldn't be a soundtrack not good enough, my vision isn't good enough.
I still don't have soundtracks for the other way around,when you have to Hide, Run, Retreat, or when you die. It's possible that I don't include a "Victory" theme, as you have in Call of Duty every time you've won a round. I'd like to give the player a feeling of accomplishment, but having victory trumpets is just wrong an a dark, bitter world like this. Ideally, the player would have the feeling that he accomplished SOMETHING, but he is not sure if it is for long, or if he got closer to his end goal, liberating earth.
In the last two weeks, I accidentally published a couple of entries that weren't supposed to go up. I normally use the function to schedule a specific entry for publishing. I then normally wrote the entry one to three weeks before it was actually visible. Now with all the exams, I stumbled out of schedule and you saw this and the next entry already in a very unfinished state. I apologise for that.