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SpazBoy teh Mitey

Music and the enviroment

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Hello forgive me if this idea is stale and old, but I have not been around here for many many moons now. I found myself listening to a song by The (International) Noise Conspiracy today, and it choked me up even more then when I lost one of my favourite NPC''s in Ultima 6. The song was "United By Haircuts" and you can get it from the TINC website if you want to hear it http://www.burningheart.com/mp3/tinc_-_united_by_haircuts.mp3 But my point is, media such as film and music can carry a lot of emotional weight, and I was getting to thinking that there are a lot of ways that this can translate into game design. For instance, imagine your game has this wonderful environmental effects engine that rains and snows etc and it is very nice. Now when I play a game like that it is a novelty for about 5 minutes about how pretty it all looks, but it doesn''t really mean anything. Imagine now, linking your environmental effects to your music system and driving them both by what emotion your story is trying to convey. A prime example of this in film (the only one that comes straight to mind) is in Freddy Got Fingered when Gord throws out his drawings and goes to the sandwhich shop. The music is sad and it is raining heavily. I felt for him. I really did I haven''t seen a game that could do that to me yet and also, you could use a dynamic camera system in a similar way. You could have a set of different camera positions that traditionally denote certain situations, like taking a towering viewpoint over something weaker than you etc. anyway, I hope i haven''t wasted your time with this, I was just listening to some music and had a thought is all. -SpazBoy teh Mitey

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I agree. I do not think that many people understand the emotional value of audio. Let me start by talking about Warcraft 3 (:D) I have the collectors edition, and it includes the soundtrack. The soundtrack includes the music from the cinematics.. etc. Anyway, whenever I listen to that soundtrack, I feel so rejuvinated. I don''t have to be watching anything, or anything like that. I just remember what playing the campaigns was like, and I remember how exciting and amazing it was. It all comes back to me, just by listening to the music. It truely is the little things that make up the game.. From the dynamic sound, the birds chirping in the forest. In starcraft (and warcraft), when you move the "camera" over each race''s base, you hear different background music.. for protoss, for instance, you hear power generators or something similar.. For zerg a "munching" sound. You don''t really notice it, but wihtout it, it makes a big difference.

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If you watch the annals of the game audio industry, you''ll note that a lot of eyes and minds are actually turning to these ideas of dynamic, evolving music. I suspect we''ll start to see some real excellent results soon.

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Yeah, I think the industry is, but I don''t really think many designers/developers are. Maybe because it is hard to find musicians who specialize in digital sound. I don''t know if it is or not, just a guess.. World of warcraft is suppost to have an excellent 3D sound system. Apparently the music gets dark and quiet when you enter the forests, and happy and chearfull in the towns.

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One of the main reasons why the design stage fails o take advancing audio techniques into mind is the fact that audio is still looked upon as a Drop-In aspect, rather than something that needs to be considered form day one. This is changing, as more audio leads are being brought to the design table, but it still has room for improvement.

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I think a lot of games do neglect the power of music to a certain extent. But only those of certain genres. Some games have thoroughly grasp the concept of using music, and do so very well.
The final fantasy series would be a good example. Those use music very well. I know a lot of people, including myself, who were close to, or in tears when aeris died in FFVII. Try playing it muted, it doesn''t have nearly the same power. Similarly, the fight music is always very empowering music, and it absolutely works to get you in fight mode.
Another title that made a sucess of its sound design would be Silent Hill 2. Some of the music in it really put me on edge, and sent chills down my spine. Infact, there is a thoroughly amazing trailer for SH2 that I''ve got. It''s the scene with "Mary/Maria" behind bars, with the Guitar riff title music over the top. That trailer truely sent chills down my spine, and set the tone for the entire game imo.
I''d rip it off the cd and upload but I don''t have a DVD drive

I''d certainly agree though that certain genre''s have neglected music as a powerful tool to invoke emotion for a long time. From what I''ve seen, that''s starting to change.

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quote:
Original post by krikkit
If you watch the annals of the game audio industry, you''ll note that a lot of eyes and minds are actually turning to these ideas of dynamic, evolving music. I suspect we''ll start to see some real excellent results soon.


Soon? It''s already here - go play Rez and be overwhelmed I personally rate Rez as one of the most important and immersive games to come out in the last few years.

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