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Update #76: Music in Pillars of Eternity

Audio Music Pillars of Eternity Justin Bell Dyrford Village Dyrford

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#21
Labadal

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I agree there's a splash of Arcanum in there combined with a fair amount of TES inspiration. It was a good pece but mayebe not the most memorable one. One other hand not every track can be. I hope to not hear many bombastic tracks in Eternity. This is a step in the direction I like.

Btw, will there be vocal tracks? Not just choirs, I'm thinking of hymns and such. Would be awesome in a mastic or spooky place.

Keep up the good work.
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#22
Infinitron

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a fair amount of TES inspiration

 

I think what you're hearing there is "Jeremy Soule inspiration". He did Icewind Dale too.


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#23
samm

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Good article and interestingly varied piece, thank you for sharing :) The music sounds not very theme-y to me, and will be good for setting a mood while running in the background. However... is it youtube or does the sound library, even if it uses up 32GB, reproduce string is this distracting quality? If that is how it will sound in game, I'll have to turn down the volume to match it to the ambient sound, otherwise the strings will catch my ears as sounding "wrong" :/

 

[edit] Why did I write this big oO *changes font options*


Edited by samm, 15 April 2014 - 03:12 PM.


#24
Labadal

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There's some of that, too.

#25
Ffordesoon

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<3

Really beautiful piece, Justin. The Basil Poledouris influence is pretty noticeable, but that's no bad thing. I'm detecting a bit of Dark Souls' Firelink Shrine in there as well, which is always nice.

I often either don't like or am indifferent to music in fantasy films and videogames, especially Western ones, because it often feels soulless and - literally - generic. There is nothing genuine in it.

This piece is not soulless or generic, and it is genuine. It is also evocative to the point that it could almost be considered a mild spoiler (which is a compliment). It sounds to me like a regretful homecoming of some sort, or a lament for past glories. Dyrford is not what it once was, is it? That's the vibe I'm getting.
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#26
Justin Bell

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I almost always turn music off in RPG game mainly because I don't like the way music always changes so abruptly in response to events like combat or area change - I just always find it more irritating than atmospheric. My enjoyment is typically greater without music. Now - ambient sound is a different thing altogether - that always enhances if done well. 

 

That saying a good theme such as the one illustrated here does help atmosphere but I wonder if it would be possible to have a setting that turns off looping so a player can hear such tunes upon entry to an area to create the mood but then have them fade out after a single play and rely on ambient noises to maintain that mood?

 

First, thanks everyone for contributing to this discussion!  Its great to hear your feedback.

 

Regarding loops, as Zeckul rightly pointed out, the IE games had silence in between loops.  I could have phrased what I said in the update better.  To clarify, we will implement the music in a similar way as the IE games so that the loops don't happen in rapid succession.  So I suppose the answer to your question is both yes and no.  Yes there will be some areas where you'll hear only ambient sounds (like birds) for a span of time, followed by ambient sounds and music etc.  And there will also be places where there will be wall to wall music.

 

In most cases it will boil down to how much time the player spends in a given area.  In areas like quest hubs, where you may spend a lot of time talking to quest givers, the music will have space in between each loop to de-emphasize any kind of temporal awareness imparted by looping music.  For smaller areas that don't take a lot of time to clear, such as a small dungeon, looping is more of a viable option.

 

But ultimately it come downs to feel.  If the music starts to feel overpowering and too repetitious in one area, we'll either modify the music if there's time to do so, or we'll tune the looping pattern to address the issue somehow.  Nothing is worse (to me at least) than overpowering game music that saturates the senses.   Of course there's always a time an place for that, but in a game like this, it would be a deliberate choice rather than the default position if that makes any sense.


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#27
Quadrone

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While I greatly enjoy the music sample and don't want to demean Justin's writeup I can't help but wish we'd get such a long and indepth written update about something

more exciting,.. something more game related.

 

These types of updates feel a bit like getting socks for Christmas: Practical but boring.



#28
Lephys

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First of all... Heartbleed sounds like a damage-over-time malware.
 

Hello awesome backers.


T_T... Why did you greet only the awesome backers? *sniffle*...

8), okay, okay, jesting: complete.


I really appreciate the breakdown of your process, Justin! I mean, I'm very, very far from an expert (very) or anything, but I at least understood your process in terms of approach and whatnot. It's pretty cool to read about, ^_^.

Unfortunately, I can't listen to the track at the moment, but I will definitely do so ASAP, and will be sure to come back and complain provide feedback on it, :).
 
You thought the jesting was actually complete? MUAHAHAHA!
 
Lastly, your mention of "listener fatigue" makes me think of FTL. I can't speak for everyone, but to me the music in that game seems to have staved off listener fatigue a great deal (I really had to stop and think about it when someone brought up that the music "never" really gets annoying, which just goes to show how unannoying I find it). That's also really, really important for that game, though, because of its Roguelike nature (not only are you subject to some of the same music for durations of a single playthrough, but the game is designed specifically to be played through a lot of times.)

Anywho, I know you're probably really far along with stuff at this point, so it's not going to help with any foundation or anything. But, if you're ever having a problem with listener fatigue with a given track, you might want to listen to some FTL music for inspiration? *shrug*. It could be helpful. Or maybe not. Who knows... I'm just a Punsmith. I'm off to ham things... with my hammer.


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#29
Nonek

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Bravo sir, I enjoyed that immensely and was somewhat reminded of the pastoral pieces of Vaughan Williams and perhaps a little New World Symphony. However I must admit that I was a touch disappointed when reading the Polish part of the document that Chopin was not mentioned, haha.


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#30
Ffordesoon

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Nothing is worse (to me at least) than overpowering game music that saturates the senses.


<3 <3 <3

EXACTLY.

#31
Justin Bell

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Good article and interestingly varied piece, thank you for sharing :) The music sounds not very theme-y to me, and will be good for setting a mood while running in the background. However... is it youtube or does the sound library, even if it uses up 32GB, reproduce string is this distracting quality? If that is how it will sound in game, I'll have to turn down the volume to match it to the ambient sound, otherwise the strings will catch my ears as sounding "wrong" :/

 

[edit] Why did I write this big oO *changes font options*

 

Thanks!  I'm pretty sure you'll be able to change the balance of the mix so that the music is less prominent, if you so desire.   

 

<3

Really beautiful piece, Justin. The Basil Poledouris influence is pretty noticeable, but that's no bad thing. I'm detecting a bit of Dark Souls' Firelink Shrine in there as well, which is always nice.

I often either don't like or am indifferent to music in fantasy films and videogames, especially Western ones, because it often feels soulless and - literally - generic. There is nothing genuine in it.

This piece is not soulless or generic, and it is genuine. It is also evocative to the point that it could almost be considered a mild spoiler (which is a compliment). It sounds to me like a regretful homecoming of some sort, or a lament for past glories. Dyrford is not what it once was, is it? That's the vibe I'm getting.

 

Wow, thanks for those amazing compliments!  You've got a great ear.  Dark Souls is my favorite game of all time, and Firelink Shrine has such incredible music doesn't it?  

 

As for spoilers...  I'm afraid you'll have to wait to play the game! :)  But I will say that the musical choices were very... deliberate. 


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#32
Gumbercules

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It's great to finally have a detailed musical update. Plenty of interesting material there.

 

The Dyrford sample music is decent. It definitely reminds me of Howard Shore's LOTR and Hobbit scores, though more melancholy and less memorable. Of course, the music for three hour long movies in which every action is predetermined has to be different from music for a very long game in which the player can wander around freely, but I hope there will be plenty of catchy earworm pieces in the game to go along with the subtler background music.

 

I would like to know more about how PoE's musical influences will be different from the Infinity Engine games, given that the setting is more Renaissance than Medieval and New World rather than strictly European. Will we see hints of opera, or its predecessor intermedio? Will there be Native American influences or elements from African spirituals and work songs?



#33
Justin Bell

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FTL

 

You're awesome too. You've got to BELIEVE!

 

I haven't played FTL yet, but now that you mentioned it in context of "listener fatigue" I think I will!  Thanks for pointing that out,

 

Chopin was not mentioned, haha.

 

!!! You got me there...    BTW Chopin Piano Etudes = best music ever. 


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#34
Lephys

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Oh crap, I forgot the most important pun of the day:

I think it's great that you read a chorale at the beginning of each day, and that, when you get stuck on something tricky in your work, a renowned composer's got your Bach. 8)

(I had to...)


I haven't played FTL yet, but now that you mentioned it in context of "listener fatigue" I think I will!  Thanks for pointing that out,


Oh, I definitely recommend it just as a game (although you might hafta start on Easy. It can be pretty gruesomely difficult until you get the hang of it, if you're like me and aren't inherently a strategical genius when it comes to such games).

But, yeah, it's funny, 'cause my roommate watches a guy on Twitch.tv who plays that game for hours and hours and hours and hours on-end. And, someone in his chat happened to mention the music, and he sort of had an epiphane: "Yeah... I've probably put more hours into this game than anyone ever should, and never ONCE have I found myself thinking 'damn this repetitive music!"

Even though there aren't really THAT many tracks, and you hear a lot of the same music over and over and over and over.

Edited by Lephys, 15 April 2014 - 03:35 PM.

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#35
Ffordesoon

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@Justin:

What, Avellone didn't make all of you play the Advanced Edition and bask in his brilliance? :)
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#36
Justin Bell

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@Justin:

What, Avellone didn't make all of you play the Advanced Edition and bask in his brilliance? :)

 

Oh, is that what he was trying to do?  Hm... 



#37
Spekko

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FTL

 

You're awesome too. You've got to BELIEVE!

 

I haven't played FTL yet, but now that you mentioned it in context of "listener fatigue" I think I will!  Thanks for pointing that out,

 

Chopin was not mentioned, haha.

 

!!! You got me there...    BTW Chopin Piano Etudes = best music ever. 

 

Chopin's Etudes are what got me into music, and playing the piano. Put on Louis Lortie playing Op. 25 No. 12 or Op. 10 No. 3 and everything becomes right with the world, at least for a few minutes.

 

Anyways, this was a great update, and I'm really liking it so far, but I'm curious, is there any chance that we'll ever get to see a full score for one of the pieces (or maybe all of them but I probably shouldn't push my luck...)? As a composer and arranger myself, I always like studying the scores of other composers and really getting into the details of how they wrote the piece, and possibly, you know, stealing some of their ideas on how different instruments can be combined. You know... it's like that Stravinsky quote. ;)


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#38
Rostere

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Absolutely amazing, perfect, wonderful. What I heard is some of the most fitting music I could imagine PE to have. Stylistically, it reminds me a lot of IWD/BG2 but also of the soundtrack to The Hobbit. If it's one other non-IE engine thing to be inspired by, it's probably the Hobbit/LotR movies (especially LotR in my mind), which also had great soundtracks. Keep up the good work!

 

However, I feel a bit of a longing for the more "meaty" parts, like the pompous start of the BG2 main theme, and for more concrete melody in place of sublime fleeting ambience, although this is only very slight remark for other tracks, the song above is probably perfect for that particular village. In my opinion, the IWD soundtrack is usually on the same spot on the ambience/melody scale as this piece. The BG2 music however usually has a bit more pronounced melodic "hooks". Maybe you think it's somewhat unsubtle and in-your-face, but I know at least I enjoy those parts, like for example from 0:29 to 0:28 here, or like 2:16 to 2:27 here. Both this new piece and the Kickstarter music has been awesome examples of music that sounds straight from out of an unknown expansion pack to IWD ever so slightly more than belonging to the more "catchy" tracks from BG and BG2 composed by Hoenig. So I wonder, when do we get to hear the tracks which are more bombastic, in-your-face music parts like battle themes? ;)


Edited by Rostere, 15 April 2014 - 04:09 PM.

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#39
Freddo

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Very interesting read and some very nice points made like the "listener fatigue", even if the Dyrford Village Music didn't grab me as much as I had hoped it would, unfortunately. A bit too underscore-ish for my taste, I wouldn't mind a stronger melody (and harps! :p). I guess I'm too much under the spell of The Dike and River of Life from the first The Witcher game and various JRPGs :p



#40
kozzy

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Great so far! Keep up the good work!







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