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jwezorek

Basic questions about game audio

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I'm working on an abstract puzzle game written in C++ to Windows using DirectX9 and have gotten to the point at which I need to start thinking about music and sound. What I want to do is set up the basic sound architecture of the game so that it is playing looped music and has sound effects but just do it with "programmer music" and then find someone to do the real music and sound once audio has been incorporated into the codebase.

I have no talent for music and no knowledge of music theory so I don't really follow this domain of software development and therefore have some questions:

(1) Does anyone use MIDI anymore? I mean directly, in game. If so, with which library? because DirectMusic is deprecated. Personally I have a fondness for MIDI: small file sizes and I just think it's neat, like the audio equivalent of vector graphics. This game I'm working on is really abstract so I'm thinking of going with a piano-based soundtrack that is similarly abstract/austere. I think even the sound effects will be just piano chords. I was thinking with good instrument definitions or whatever they're called this could sound fine with pure MIDI? or not?

(2) Assuming I don't use MIDI what libraries do people use for playing regular binary audio formats e.g. mp3's? Is DirectSound deprecated? I see people mention something called FMOD, should I use that?

(3) (I have to ask this although I pretty much know the answer is no.) Are there any C++ libraries for generating procedural music? If I had my choice I'd like to generate avant garde sounding piano from the state of the game -- just fits with the style/theme of this game -- but it doesn't seem like any libraries exist and I'm not looking for a research project.

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1) Can't really comment on MIDI. I haven't see it used much these days.

2) There are tons of options, both free and paid. FMOD, OpenAL, Miles. DirectSound is deprecated, but can be (and still is) used. You can use also use XAudio2 or XACT, documentation for which is in the DirectX SDK.

Using WAV for sound fx and MP3 or Ogg-Vorbis for streaming music is a good place to start.

3) Can't help you there.

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Quote:
Original post by jwezorek
(3) (I have to ask this although I pretty much know the answer is no.) Are there any C++ libraries for generating procedural music? If I had my choice I'd like to generate avant garde sounding piano from the state of the game -- just fits with the style/theme of this game -- but it doesn't seem like any libraries exist and I'm not looking for a research project.


But it is a research project! Even worse, an art project!

From the technological side, whatever library you would use to play fixed music can mix any number of fragments of audio that your procedural system selects from a repertoire of samples or synthesizes on the fly.

You might consider embedding CSound in your application (to feed events to running instruments), or relying on existing sound synthesis libraries like STK; premade samples of musical phrases would of course be easier to use.

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Original post by LorenzoGatti
But it is a research project! Even worse, an art project!

Yeah, I know ... unfortunately it's an art project in a domain in which I have no natural ability. Music is not my thing.
Quote:

From the technological side, whatever library you would use to play fixed music can mix any number of fragments of audio that your procedural system selects from a repertoire of samples or synthesizes on the fly.

You might consider embedding CSound in your application (to feed events to running instruments), or relying on existing sound synthesis libraries like STK; premade samples of musical phrases would of course be easier to use.

Thanks these are good suggestions. I think I need to get someone to compose a set of "musical tiles" that can be queued based on the state of the game.

The lower level route would be more interesting technologically but probably beyond my lack of basic music theory knowledge would put it beyond my abilities personally.

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