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Music, one of the most important issues?


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Guest Papylon

I don´t know how it is for most of you, but when I think of the old infinity games the strongest memory I have is of music and ambience. In a way, it was the fabric that held everything together. The music of Michael Hoenig (BG I&II), Jeremy Soule (IW I), Inon Zur (IW2) and the ambient sounds that permeated the games.

 

One of my hopes for the Project Eternity is that the developers don´t forget music and ambient sound. One problem with newer RPG games (and games in general) is that they have had a lot of nice graphics to work with and have thus forgot that immersion is something subtle, not grand or something that can be glossed over with epic setting and epic countrysides. Think of Oblivion and Skyrim. Yes they are epic and feel well worked through. But when you walk into a tavern you meet some awkward looking people just standing there. Zoom back to when you first visited Beregost in BG I and went into a tavern. Still people just standing around but it felt more like a real tavern with sound giving the appearance of life, people chattering, distant sounds and tavern music.

 

My point is that the infinity engine in a way was a restriction. A restriction on what the developers could show. So they compensated with excellent stories and sounds that played more on the imagination of the player. Music played a greater role in those games. Ambient sounds are important because they add a feeling that does not need to be shown. And music adds texture in a way that interacts more with a players imagination than flashy 3d graphics.

 

Have given my support to the Kickstarter project. In my view the whole project feels like reviving Charled Dickens and having him write another David Copperfield or Oliver Twist. I am really hoping the developers dont forget one of the more subtle but still central things that made the infinity games really tick.

Edited by Papylon
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I asked in the live chat for ya, if they post another one of my comments i'll let ya know how they responded.

Obsidian ‏@Obsidian Current PayPal status: $140,000. 2,200 backers

 

"Hmm so last Paypal information was 140,000 putting us at 4,126,929. We did well over and beyond 4 million, and still have an old backer number from Paypal. 76,186 backers. It's very possible that we have over 75,000 backers if I had new Paypal information. Which means we may have 15 Mega dungeon levels, and we already are going to have an amazing game + cats (I swear I will go stir crazy if Adam doesn't own up to the cats thing :p)."

 

Switching to Paypal means that more of your money will go towards Project Eternity. (The more you know.)

Paypal charges .30 cents per transaction and 2.2% for anything over 100,000 per month for U.S currency. Other currency is different, ranging from anywhere between 2.2-4.9%.

Kick Starter is a fixed 5% charge at the end.

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Guest Papylon

I asked in the live chat for ya, if they post another one of my comments i'll let ya know how they responded.

 

Oh, excellent. Thanks. Would have thought either this has come up or should come up in the discussions.

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The best game music i remember is. Spellforce, Witcher, Vampire Masquarade Bloodlines, NWN1, Dragon Age, Mass Efect. Heroes 3, Gothic 2 Night of the Raven, Skyrim,

 

Sorry i like BG, Arcanum but i must say that music was theirs most dawnfall. Acanum misic was so afful that i played it with Silencend soud.

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Guest Papylon

The best game music i remember is. Spellforce, Witcher, Vampire Masquarade Bloodlines, NWN1, Dragon Age, Mass Efect. Heroes 3, Gothic 2 Night of the Raven, Skyrim,

 

Sorry i like BG, Arcanum but i must say that music was theirs most dawnfall. Acanum misic was so afful that i played it with Silencend soud.

 

I cannot really remember the music of Arcanum, but checking it out now it really was terrible. What did you not like about the BG I music? A couple of pieces come to mind:

 

(this one is really good as the sounds of people talking or playing or whatnot blends in well)

 

Although im not really only talking about the music but the ambient sounds that give different sourroundings life.

 

These two articles describe it well:

 

http://kotaku.com/5899519/some-video-games-are-better-without-music

http://www.gamermelodico.com/2010/05/red-dead-redemptions-excellent-sound.html

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There was a thread a while back on which Justin Bell described his view on computer game scores here are some quotes:

 

[...] Arcanum direction for a few tracks at least - I really like the music from NWN2 posted above, but things like

 

String quartet is amazing, and it's not something a lot of composers are asked to do nowadays. But yeah, I'm a huge fan of that intimate chamber music sound. You know, anything is really possible as long as:

 

a. It fits the over all musical style of the game

b. It suites the specific narrative moment of the game

c. Doesn't sound jarringly out of place.

 

I think for the right moment in the game, it can work great. Above all, the narrative drive's the music first and foremost. As long as music obey's the narrative, you can use pretty much any musical style. The trick is to keep things interesting, and this is one of those things that could shake things up a bit in a good way at the right moment.

 

They went all for the epic, grandiose fantasy stuff in BG2 and forgot all about the atmospheric music... though that might be because there wasn't much wilderness in the game anyways (or tiny/peasant towns anyways), everything had to be big.

 

Good observation here! I'm a big believer of having music ebb and flow, and more importantly, that it be interesting and emotionally engaging to listen to.

 

When music is all big all the time, you tend to get tired of listening to it after extended periods. That's what we in audio call "listener fatigue", and I'm pretty sensitive to that. The problem with listener fatigue is that when you reach the climax of musical intensity and you keep it there for stustained periods of time, where can you go next if the narrative calls for things to get kicked up another notch?

 

You have to leave yourself a "vertical buffer" to ensure those moments have meaning and impact. So, to answer your question, there should definitely be moments of moody ambience when its appropriate, just as there should be big grandoise moments when it's called for. But ultimately, everything depends on the narrative...

 

and

 

Justin, I like to read this and I would like to know how much you apply this to battle music. Because in 99% of the games, it's this dissonant, screaming, ear tearing pile of bombastic crashy sound, I can't stand that for more than 30s and I often have to turn off the sound or simply delete the battle tracks if I'm able to.

 

Surely battle music doesn't have to be that way, no? It's probably important to have more rhythm than in the rest of the soundtrack and certainly to be in a minor scale to have the feeling of tension, but a screaming mess of sound on and on?

 

Good question. The best analogy I can think of would be to liken music to painting. Painters use colors (or lack of color) to evoke specific feelings or emotions. To give a very basic example, red might be an intense sort of emotion, whereas blue might be a deeper, more introverted one. Each of these colors is part of the painter's expressive toolset. Now lets say, for example, that you go to an art gallery showing where all the paintings are red. After a while it might be difficult to tell one painting apart from another. The risk is that the viewer might become disinterested. Whereas if a painter contrasts two or more colors in the same gallery or painting, the viewer will more likely be engaged by what they are seeing because there's more to think about. The same concepts apply to music. CRPGS tend to be long, and as with any longform of art, variety and contrast are essential to hold the gamer's interest and keep them engaged.

 

Here's another analogy, one from a slightly different angle. Tom Waits gave an interview on NPR a few years back where he talked about his film scoring career. The interviewer asked about how he approaches choosing the right music for any given scene. His response was pretty interesting, and has been pretty influential to my creative process. He gave the example of a scene where children are playing happily in a playground. So, the obvious choice would be to choose music that is happy and child-like, right? Well, instead of going the obvious route, he chose to score the scene with music that was melancholy and nostalgic. When asked why, Tom Waits likened a scene and its music to a conversation between two people. When two people are in complete agreement during a conversation, its almost as if one of them isn't necessary. But when there are two perspectives that differ in some significant way, then you have something interesting and engaging. So by introducing music into the scene that's as seemingly unexpected as sad music over children happily playing, you inject a bit of thought provoking emotional complexity that compels the viewer to be intellectually engaged with what they are witnessing.

 

Here is a great example of this. Remember that first Dead Island trailer that came out a while back that everyone was talking about? Just to recap, the teaser showed a family (mom, dad, and young daughter) struggling against a horde of vicious zombies. The teaser ends in tragedy with the daughter becoming infected and ultimately dying at her fathers hands. The visuals present the viewer with two distinct stories: a predominant one that is action packed, horrifying, and intense, and one that is of tragedy, loss, and is more of a subtext. The the most obvious choice for music would be to compliment the action packed visuals and score it with driving and bombastic action music heard in just about every AAA game an blockbuster summer movie.

 

The Dead Island team did something rather brilliant instead. They deliberately chose music that supports the less dominant narrative thread of tragedy and loss, making what would normally seem frightening into something that was deeply poignant. It was a risky move by more commercial standards, but was responded to by nearly universal acclaim. Like the trailer or not, it resonated with people, got them talking and kept them engaged. That same technique of supporting the less obvious narrative subtext with complimetnary music is how you get around using bombastic music for every scene in a game.

 

For reference here is that video:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZqrG1bdGtg

 

Imagine how generic and bland that trailer would be with your typical action packed horror score? But don't just take my word for it, go ahead and see for yourself! Find any driving action score, mute the sound on the Dead Island trailer, and see how it feels to you. My bet is that it won't be as good. So, to sum up, the reason why it isn't generic and bland is because the visuals and the music tell two sides of the same story. A cognitive dissonance occurs there, and it forces the viewer to think more deeply and actively to decode the emotional messages they are receiving. That's how you engage an audience...

 

Here is the URL to the thread: http://forums.obsidi...se-or-external/

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Related:

Live recorded music (poll) with linked discussion on orchestration (poll), Justin Bell pops into both threads.

The KS Collector's Edition does not include the Collector's Book.

Which game hook brought you to Project Eternity and interests you the most?

PE will not have co-op/multiplayer, console, or tablet support (sources): [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Write your own romance mods because there won't be any in PE.

"But what is an evil? Is it like water or like a hedgehog or night or lumpy?" -(Digger)

"Most o' you wanderers are but a quarter moon away from lunacy at the best o' times." -Alvanhendar (Baldur's Gate 1)

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Papylon

 

 

I don't said that BG music was awfull i can't simply remember it. Arcanum music was awfull. I forgot to mention FF7 music and FF8 music the best music there is :D

 

In FF7 even FACTORY music was fantastic.

Edited by ArchBeast
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Guest Papylon

Thank you Ape_Style for the quotes. Interesting read. I was thinking of one thing he said:

 

When music is all big all the time, you tend to get tired of listening to it after extended periods. That's what we in audio call "listener fatigue", and I'm pretty sensitive to that. The problem with listener fatigue is that when you reach the climax of musical intensity and you keep it there for stustained periods of time, where can you go next if the narrative calls for things to get kicked up another notch?

 

One the risks is listener fatigue, although there is a balance there, places need to have their feeling, or a mood you feel connected to a certain place. If music only blends into the sourroundings and does not leave a marke is ceases to be soundtrack and only is ambience made out of music. Both Beregost and Friendly Arms in had music that with repeated stays would become tiresome biut still added to the certain feeling of those places.

 

I guess this only shows how hard it is to balance the sounds of different locations and how easily one either underplays the role of music or overstates it. I would guess the latter is the most common in games nowadays.

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Thanks for posting this Papylon. I designed and implemented the majority of all ambient sound effects for Fallout New Vegas. Ambience is a big deal for us in the Obsidian audio department, and we agree that they are critical to an engrossing RPG experience. I feel confident in saying that I think you will be disapointed!

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Guest Papylon

 

Thanks for posting this Papylon. I designed and implemented the majority of all ambient sound effects for Fallout New Vegas. Ambience is a big deal for us in the Obsidian audio department, and we agree that they are critical to an engrossing RPG experience. I feel confident in saying that I think you will be disapointed!

 

Nice to hear that this is not some forgotten subject! Good luck on the work and I hope you get the opportunity to share work in progress stuff on the forums.

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Thanks for posting this Papylon. I designed and implemented the majority of all ambient sound effects for Fallout New Vegas. Ambience is a big deal for us in the Obsidian audio department, and we agree that they are critical to an engrossing RPG experience. I feel confident in saying that I think you will be disapointed!

 

Will--you mean WON'T. :biggrin:

The KS Collector's Edition does not include the Collector's Book.

Which game hook brought you to Project Eternity and interests you the most?

PE will not have co-op/multiplayer, console, or tablet support (sources): [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Write your own romance mods because there won't be any in PE.

"But what is an evil? Is it like water or like a hedgehog or night or lumpy?" -(Digger)

"Most o' you wanderers are but a quarter moon away from lunacy at the best o' times." -Alvanhendar (Baldur's Gate 1)

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Guest Papylon

FF7 music reactor ... ahhh ... i wish they make a remake of this wonderfull game.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_H9dd8JwTc

 

Thats an interesting way of doing it, a bit more crossover. Could work in a steampunky environment.

 

One composer I think would make for an interesting game game music maker is the Icelandic composer Johann Johannsson, some of his better stuff is on Spotify :

Johann Johannsson – Glíma and some can be found on youtube:

 

http://youtu.be/NCyGrcPqB2M

 

...long sweeping tracks that don´t really overdo it at any time.

 

I still havent mentioned Mark Morgans stuff from Planescape Torment but that is obviously up there with the best in rpg games.

Edited by Papylon
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Zoom back to when you first visited Beregost in BG I and went into a tavern.

 

Creepy - that is the exact moment in my life that I flash back to whenever I think about ambience and atmosphere in gaming. Well that and the previous five minutes of seeing Beregost for the first time, at night.

 

Up until that point I hadn't really been enjoying Baldur's Gate; the mechanics were complicated and full of traps for the unwary, and I spent the first couple of attempts at the game getting one-shotted by assassins in Candlekeep (my 4 HP and one magic missile per day not a match for a sword that does 1d6), but the incredible atmosphere of the arrival in Beregost was what suddenly made me love the game. I think that's the most significant gaming experience I've ever had, due in large part to truly excellent sound design.

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By the way what are you thinking about a metal/rock song when you fight a boss ? I found a somethig ... that when i fight dragons in skyrim i feel so epic hahaha

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDE2VQzghp4

 

another

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyCFuP3rM2w

 

image THIS music then fighting dragon waaaaaaah!!!!!

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Cristophe Heral is a fantastic composer that did the music for Beyond Good and Evil (among others), Jeremy Soule did the music for Guild Wars, if you like true ambient music then get Robyn Miller, who did music for his own game (Myst and Riven)

And well the music from Bastion won awards for a good reason.

 

truly there are many great artists.

Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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Obviously.

 

Then again, I am not that worried. Games generally have better soundtracks than movies. And they're publishing CD's instead :/

And RPG's really are high on the list of good sound and ambience. If they can give that feel to PE that would be great...

 

I definitely rate it FAR higher than graphics.

Edited by Hassat Hunter

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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Guest Papylon

Zoom back to when you first visited Beregost in BG I and went into a tavern.

 

Creepy - that is the exact moment in my life that I flash back to whenever I think about ambience and atmosphere in gaming. Well that and the previous five minutes of seeing Beregost for the first time, at night.

 

Up until that point I hadn't really been enjoying Baldur's Gate; the mechanics were complicated and full of traps for the unwary, and I spent the first couple of attempts at the game getting one-shotted by assassins in Candlekeep (my 4 HP and one magic missile per day not a match for a sword that does 1d6), but the incredible atmosphere of the arrival in Beregost was what suddenly made me love the game. I think that's the most significant gaming experience I've ever had, due in large part to truly excellent sound design.

 

I guess it´s perhaps not that uncommon then! :yes: I both remember Beregost at night, a moment when you had finally started venturing out in the wilderness and then this save haven. It had this feeling of both coming danger as well as temporary calm. And then the taverns felt really warm, almost literally!

 

http://youtu.be/K0TGJuJI0NY

 

http://youtu.be/15cZNG9r3RU

 

Both tracks are really quite subtle, they are not overdoing anything or feeling to grand. This rather humble sound I think added to the feeling that you were in a real adventure, not the conqueror of the world (yet, anyway). Much game music is so massive and epic you get tired of being in an almighty epic quite fast.

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Obviously.

 

Then again, I am not that worried. Games generally have better soundtracks than movies. And they're publishing CD's instead :/

And RPG's really are high on the list of good sound and ambience. If they can give that feel to PE that would be great...

 

I definitely rate it FAR higher than graphics.

 

I don't knhow berwulf had good music and wasn't the best movie :)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQdxPxJW68M music

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUv-cF_Oscw < best par of the movie :D

Edited by ArchBeast
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Guest Papylon

By the way what are you thinking about a metal/rock song when you fight a boss ? I found a somethig ... that when i fight dragons in skyrim i feel so epic hahaha

 

image THIS music then fighting dragon waaaaaaah!!!!!

 

:yes: , I get your point. As long as the music is contrasted with calm moments even in the heat of the battle. A west coast metal band called Agalloch does excellent stuff that could easily fit into a fantasy setting of some sort:

 

 

Another british group, In the nursery had actually done music for a PnP rpg back in the day and they have some great tracks that could easily fit into battle scenes, and they are not that heavy in high pitched strings but more focused on drums:

 

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