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Gerbergler

Games with the most complex music and sound design?

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New to the forum, joined just to asked this question:

 

What are some examples of games out there that creatively and technically test what can be done? 

 

Any answer appreciated!  I'm curious about game sound/music that is multilayered and interactive, where it can feel like the music plays very differently each time.  Especially in cases where sound/music really support the gameplay, rather than a game that is about, e.g., making cool music and sounds.

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New to the forum, joined just to asked this question:

 

Welcome!

 

What are some examples of games out there that creatively and technically test what can be done? 

 

Any answer appreciated!  I'm curious about game sound/music that is multilayered and interactive, where it can feel like the music plays very differently each time.  Especially in cases where sound/music really support the gameplay, rather than a game that is about, e.g., making cool music and sounds.

 

Most modern games fit some of this description. It's hard to say which one has "the most complex music and sound design." 

An example would be Mass Effect as they had to implement music that could follow many different branches depending on what the player's choices were. If you look at most console and PC titles, the audio is most likely interactive and complex. Mobile and handheld tend to be a bit more simplistic but there's always exceptions. Other games have done tempo changes based on gameplay (think Mario Galaxy) and others have toggled individual parts of songs (i.e. stems) depending on gameplay. A great example of that is the SSX Tricky where the drums and such would mute or come way down in volume while the player was soaring through the air and then come back in when the player made contact with the ground again. A pretty cool effect. 

 

The other aspect you mentioned sounds more like generative music where the music is truly different each time it's played. There are cons to this method. In my opinion it can often leave no melody so all of the music starts to sound exactly the same (or even bland) since there's no real anchor for the player's ears to cling onto. I heard one game, which actually was never published, that did a good job of this but it wasn't the sole music approach. For parts like the title them or key moments in the narrative, they used a more traditional approach. 

Edited by nsmadsen
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Deus Ex: Human Revolution is, in my opinion, a brilliant example of adaptive sound that actually works and enhances the gameplay. Most stealth-based games are incredibly complex when it comes to implementation, due to the fact that the music is supposed to follow and represent the different "states of alert" of the enemies, and transition efficiently between them.

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The music in Braid was pretty cool.  Apart from being a lovely soundtrack, the music responded to the time-based game play mechanics -- if you rewound time the music played backwards, if you slowed time the music slowed, etc.

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• Dig-dug for the NES has an interesting use of music: the music only plays if you keep moving. It's kinda funny in fact, in a way it feels like Mickey-mouseing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4__INKIfxBw

 

 

• There's an old DOS game called "Invasion of the Mutant Space Bats of Doom".

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The music and sound are nothing out of the ordinary (common OPL music, PCM sound), but this game has an interesting "feature" for the bonus levels.

On the bonus levels a specific music will play, a sort of slow accompaniment, without melody. You can notice the harmony is based on something simple like a pentatonic scale.

Anyway, you have to shoot several floating targets. Each target you hit will emit a random tone sound of that scale. What you get in the end, as you are shooting the several targets, is hearing a random melody that fits very well with the background accompaniment.

 

• Super Mario 64 has 8 red coins per level. When each coin is picked up a certain pitched sound is played. No matter in what order you collect these 8 coins, the sounds played by them form a major scale.

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I don't know whether complexity should really factor in.  There's a couple of games that come to mind as having excellent sound design; the Dead Space series sounds incredible, and Castle Crashers deserves a mention for it's eclectic soundtrack.  For me, when games like these make such an impression, the technical aspects go out the window.

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Thanks for the replies.

 

Olliepm, I think your reply would make sense if people where equating "complex" with "good," which they aren't.  This thread highlights games that have pushed technology forward, or been ambitiously clever in some way.

 

Kryzon, although i was looking for more recent examples, i have to say, your reply is stellar.  I think whoever hid these musical gems in these classic games deserve some recognition.  Really cool, and thanks.

 

nsmadsen, thanks.  you sound smart.  I hear you re: generative melodies.  I've been trying to do that, and it's a bog.  In M.E., you have layers of intercombinant beds of music, sticking to elements that loop and combine easily (in spite of the overall complexity of the branched/interactive game design/A.I..  Have you ever heard something where you were musically surprised at how well it all worked together?  Something that made you think, wow, I didn't think that could be done.  A simple version is the music in Monkey Island, where cartoon comedy stabs (trombone, etc.) play over a looping bed.  Any other game do that?

 

oceannoiseworks - i will have to check that game out.  amazing that i never played it.

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Olliepm, I think your reply would make sense if people where equating "complex" with "good," which they aren't.  This thread highlights games that have pushed technology forward, or been ambitiously clever in some way.

 

My mistake, but I thought you were inferring that "good" would be a result of "complex".

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