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Xeile

The Weight of Music

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Hello all, How would you consider the weight of the music in a game? Currently I get the idea the music is not spend the aspect that gets much attention. Usually it music serves as kind of ambient sound in the background. Anyway, take for the example the old (but still entertaining) game: Warcraft 2. Just plain and simple midi-files, yet ultra-high quality (for 1995). For the ones who don't know them, here are some samples: Intro Horde 2 Alliance 2 Oke, I must give the credit it is Blizzard we are talking about, not the worse of the all, but other developers could also reach this kind of quality. Please note, I am not saying all the music must now be midi's or anything, No what I am try to tell that I find the general quality of music in game of these day, average. Music has a large contribution in the mood and when music has been slighted, then game seems so empty in some cases. What is your opinion about this?

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I see nothing wrong with music being "ambient sound in the background". In fact, like movies, usually if the audience notices the music the composer hasn't done his job well enough. It's there to enhance the ambience, and, in games (e.g. most RPG's, some Adventures) and situations (e.g. cinematic sequences (possibly player controlled), entering a mysterious place (ooooo... scary)) where it matters, I've usually found it well done. In other situations, I've found it mixed, but don't care, because during normal gameplay I usually mute the music (or turn it way down but not completely off) and play my own in the background.

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No I disagree, I feel that modern games have music better suited to their atmosphere.

However, I find midi music pieces more catchy, I certainly hum them more then I would the most atmospheric of pieces.

Also I think licensed music in certain games is also normally strong, and put to well use. GTA-Vice City would never of been the 1980's without it. I liked some tracks from Burnout 3 and thought they suited the game correctly.

I think music in games at the moment is 'going down the right track'.

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I think music is very important, perhaps even more important than graphics for setting the scene/mood. One great example of game music that I can think of is Chrono Trigger. Man, there were some great, great pieces in that. Sometimes I turned on the game just to hear a certain piece of music. Now THAT is how you can tell if a game has great music. [grin]

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I last played Warcraft 2 about five years ago and I can still remember the Alliance theme. :) I agree that I find tunes from older games more catchy in general, but it's probably easier to make music not "stick out" when you have more to work with than a MIDI synth.

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Music is not necessary. However, music can make any game at least one level better: i.e. from good to great or from average to good, or from bad to average.

It is therefore very important when you want to make the best game possible. The very best game cannot exist IMO without great music.

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Music is important if it's something you've considered and you know what you want to do with it in your design; or if the game designer knows what he wants to do with it.

If it's just going to be tacked on, better to not have it at all.

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There's been a lot of talk about sound and music lately... The question is why? I think a problem that has also been addressed numerous times lately is the fact that more and more gamers do not want to feel that they are being hand-held through the game (even if it is a linear storyline, they do like to have their options).

You are not a cinematographer. Period.

If you want to make movies, go apply at Pixar or some other CGI studio (ILM, et al, ad naseum). Rather than worrying about whether or not the musical soundtrack of a game is "catchy" or not, why not worry about brainstorming that ultra-cool new feature or idea that no one's tried or thought of before. Why not revolutionize gameplay itself, for the sake of the game, rather than just step up the graphics another notch and add pop 40 hits to your soundtrack?

How many of you, to this very day, can still hum the theme song to Super Mario Bros. or Tetris? How about Pong? Metroid? Asteroids? Some of these songs didn't even have soundtracks and yet, they are the most enduring symbols of video games the world will ever have. People are still making Tetris clones as their first video game programming projects. Why? Because the gameplay, the game is unlike anything that came before and only cheap, half-assed attempts at duplication have followed.

If you're going to make a game, then make a game, something that people will love to play because it has engaging gameplay that doesn't get old quickly, like so many of today's games. I was walking around the video game section today, noticing that there were few, if any, actually unique games there.

You've got N^1000 different FPS/3PS's where nothing has actually changed except the backdrop and the arsenal. You've got N^100000 RPG's that are only seperated by marginally different storylines and I won't even attempt to make a mathematical equation about how many different "SIM" or "Military" games there are, because it would hurt my head and probably fry my computer.

People have been ranting about it for a long time now, and I guess it's my turn, but the game industry really needs a breathe of fresh air. Of course, they'll never get it, seeing as the average member of the herd is quite happy to be culled by simply better graphics and 7.1 digital surround sound. If you took offense to that, well then, you probably deserved it.

This isn't meant as a flame against the OP, just a general rant that I have needed to get off my chest for a long time now. I'm hearing-impaired, nearly deaf actually, and so, sound doesn't really make too much difference to me, as I usually can't have it turned up too high without missing the phone ringing or something. Not to mention, even if you get a symphony conductor to arrange your music, there's a very high probability that your players will simply substitute their own MP3/WMA files for your soundtrack anyway (at least one would hope they would). Why? You ask? If your game has any manner of replayability, then it goes without saying that you simply cannot contain enough sound data to keep the music ever changing, and the music will in the end become redundant and perhaps even a tad bit annoying to the player, so they'll turn it off and go listen to the newest hit single by Britney Spears.

My two cents, something to chew on,

Vopisk

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Quote:
Original post by Vopisk
There's been a lot of talk about sound and music lately... The question is why? I think a problem that has also been addressed numerous times lately is the fact that more and more gamers do not want to feel that they are being hand-held through the game (even if it is a linear storyline, they do like to have their options).

You are not a cinematographer. Period.

If you want to make movies, go apply at Pixar or some other CGI studio (ILM, et al, ad naseum). Rather than worrying about whether or not the musical soundtrack of a game is "catchy" or not, why not worry about brainstorming that ultra-cool new feature or idea that no one's tried or thought of before. Why not revolutionize gameplay itself, for the sake of the game, rather than just step up the graphics another notch and add pop 40 hits to your soundtrack?

How many of you, to this very day, can still hum the theme song to Super Mario Bros. or Tetris? How about Pong? Metroid? Asteroids? Some of these songs didn't even have soundtracks and yet, they are the most enduring symbols of video games the world will ever have. People are still making Tetris clones as their first video game programming projects. Why? Because the gameplay, the game is unlike anything that came before and only cheap, half-assed attempts at duplication have followed.

If you're going to make a game, then make a game, something that people will love to play because it has engaging gameplay that doesn't get old quickly, like so many of today's games. I was walking around the video game section today, noticing that there were few, if any, actually unique games there.

You've got N^1000 different FPS/3PS's where nothing has actually changed except the backdrop and the arsenal. You've got N^100000 RPG's that are only seperated by marginally different storylines and I won't even attempt to make a mathematical equation about how many different "SIM" or "Military" games there are, because it would hurt my head and probably fry my computer.

People have been ranting about it for a long time now, and I guess it's my turn, but the game industry really needs a breathe of fresh air. Of course, they'll never get it, seeing as the average member of the herd is quite happy to be culled by simply better graphics and 7.1 digital surround sound. If you took offense to that, well then, you probably deserved it.

This isn't meant as a flame against the OP, just a general rant that I have needed to get off my chest for a long time now. I'm hearing-impaired, nearly deaf actually, and so, sound doesn't really make too much difference to me, as I usually can't have it turned up too high without missing the phone ringing or something. Not to mention, even if you get a symphony conductor to arrange your music, there's a very high probability that your players will simply substitute their own MP3/WMA files for your soundtrack anyway (at least one would hope they would). Why? You ask? If your game has any manner of replayability, then it goes without saying that you simply cannot contain enough sound data to keep the music ever changing, and the music will in the end become redundant and perhaps even a tad bit annoying to the player, so they'll turn it off and go listen to the newest hit single by Britney Spears.

My two cents, something to chew on,

Vopisk


You bring forth some very valid point. I agree that music doesn't make the game all, it is still the refreshing gameplay that should be doing that and replayability. When designing a RPG, so many features have tried out before (perma-death anyone?!?). Brainstorming for a new features is needed process. Sometimes I get the feeling that all the really usuable features are all being used now.

In order to make your game stand-out it has to have something unique OR have more 'good' features then any other game with the same genre. Graphics are not the thing you can live on, because it might only impresse the player the first 3 days, but I still get the feeling the ambient background is so much more important the the actual graphics, because they set the mood and the when the graphics are of an level good enough to bring over the scenario, then you succeeded. It is very natural, when you are, for example, hearing-impaired, you got other priorities.

Anyway thanks all for the input.

Regards,

Xeile

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The importance of music varies depending on the game and the situation. In dramatic or cinematic situations without a lot of dialogue, often in cutscenes, I think it is crucial. In Homeworld, for example, I remember the cutscene when that alien ship appeared in the nebula; the mysterious music really set the mood and made it memorable. During gameplay, I don't really consciously notice the music, but I think I would notice its absence or if it was really horrible. Also, in at least one game where the music changes when you're being attacked I have actually used it as the first warning of an attack.

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