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Adam Brennecke

Update #14: The Music of Project Eternity

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Decent music? Goody! Where?!*

 

It's a must!

 

*(For those who missed it, 'fraid nothing posted here does owt for me: too sparse and dull and well, crap).

 

Surprisingly, though the instrumentation is non-existant, or was anyway, the music in "Runescape" is actually very good in a lot of places.

 

 

 

Edit: meh, still no badge or email from Obs about my pledge. Will return anon.

Edited by Dangermouth

"People dislike the popular because it's crap"

 

"HTH. Because it means I can talk down to you some more."

 

"I can do you a quote a day, but you'll have to pay. Preferably with suicide."

 

"You want original? Why? It's not as though that's ever touched your life before."

 

"A woman scorned is a fun thing. Let's boogie."

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Ooh, just had a thought. The music you hear towards the end of FONV - the one that has them violins and that lovely marching rhythm - that was good. Melodic too.

 

"You probably know me as 'God'. It's a name I've used a bit." - God

 

(not literally) :bat:


"People dislike the popular because it's crap"

 

"HTH. Because it means I can talk down to you some more."

 

"I can do you a quote a day, but you'll have to pay. Preferably with suicide."

 

"You want original? Why? It's not as though that's ever touched your life before."

 

"A woman scorned is a fun thing. Let's boogie."

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the three songs are already on my phone and I`m listening them in repeat. What a great experience! Makes the long wait until the game comes out a little easier.


2 atoms walk into a bar, the one says " I believe i have lost an electron!" the other says " Are you sure?" the first atom says " I'm positive! "

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correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure Inon Zur did the ToB soundtrack, not Michael Hoenig.

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correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure Inon Zur did the ToB soundtrack, not Michael Hoenig.

 

Correct, he also did the soundtrack for icewind dale 2

Edited by Barrabus

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well most of it at least, I think Jeremy Soule did some of the tracks for IWD2.

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I wonder if anyone has seen this? I found it interesting and relevant to this topic. http://extra-credits...des/game-music/

 

Most of the stuff he says is true, but I think he's being a bit too conciliatory when he says that the melodic themes of today's games are as high a quality and varied as they were back in the day. In my experience, a disproportionate number of games today have opted for either throw away melodies or just enough ambience to get by. Those wouldn't necessarily be bad things if composers would focus on making them a bit more striking and unique. There is a reason a lot of videogames music appreciation concerts include much older music, and it's not just because of nostalgia. It's one of the reasons why I instantly recognize the Tristram theme from Diablo 1 (a game I haven't played in years) and yet cannot recall any specific themes from Diablo 3 which I've only played just 2 months ago. He even mentions Zimmer and Williams, people who have worked with orchestras for years and still produce instantly memorable scores which resonate in the public consciousness. Very few game scores seem to do so anymore.

 

One other thing I would really like a game to do, and Obsidian to do with project eternity, is also really focus on the Wagnerian idea of motif and development. Give us themes, but themes that are as intimate and multi-faceted as the characters we create and play with. Aptly so, I've been listening to Howard Shore's Lord of the Rings soundtracks like a fiend lately (moreso because the nearly decade long wait for the Hobbit movie(s) is finally nearly over). I and most others familiar with the music that I've talked to would say that Return of the King's score is by far the strongest of the three films, even though it introduces only one really major new theme (Gondor's). To be fair, it's partly by it's position of being the final movie where the most dramatic and poignant events come to pass. But it's also because it's an amalgam of the themes introduced in the first two films and, most importantly, it develops those themes far more than in the previous 2 films. Themes are mixed and intermingled and repeated again and melodic lines are flipped both linearly and harmonically, often in step with the developments on-screen. So much so that I can listen to the soundtrack out of sequence and still tell exactly where I am in the movie judging only by the musical themes at play.

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For comparison:

 

PT

youtube.com/watch?v=8usOiu8StWQ

 

IWD

youtube.com/watch?v=-bPZ9Nt_2oA

 

BG

youtube.com/watch?v=ZP7vWiaxw7Y

 

BG2

youtube.com/watch?v=ki9mkLh9u08

 

BGTob

youtube.com/watch?v=lB7T6Kd9cYg

 

They're all good pieces of music. The thing about a theme though, or any piece of music in a video game or movie, is what it's paired with means everything.

 

I'm not sure I'd be overly impressed with any of the above had I not played the games. Having played the games, they all resonate with me. Planescape Torment and BG moreso though due to the stories.

 

Music is incredibly important as everyone is saying, and I know Obsidion knows this.

 

I'd add though that I don't think the themes are the best pieces of music from these games, though the PST theme is close.

 

Music becomes something super special when it touches you. Occasionally there's a song in a game that becomes iconic with a certain part of the story, and amplifies the feelings that are invoked by a storyline. Two good examples (one from an Infinity game and one not):

 

Deionarra's Theme

http://youtu.be/g05awcTskKE

 

When I first played Planescape I remember being very moved by the scene where Deionarra's theme is introduced, and it was at that point of the game that I was hooked... though perhaps 'absorbed' is a better word. To this day, I want to know more about her. Her story is just a part of what is probably the best story in all of video gaming history. Never before or since have I voraciously read that much dialogue in a game.

 

 

Aeris's Theme (skip to 1:28)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qnyxd7Vq0Q&t=1m28s

 

 

When I first played FF VII.... Well..... most anyone who ever played that game and didn't know what happened at the end of Disk 1..... well, you know. That piece of music had been introduced in the game before the memorable scene, and yes, it was nice, but that memorable scene took the song to another level as much as that song took the scene to another level, and I'd say had a lot to do with what made that game legendary. To this day I wish I could somehow save Aeris, and oh how I tried in disk 2 and 3.

 

I think a goal of any writer and music composer involved in an epic game is to attempt to create something that will resonate as deeply as the above examples do with so many. There are other examples for sure (in movies), but these are the two that came to mind and both are from what many consider to be the best games of their genre.

 

All that said, my vote for best theme from the above choices would be Planescape's.

 

I loved Baldur's Gate. Baldur's Gate 2 is still the best sequel to any game ever for many reasons, not the least of which is you started out as a lowly level one errand boy in game 1 and you got to stick with the same party (for the most part) all the way through to the end. But Planescape Torment has a story above and beyond even that of Baldur's Gate.... and it's the story and the memory of the story that really makes a piece of music. The best and most memorable pieces of music have a story, and that's true of music that preceded modern visual media.

 

I really like the music that Obsidion has so far released. What will determine if it's uber awesome ultimately? Well... a lot depends on the composer yes, but a lot also depends on the writers and designers. I don't think it's the best idea to try and sway them one way or the other the way some of the people in this thread have. Let them do their thing. I have some faith in them. :)

 

What can change the nature of a man?

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I can't stress out enough how music is FUNDAMENTAL for a game like this:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xl2W8PaVJzQ

 

Michael Hoenig's work was fantastic! It was one of the best things in BG2, and it really helped to carry the game's godawful story. Hoenig made hands down some of the best video game music of all time.

 

On the other hand, after re-listening to a lot of the music from the CRPG composers, I'm pessimistic about Mark Morgan making the music to P:E. Almost everything I've heard from him is mostly ambience and fluff, including the newer P:E stuff. My general criticisms of Mark Morgans work: weak melodies, melodic fragments that go nowhere, too many missing notes, meaningless or oversimplistic texture, and no sense of scale. It's like he's composing for people stricken with ADD. Nothing holds together.

 

Morgan's best work that I've heard is the title theme to Planescape: Torment and maybe one other theme from that game. I guess his muzak will work OK for background noise. I'm just really disappointed after listening to some of Hoenig's work again.

Edited by Game_Exile

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Eh, different strokes for different folks, I don't consider BGII's music particularly memorable or interesting.

 

EDIT: Also where do you get the impression Mark Morgan is working on Project Eternity? He isn't.

Edited by WorstUsernameEver

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It was probably unfair (to Mark Morgan) to praise Baldur's Gate's music so much, because there were a few really nice tracks from Torment as well. Nonetheless, superior style is evident in Hoenig's work, even if the execution isn't on the level of, say, good film composers. And if Mark Morgan didn't make the three P:E tracks in this thread, then my opinion of his music automatically rises by approximately three compositions.

 

But who IS making the music for this game? Is this the guy? They couldn't find anyone with more experience than Justin Bell? Mark Morgan would be a better choice. Is it too late to hire him?

Edited by Game_Exile

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But who IS making the music for this game? Is this the guy? They couldn't find anyone with more experience than Justin Bell? Mark Morgan would be a better choice. Is it too late to hire him?

 

Wrong Justin Bell :) Though he's got a great name, I gotta hand it to him. In all seriousness, I think this conversation is great and I couldn't agree more with the general consensus. Music is a critical component of the narrative. Connecting the player to that narrative, whether it be through art or music or whatever it may be, is a big concern for us.

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At this point, I certainly hope that Obsidian lets Bell keep his place as composer. There has to be room for fresh faces and new ideas. Just because folks enjoy the work of one composer doesn't mean that all other composers must suck. I think Obsidz should give Bell a chance to make his name on this project, not because I'm a fan. Hell, I haven't heard enough of his work to be a fan at this point, but because I think he has the desire to create something special and they wouldn't have hired him on in the first place if someone there didn't have confidence. If they don't have that confidence, they should replace him, of course, but this is a new game and chance for a new legacy. As long as they have faith in his abilities, they should let their instincts be the guide.

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Remembering tarna, Phosphor, Metadigital, and Visceris.  Drink mead heartily in the halls of Valhalla, my friends!

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I've said this before, but one of my favorite game scores of all time is from Morrowind.

 

Oh man. I can't tell you how excited I am to hear you say this! Morrowind is not only my favorite soundtrack, but likely some of my favorite music period. I like a lot of varied genres and musicians, groups, bands etc. But explore tracks from The Elder Scrolls III get dozens of hours of listening, WEEKLY. That's more than I listen to Radiohead, which is definitely saying something. I get what you say when you find depth in the good music Justin. It's the levels, the meanings and intentions and emotions that don't try to capture you, they try to intrigue and enrapture, and invite you to explore them, and learn them, and make them your own. The tracks from Morrowind shift and meld and bend in and out. It's like jazz almost: beautiful and unexpected. It's not the structure and line of the music that is so beautiful, but it's the freedom to chase around that line, and reveal it, and conceal it, and make it go in an out and back around, and then doing it again with something else you've never heard before. If you manage to find this in your work here, I have no doubt that you will create a successful soundtrack, and maybe perhaps a little more than just a soundtrack. Thank you for sharing Justin! I'm glad to hear you're willing to push the limits with this one.

 

And a note for any other lovers of game music. I highly recommend the podcast Top Score with Emily Reese. Minnesota Public Radio is where it's at! (Hint: Interviews with composers from Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed, Journey, Bastion, Dragon Age, Halo, Heavy Rain, From Dust, etc. Also, Bear McCreary, because BSG is also awesome.)

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Connecting the player to that narrative, whether it be through art or music or whatever it may be, is a big concern for us.

 

Art and music - two things, extensibly inextricable. Though I have to add that the strength of the music has more to do with commitment to world design than player narrative. IE, Soule in Morrowind, Uelman in Diablo, Korb in Bastion, Land in The Dig, Miller in MYST; see also Yoko Kano in Cowboy Bebop, Ballamy in Mirrormask, Mansell in The Fountain. Just a short list of worthy favorites. These tracks shape the world, not the characters, and this is why you go back.

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