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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.

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


"Art and song are creations but so are weapons and lies"

"Our worst enemies are inventions of the mind. Pleasure. Fear. When we see them for what they are, we become unstoppable."

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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
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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://austinwintory.bandcamp.com/album/the-banner-saga

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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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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 :).


^

 

 

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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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.


I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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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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That's just the base track with the orchestral library samples yeah and it's not final?

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That's just the base track with the orchestral library samples yeah and it's not final?

 

Truthfully, nothings final till the game ships!  It's sort of like going to a job interview...  You always think of the right thing you could've said during the car ride home :)

 

I can say that I've moved on to writing other music for the time being.  But if past experience is any indication, the more I live with this music, the more I'll want to tweak it.

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Thanks for the update, looking forward to hearing more tracks. Maybe an excerpt of an epic battle theme?

 

Keep up the good work! :)


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That's just the base track with the orchestral library samples yeah and it's not final?

 

Truthfully, nothings final till the game ships!  It's sort of like going to a job interview...  You always think of the right thing you could've said during the car ride home :)

 

I can say that I've moved on to writing other music for the time being.  But if past experience is any indication, the more I live with this music, the more I'll want to tweak it.

 

In the update you talked about timbre and color. The majority of the track is dominated by scarse cold sounding upper midrange strings, which IMO is probably the most lifeless sounding area of library samples. They were all used in the IE games soundtracks, but for the quieter and more atmospheric parts of the IE games, the composers used something more colorful (usually warmer) in the foreground of pieces to make them more memorable. Usually a non-string instrument, sometimes a tuned down violin (or a cello), a contrabass, percussion.

 

The track sounds fine when something else happens - such as the LOTR sounding orchestral bits and I think I heard a couple of clarinet bits. The lone instrument bit needs to be stronger in some way.

 

The two primary things I look for in music is atmosphere and emotion. I don't think this track quite gets there on atmosphere. The piece has emotion, but some of the instrumentation doesn't.

 

But then again this might just be the other influences that I don't perceive coming into play. Both pieces (this and from the gameplay trailer) to me, don't sound very IE-like. But that's okay if you're shooting for something different instead.

Edited by Sensuki
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The track feels... I dunno, a bit too ambient. Maybe it'll grow on me but first impressions is this feels like it belongs in Minecraft, not in an atmospheric high fantasy story.

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It's a nice enough background bit if music. It seems to strike somewhere around the right balance of sounding pleasant and evocative without ever getting in the way or being too annoying to listen too a hundred times. It also sounds a little scattered, there's a lot of slow, single instrument parts where we get some new instrument part we've ever heard before, and it's the only thing going. It feels like it's suddenly a different track, meant for a different area.

 

I also wonder what you're going to do for the theme. A strong theme song is something I'm always a fan of, something stronger and more complex than what you'd hear in the background, something that opens with the title screen to get people excited. That's always something I enjoyed about starting up Morrowind, which I've done several hundred times at least and the theme always get me in the mood to go adventuring, frankly I think Jeremy Soule peaked with that sound track. And of course for inspiration for a theme there's John Williams, creator of undoubtedly the most recognized theme songs in history. 

Edited by Frenetic Pony

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The lack of foreground instrumentation gives the piece a bit of a lack of intimacy IMO as well. The closest thing is probably the clarinet? around 1:30

 

The overall piece has more of a classical soundstage, which is different from the IE games ambient tracks. The Baldur's Gate and Jeremy Soule IWD ones tend to follow a formula of background orchestration, some foreground instuments and a foreground melody. Inon Zur has a bit of a different style overall, a bit more choral and orchestral but he definitely uses the style on some of the tracks, particularly Skeleton of a Town.

Edited by Sensuki
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Thank you for writing such an insightful update; one of the most insightful ones to date.

Once again it has proven to have been worth it to back this project, just for the updates alone.

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I like this tune, it have feeling of serenity in it, like i would sit on grass just on outskirts of village near woods. Dyrford seems to be peacefull, but with something disturbing that peace nearby.

Edited by Ailantan

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Justin: I wholeheartedly agree with Ffordesoon's praise. It lends a brilliant mood to the Dyrwood village scenes! :)

 

My only concern with it is what I think Sensuki is after in his posts:

 

That's just the base track with the orchestral library samples yeah and it's not final?

 

Truthfully, nothings final till the game ships!  

 

 

 

 


 

In the update you talked about timbre and color. The majority of the track is dominated by scarse cold sounding upper midrange strings, which IMO is probably the most lifeless sounding area of library samples. They were all used in the IE games soundtracks, but for the quieter and more atmospheric parts of the IE games, the composers used something more colorful (usually warmer) in the foreground of pieces to make them more memorable. Usually a non-string instrument, sometimes a tuned down violin (or a cello), a contrabass, percussion.

The track sounds fine when something else happens - such as the LOTR sounding orchestral bits and I think I heard a couple of clarinet bits. The lone instrument bit needs to be stronger in some way.

 

I also find that those upper midrange strings dominate the track. Or, put more bluntly: they are not a very good synthesizer version of strings. They sound too digital, and as if some thin membrane is blocking any warm or organic feel there ever was - almost like those Yamaha synthesizers of the mid-80s! I would really see you try another set of warmer and more authentic strings. But you could experiment with some flutes or oboes as well. 

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That's just the base track with the orchestral library samples yeah and it's not final?

 

Truthfully, nothings final till the game ships!  It's sort of like going to a job interview...  You always think of the right thing you could've said during the car ride home :)

 

I can say that I've moved on to writing other music for the time being.  But if past experience is any indication, the more I live with this music, the more I'll want to tweak it.

 

In the update you talked about timbre and color. The majority of the track is dominated by scarse cold sounding upper midrange strings, which IMO is probably the most lifeless sounding area of library samples. They were all used in the IE games soundtracks, but for the quieter and more atmospheric parts of the IE games, the composers used something more colorful (usually warmer) in the foreground of pieces to make them more memorable. Usually a non-string instrument, sometimes a tuned down violin (or a cello), a contrabass, percussion.

 

The track sounds fine when something else happens - such as the LOTR sounding orchestral bits and I think I heard a couple of clarinet bits. The lone instrument bit needs to be stronger in some way.

 

The two primary things I look for in music is atmosphere and emotion. I don't think this track quite gets there on atmosphere. The piece has emotion, but some of the instrumentation doesn't.

 

But then again this might just be the other influences that I don't perceive coming into play. Both pieces (this and from the gameplay trailer) to me, don't sound very IE-like. But that's okay if you're shooting for something different instead.

 

 

I disagree about the lone instrument and strings.

This piece has background music written all over it and works quite well as such, in my opinion. The pauses, that very obviously cut the phrases from one another feel uncomfortable when listening to the music alone, but in a context of other more prominent sound effects coming from the town it should work well.

What I've tried is this: I listened to the piece on its own and then listened to it several times while typing and focusing on another task - like I would have been while playing a game. The music performed as any background music I'd call good (not excellent) did - was unobtrusive (pauses weren't jarring anymore), conveyed the mood and had some likeable memorable phrases, that stuck with me.

Looking at how this composition is made, transferring more prominent phrases to a lone instrument would emphasize the pauses and would have felt more intrusive and perhaps even out of place (in my opinion), while strings can manage to peek out of background and blend back in more seamlessly. Perhaps horn could also achieve that?

 

Talking about atmosphere and emotion is unfortunately as subjective as it can get. I can't really explain this in any way, when I say, that to me the piece conveyed the atmosphere and emotion right from the very first seconds and managed to stay on the same track in both cases.

I find the comparison with firelink from Dark Souls here quite appropriate.

 

I do agree, that it does not quite sound like the most memorable IE pieces - the most memorable pieces there all did have a lone prominent lone instrument carrying the main theme (Kuldahar and East Haven are the ones that I still listen to). But even there, not all of the pieces did and I'd still call them good or excellent.

 

I haven't even thought about, that people wanted the music to imitate the IE games music. My expectations and hopes were (only), that:

- Music fits the environment and writing.

- Music is actually good and does not make me turn it off.

- Music has one or two memorable pieces that will get stuck in my head and will make me replay the game for the music alone in a few years, like IWD and D2 keep on doing.

 

 

Mr. Bell, I can't wait to hear all of it, to see how You've managed to blend in a common theme.

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I disagree about the lone instrument and strings.

This piece has background music written all over it and works quite well as such, in my opinion. The pauses, that very obviously cut the phrases from one another feel uncomfortable when listening to the music alone, but in a context of other more prominent sound effects coming from the town it should work well.

 

What I've tried is this: I listened to the piece on its own and then listened to it several times while typing and focusing on another task - like I would have been while playing a game. The music performed as any background music I'd call good (not excellent) did - was unobtrusive (pauses weren't jarring anymore), conveyed the mood and had some likeable memorable phrases, that stuck with me.

In my post I compare the piece with the music of the IE games (BGs/IWDs). It is indeed a more background piece, this is not however like the music in the IE games.

 

In modern film (games, movies, tv series) a lot of composers (with direction) go for a more subtle approach where the music is much more subtle than the previous era. If you think back to earlier periods (eg. 80s-90s) and most cheesy Hollywood films, music is over the top. I think the IE games (particularly the BG games, composed by Michael Hoenig) are a bit more upfront and noticeable which is sort of representational of their era, without being too over the top. The IWD1 follows a similar formula but in a different style that is more ambient. IWD2 is a little bit more orchestral and choral than IWD because that's Inon Zur's style, but he still managed to capture the same tones and uses some of the same tricks.

 

Over time Jeremy Soule's musical style has become more and more like background music, and progressively more forgettable.

 

But that said, from what I understand once the digital/library version of the track is complete, then (some of) it will be recorded. So the lifelessness of the instruments in the piece isn't as much of a worry, but I did feel that it was missing *something*.

 

While Justin's piece may very well fit the mood of that part of the game/that village at that time in the game, I do not believe the piece has been done in the IE game style at all. This is fine, except for the fact that they've been saying that overall they are going to do something kinda similar.

 

Talking about atmosphere and emotion is unfortunately as subjective as it can get. I can't really explain this in any way, when I say, that to me the piece conveyed the atmosphere and emotion right from the very first seconds and managed to stay on the same track in both cases.

I find the comparison with firelink from Dark Souls here quite appropriate.

I honestly don't know how you can listen to the opening string part and feel any emotion whatsoever, because it is a bunch of digitalized strings playing a note. Atmosphere is a little bit subjective, but I believe that several things contribute heavily to the atmosphere of a piece - tone and color (of the actual recording itself) and sound production play a heavy part.

 

The thing that is the most jarring for me most of all is that the piece to me, gives me absolutely no 'vision' of Dyrford itself. Perhaps this is not the 'main' Dyrford piece.

 

When I look at the Dyrford art (whether it be this concept art or the screenies):

 

Village_concept_art.jpg?version=4612bbac

 

 

I don't hear this track. This is one thing that the IE games (particularly Icewind Dale) did very well. When you listen to the Kuldahar theme, the piece is evocative of Kuldahar - smoke rising from the buildings, a sense of warmth in a vast coolness, the stillness of the town, a sense of magic about the tree. The color of the music suited the art of the town as well. 

 

This art here is evocative of something much more organic than the piece we have heard, it could be sad sure (from memory Lord Harond's daughter went missing or something) but that essential mix of medieval/renaissance instruments or perhaps woodwind or reeds is probably necessary to create the right feeling.

Edited by Sensuki
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best game music we ever heard is from the iwd games. jeremey soule were fantastic for iwd, and there weren't no drop-off for iwd2... at least as far as music is concerned. inon zur matched soule, which at the time we would not have thought possible. 

 

 

HA! Good Fun!

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Damn, now I want to replay IWD2.


"Some ideas are so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them." -- attributed to George Orwell

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