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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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#41
Wasabi

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#42
Ieo

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I'd like to ask about the live instrumentation goal in the KS as well.... Were the funds exhausted in favor of other game stuffs? Or is this just the initial stage in planning everything out before final performance like someone else suggested?

 

Anyway, good stuff. Having significant chunks of ambient background noise between the music loops would be great too.... and having especially shorter music loops (or no looping, only intro) for combat initiation sequences. Not a fan of most combat music.

 

(Edit to add: That is, the stretch reached with Paypal funding. Did that count?)


Edited by Ieo, 15 April 2014 - 04:11 PM.

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#43
Hormalakh

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One other thing I'd like to add to the discussion, and building off the "jarring" feeling one can get when switching between musical themes (dungeon/battle/wilderness/etc), this is especially true when it comes to engaging in battle and coming out of battle, if I'm not mistaken I think the IE games had sort of a "transitional song" that transitioned between the different scenarios. That would be good.

 

To be more clear, when the battle is over (and the combat song is not) there should be a way of "wrapping" up the song before switching back to non-combat music.


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#44
Zeckul

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Beautiful use of the brass section, I always enjoy that.

 

Baldur's Gate music was basically a theme and many variations with different moods and orchestrations. If you listened closely you could always hear the main theme in some form, be it in the night on the plains, the darkest dungeon or even in battle music.

 

Icewind Dale's music was less connected by themes and more by mood and texture. Also Icewind Dale featured comparatively little battle music, so it was a much more atmospheric approach. I think both worked quite well although I personally preferred the music of Icewind Dale.

 

Which one of these approach is closest to what you're doing for PoE?


Edited by Zeckul, 15 April 2014 - 04:18 PM.

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#45
Grotesque

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Bland and insipid piece of music.



#46
Tuckey

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I guess your going for sombre. Sounds like lotr and a lot of other fantasy game melody pieces stuck together.

 

This piece needs a unifying identity imo.


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#47
Shadenuat

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The pauses between instruments are too many and too long, so it kinda goes nowhere and lacks that solid feel I used to have when listening to music in good RPG's.

Maybe environmental effects would help music to stand out more.


Edited by Shadenuat, 15 April 2014 - 05:28 PM.

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#48
Justin Bell

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I guess your going for sombre. Sounds like lotr and a lot of other fantasy game melody pieces stuck together.

 

This piece needs a unifying identity imo.

 

Thanks for your comments.  Basically, when I write, I just follow where my ears and my fingers take me, and sometimes it's a complete surprise.  As for a unifying identity, I'm working to build that into the score in it's entirety.  Hopefully when people finally get to play the game may pick up on that.


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#49
Justin Bell

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The pauses between instruments are too many and too long, so it kinda goes nowhere and lacks that solid feel I used to have when listening to music in good RPG's.

Maybe environmental effects would help music to stand out more.

 

Good observation.  Yes I can see how that's unsettling, particularly when you hear the music out of context in this way.  It is, as you point out, to allow the environment sounds to have an opportunity to be heard in between musical phrases.  I wanted this music to breath in a calm and relaxed sort of way, and to interact with all the other sounds you're going to hear as well.  


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#50
Justin Bell

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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.

 

Ha!  :)  I hope you like argyle. 



#51
cornishr

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I don't have any interest at all in computer game music.

 

When are you going to tell me about the bloody Aumaua? Annoying.



#52
BMacklin

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I dig the music - epic, emotional, and suggesting of great things to come. :)



#53
Achilles

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Great update, Justin. Thanks for sneaking us some new sounds (and new screens).



#54
Sheikh

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It definitely sets the mood. I am well into the melancholy but its not very memorable. What could change that in my opinion is to alternate the pacing of the music a little more. Meaning have the pace go a little faster for a while and then slowww. And make these alternations vary alot. I probably dont know what Im talking about, but I hope you get my point. Thats just my theory of what would make it better for my taste.

 

Btw I humbly request that harp be used in some of your compositions. Its too good of an instrument to leave out imo :p. As long as it can go along with the theme you are building overall, I hope it can be used.


Edited by Sheikh, 15 April 2014 - 07:23 PM.

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#55
Zeckul

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By the way, if you're in need of Medieval inspiration:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WupiCG9GhGE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHBJL60F7WM



#56
Arkthuris

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The pauses between instruments are too many and too long, so it kinda goes nowhere and lacks that solid feel I used to have when listening to music in good RPG's.

Maybe environmental effects would help music to stand out more.

 

Good observation.  Yes I can see how that's unsettling, particularly when you hear the music out of context in this way.  It is, as you point out, to allow the environment sounds to have an opportunity to be heard in between musical phrases.  I wanted this music to breath in a calm and relaxed sort of way, and to interact with all the other sounds you're going to hear as well.  

 

I kind of figured that would be the case as the mix does sound extremely dry (in terms of the mix, not the pitch content). Would probably sound much more fitting with the ambient sounds and reverberations behind it. The piece does lag a bit for me during the sections with only strings though as I guess after years of listening to classical, sampled orchestras stick out like a sore thumb to me. The melodies are great but I feel like it could really use a bit more attack and release to fill out the space. There are a few times when the strings just kind of pop-in that feel a bit unnatural. Again, haven't heard it with the actual game's ambiance and it might be altered before it makes it into the game so I could be way off. I definitely enjoyed the piece for the most part though.

 

If I could recommend something for your morning commute though: Austin Wintory's Banner Saga OST. The game itself was pretty great considering its Kickstarter budget but the soundtrack was beyond belief. The man has a real gift for restating themes and using soloists to their full potential. He's still fairly new in terms of big orchestral scores like this but right now I love him even more than I love Soule.

 

https://austinwintor...the-banner-saga


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#57
Falkon Swiftblade

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Thanks for the informative update Justin, I've been waiting for this update for a really long time. :) Overall I like everything you shared with us. I was wondering if at this stage of development are you finished writing all the tracks for the game and you just need to go back and polish them, or how much more do you anticipate writing? Also, how do you go about choosing which pieces go into the levels or zones? Will they be specific ques for each zone or town, or will you use a collective pot that picks sounds at random depending on designer triggers in the game. How much music do you anticipate will be in the final game? Finally, in the last stretch goal it mentioned one of the perks will be an in game dev commentary. It would be fantastic if you did an audio commentary regarding your process similar to how you did this update for a section you are particularly proud of. I love all those behind the scenes doc's in the LOTR dvd's and such on their creative process. Keep up the good work!


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#58
Hassat Hunter

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While I can't say I understood much of the actual update, I can of course respond to the music part... I actually listen to various IE-musics people linked to, Dungeon Siege music (for all you can say about the game, one has to admit great music), Larian OST's... yeah, western RPG's don't have it bad in regards to music.

 

Though I have to admit with others that this music lacks some of the soul IE-music and above mentioned music has, a bit too generic. Probably a bit too much leaning on Lord of the Rings.

It's pleasant for on the background, but according to my ears, it very easily gets ignored or taken for granted, besides for one point (which I will talk about later). I listened while reading here (probably what one would do ingame), and I had to relisten to it without that just cause it didn't record at all. Didn't really notice till quite some time later it was over.

As said; it just completely washes out. Soothing, but I don't think it's really the intention after all.

The mentioned games all have dramatic 'sad' music, but it still sounds more 'present' than this, and thus is all the stronger for the player. And as luck would have it, one of those is actually now in my playtrack (Dungeon Siege - "s_mu_besiegedtown_04").

Sorry I can't be more technical than this, really just acting here on feelings rather than hard data.

 

Final note, the jarring part I mentioned about earlier;

1:45-2:10

Cut it out. The sudden trumpet(?) sounds completely out of place and is very jarring. Immediately after it gets a little more upbeat too, but these increases actually are soothing and sound natural than the sudden part that was those 25 seconds.

 

Good luck with making the music for this game, and I hope the feedback atleast was somewhat useful, and we can look forward to another great RPG soundtrack :).



#59
PrimeJunta

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Sounding lovely. Can't wait to hear what it's like with a live orchestra.

 

I wonder how many of us think of this sound as 'game music' or 'movie music' though? Anyone else here go to concerts, opera, or ballet, or listen to recorded classical music at home? It certainly warmed my heart that Justin Bell turns to Bach when in trouble.



#60
Justin Bell

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...the "jarring" feeling one can get when switching between musical themes (dungeon/battle/wilderness/etc), this is especially true when it comes to engaging in battle and coming out of battle, if I'm not mistaken I think the IE games had sort of a "transitional song" that transitioned between the different scenarios. That would be good.

 

Moving gracefully from two contrasting game states is definitely a challenge.  It's something we are working on.

 

Btw I humbly request that harp be used in some of your compositions. Its too good of an instrument to leave out imo :p. As long as it can go along with the theme you are building overall, I hope it can be used.

 

Yes!  As it so happens, I'm writing with harp now.  I wanted to for Dyrford town, but I ran into some last minute technical issues that prevented me from loading that instrument.  Long story...  But the good news is the technical issues are gone and harp is back in the template.

 

By the way, if you're in need of Medieval inspiration:

 

Thanks!  Always good to hear good music.

 

Thanks for the informative update Justin, I've been waiting for this update for a really long time. :) Overall I like everything you shared with us. I was wondering if at this stage of development are you finished writing all the tracks for the game and you just need to go back and polish them, or how much more do you anticipate writing? Also, how do you go about choosing which pieces go into the levels or zones? Will they be specific ques for each zone or town, or will you use a collective pot that picks sounds at random depending on designer triggers in the game. How much music do you anticipate will be in the final game? Finally, in the last stretch goal it mentioned one of the perks will be an in game dev commentary. It would be fantastic if you did an audio commentary regarding your process similar to how you did this update for a section you are particularly proud of. I love all those behind the scenes doc's in the LOTR dvd's and such on their creative process. Keep up the good work!

 

My pleasure, and thanks for your comments!  I'm not done writing the music yet, and still have a few months left to wrap things up.   As far as length, it's hard to say.  We have estimates now and I'm targeting those, but I'd hate to give you a number that's off.  

 

When it comes to choosing music for zones, I try to go by the narrative of the region.   I try to get a sense for what the region is "about" and usually that involves talking with the writers and designers on the project to get their take.   Each zone will have a distinct sound, and it will all be tied together with a broader thematic arc.  

 

While I can't say I understood much of the actual update, I can of course respond to the music part... I actually listen to various IE-musics people linked to, Dungeon Siege music (for all you can say about the game, one has to admit great music), Larian OST's... yeah, western RPG's don't have it bad in regards to music.

 

Though I have to admit with others that this music lacks some of the soul IE-music and above mentioned music has, a bit too generic. Probably a bit too much leaning on Lord of the Rings.

It's pleasant for on the background, but according to my ears, it very easily gets ignored or taken for granted, besides for one point (which I will talk about later). I listened while reading here (probably what one would do ingame), and I had to relisten to it without that just cause it didn't record at all. Didn't really notice till quite some time later it was over.

As said; it just completely washes out. Soothing, but I don't think it's really the intention after all.

The mentioned games all have dramatic 'sad' music, but it still sounds more 'present' than this, and thus is all the stronger for the player. And as luck would have it, one of those is actually now in my playtrack (Dungeon Siege - "s_mu_besiegedtown_04").

Sorry I can't be more technical than this, really just acting here on feelings rather than hard data.

 

Final note, the jarring part I mentioned about earlier;

1:45-2:10

Cut it out. The sudden trumpet(?) sounds completely out of place and is very jarring. Immediately after it gets a little more upbeat too, but these increases actually are soothing and sound natural than the sudden part that was those 25 seconds.

 

Good luck with making the music for this game, and I hope the feedback atleast was somewhat useful, and we can look forward to another great RPG soundtrack :).

 

Thank you for your feedback, I do appreciate it and I will take it into consideration.


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