• Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  

Little/No In game Music

This topic is 2757 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

I was watching some films recently, and I began to wonder if there could possibly be reasonable ways to remove music from games, similar to the way in whilch some films (Saving Private Ryan for one) have no music, and if they do, it's usually part of the scene, e.g. a band playing in the background of a local pub.

Although I do understand why there is music in games, seeing as to on how playing a game in silence for hours on end, with nothing to do really would be rather boring, I also wondered why nobody had atleast attempted it, because the way I see it, if you could remove, at least for the most part, music from a game and replace it with something else, than it would certainly free up some budget, and could probably bring more respect to games in general. (Because chances are the music would be replaced with something akin to more immersive story, and the like)

I'll soon be making a game in about 12 weeks for my final Software Design Development HSC course, (We get, at least for the most part, although We'll probably do revision for the last two weeks, a year to design and develop a game/program) And I've begun to think of ways I can not only free up time, but also potentially costs, since I know nothing about composition, and most composers won't work for free.

So, Returning to the original point, Are there any ways that you think that music, or at least a fair amount of it, could be removed from a game?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
Quote:
Original post by elmepo
and most composers won't work for free.
Not to derail your intention with this thread, but very few people will 'work for free', composers or otherwise. However, if you are offering a position on your team with creative input, you might well find a composer who is willing to work *with* you - I have seen composers offering in the help wanted section, and the composition students I have approached locally have all been very amenable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am aware that very few people will work for free, I added it because of it's relevance, specifically in Larger Budget games.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by elmepo
I am aware that very few people will work for free, I added it because of it's relevance, specifically in Larger Budget games.


Noone says you must have music in your game (unless that is a requirement of your course). Just don't put any music in your game or find a site that provides some cheapish music. There are some composers around who sell the rights to their music (non-exclusively) very cheaply!

I didn't put any music in my xbox game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The use of silence from a lack of music can often heighten the experience and make the overall game better.

Case in point, Silent Hill. Most of the time you are running around with no music, only provided sounds for footsteps and some other SFX. Then once in awhile the level will peel away into this demonic setting and some background music will hit you, only to become much more terrifying than if you had gone from song_1.mp3 to scarysong_1.mp3.

In the case of Saving Private Ryan I would assume the lack of sound is provided to prove a point. In real war you don't go running over a hill and suddenly hear an orchestra, it's just a real loud scream of firing weapons and explosions. It is there to show the gritty, realistic aspect of war we usually glamorize in most movies.

If you are removing music, there should be a reason, not just to remove music for the novelty of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by elmepo
I was watching some films recently, and I began to wonder if there could possibly be reasonable ways to remove music from games, similar to the way in whilch some films (Saving Private Ryan for one) have no music, and if they do, it's usually part of the scene, e.g. a band playing in the background of a local pub.


Limbo, a new XBLA game on 360, uses little to no music apparently. I haven't tried it yet, only read reviews.

It looks to be an artistic game, and I think that's really the only way one could get away with no music. It has to be an artistic choice that makes sense to the game/game world.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I absolutely agree that games can excel without music. When I was really engrossed in playing Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, I eventually found myself disabling the music. Even though I liked the score, I was very annoyed that the transitions between "explore" and "battle" music made it very obvious when you were about to be attacked. It killed some of the suspense.

With the music off, I delighted in being caught unawares by enemies, or not being able to know whether I was being spotted while sneaking (I also disabled the HUD element for that). Unfortunately, I certainly noticed how sparse the ambient sound effects were. Fortunately, Oblivion has a vibrant modding community and I was able to add more sound effects to things.

With a rich enough library of sound effects, you can even recreate suspense or drama that may be "lost" without cheesy scores to heighten the player's emotions. If you don't have enough atmospheric sounds, however, your players will certainly notice the lack of music. As a simple experiment, go throughout your day being consciously aware of all the noises around you. I doubt you'll encounter much silence.

Also, first post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've played games with no music before. They had ambient sound effects, which worked much better in their case, like Doom 64. Those levels near the end of the game almost seemed to be alive.

Left 4 Dead has no music unless you turn on a juke box, or in the final to the second chapter when you play music on a concert stage to alert the overhead rescue helicopters of your presence, and it alerts the horde as well.

I believe a lot of the locations in RE4 don't have a music track playing. But that just might be bad memory? I only remember music in certain parts, possible boss battles, and the saving screen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Left 4 Dead had music pieces for each special infected, so you know they are around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Completely free music. He doesn't even require attribution. There are links to some other royalty-free music sites at the bottom of the page

That said, I've contemplated the feasibility of replacing music in games or movies with rich sound effects. But then, you have to have rich sound effects, which may come with its own costs, especially if you don't have access to a good SFX library. It should definitely be possible though, one way or another.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I always thought having some sort of base music and then detecting when something was going to happen play a fitting tidbit to essentially dynamically score the music to what you were doing would be cool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I can't help it. This thread just makes me hum the original overworld theme from Legend of Zelda.

Dum dum. Da-dumbedy-dum. Dahh-dum dum. Da-dumbedy-dum. Dahh-dum dum.

Anyway. Yes, you're obviously correct that subtracting music from the budget avails it for something else. But playtesting is still important. How do players react? Most Star Wars games don't seem to budget anything for music either. They just use John Williams' music from the movies... and I am nigh-unceasingly bored with them, in part because of that. (Yes, yes, "Here They Come" is a classic, now can we hear something fresh please?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by klefebz
Left 4 Dead had music pieces for each special infected, so you know they are around.
Yes, but those are very brief. The only long one is the Tank, and it only lasts for the duration of the battle. there is also a parade float in the New Orleans level. Other than that the game is music free.

But the SFX in the Left 4 Dead series are very important. You need to listen for sfx cues, and to the calls of your 3 team mates. Headset communication is also a requirement for progression and survival.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Free Sound Effects
http://www.freesound.org/index.php

Thousands of them. Pretty cool. (I'm not affiliated with them in any way.)

Hope that helps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by generaleskimo
Half Life 1 had music only in one or two sections in the entire game.


Actually, it had about 24 tracks across the game, but most were just dischordant drones that lasted for 10 seconds or less - usually played when you first enter a new area or something.

It's definitely possible to achieve a music-free game but you need to carefully manage everything else you've got to ensure the atmosphere is appropriate. If you've got an hour free you should watch an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer called The Body, which has no music, but used an immense amount of construction in other aspects of the show to build the atmosphere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by elmepo
Although I do understand why there is music in games, seeing as to on how playing a game in silence for hours on end, with nothing to do really would be rather boring, I also wondered why nobody had atleast attempted it, because the way I see it, if you could remove, at least for the most part, music from a game and replace it with something else, than it would certainly free up some budget, and could probably bring more respect to games in general. (Because chances are the music would be replaced with something akin to more immersive story, and the like)

I count at least three completely nonsensical steps in that sentence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
(first post on the forums)

First let me say that a composer isn't exactly necessary, and just because you can't find one (for free), doesn't mean a music-free game is the way to go.

Royalty-free music is one alternative you could use (for example http://incompetech.com/m/c/royalty-free/, where you can search for music by different 'feels' and genres).

In response to your actual question, it really depends on the game. It seems like all serious/realistic games can get away with no music (e.g. a military simulation, art/indie games), but all arcade/non-realistic games really do need music to create the experience (e.g. pretty much every other game).

It's a lot easier to explain in terms of movies.
'Saving Private Ryan'/a realistic military movie (I'm assuming) runs on realism, and whilst music could definitely make the movie more enjoyable to watch, it can bring you out of the realistic immersion, if you know what I mean.
'Avatar' on the other hand is a high-budget-Hollywood film which runs on eye candy and action sequences. Music is really a necessity here as a majority of the film is filled up with a musical/visual fusion, where they may be no dialogue at all. Without the music it would simply be empty.

My last example is the final level of Halo 3 (more specifically, the warthog run at the end). The music is what makes this scene, as it is the music, not the exploding level, that builds up to the epic jump and finale of the trilogy.

Sorry if I'm being a bit ambiguous. I'm basically saying that games and music go hand-in-hand, since 99% of games are 'arcade-ish'. But if you feel your game is that other 1%, then a game can work without music. There are of course other exceptions like 'Portal' (an arcade-ish game), which used little music at all until the credits (because the music may distract your thinking process perhaps).
If you think it works better without music, then take it out. Otherwise, music is a no-brainer necessity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A lot of games, especially multiplayer FPS, don't have music since you need to be able to hear enemies and what direction they are coming from. Personally I can't stand constant music in a game or movie. Half-Life did it right - very limited music only in certain areas. Even though the music in Halo 3 is amazing, I turned it off completely after 10 minutes because it gets too repetitive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Xavygravy
There are of course other exceptions like 'Portal' (an arcade-ish game), which used little music at all until the credits (because the music may distract your thinking process perhaps).

I think it's important to note that Portal had plenty of music... it was just quiet ambient music, which was delberitely made (I assume) to not distract. It had 40 minutes of music, with 12 songs (including 'Still Alive' - the credit song). And for a game that's only 10 hours long, that's quite a bit.


Welcome to the forums, by the way! [smile]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think it really depends on the game as well. One of my favourite games (Trespasser) had a ton of ambient sound and only music at particular points. If you watch a movie like "I Am Legend" they also use ambient noise rather than the classic violins/strings to make things scarier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement