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Old 05-24-2005, 07:27 PM   #1
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Default QotW: \"Music and the Beast\"

Thanks to those of you who braved the torrent of E3 propaganda last week to respond to our last QotW. I realize that you didn't hear anything about what Ritual was doing, but all I can say is that our silence was intentional.

Anyway, our QotW this week involves music, and is a three-parter.

1) Does music add anything to your gameplay experience?

2) Are there particular musical styles/artists you prefer listening to when playing first-person shooters?

3) Do you prefer constant music playing in the background or do you prefer mostly environmental sound effects with an occasional triggered musical cue?

Thanks in advance for the answers. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go break things so they won't break for you.
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Old 05-24-2005, 09:36 PM   #2
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Default Re: QotW: \"Music and the Beast\"

Constant backround music ruins games. Only add music in important parts of levels, and make it match the scenario. BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY DO NOT ADD MUSIC THAT SOUNDS LIKE A CARMINA BURANA RIP OFF . The original Carmina Burana should also stay out of games please.

I like techno in any game, all other genres of music are made for listening.

Music can add to the gameplay, but only if it is used in the right situations, like being scary or actiony.
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Old 05-25-2005, 12:03 AM   #3
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Default Re: QotW: \"Music and the Beast\"

I like music only when it sets the mood. For example when you are suppose to be sneaking around and someone spots you and then the music kicks in, I think thats a impotant aspect to have in a game.
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Old 05-25-2005, 01:02 AM   #4
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Default Re: QotW: \"Music and the Beast\"

1) Yes, definitely. Especially when the music's good enough to listen to on its own.

2) For FPSs, something with a "pulse". It can be orchestral, electronic, or both, but there should be something driving the action forward. (At least, for multiplayer or straightforward action sequences. For more atmospheric or dramatic sequences, something else is obviously called for. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img])

Some of my favorites (all of which fulfill the "good enough to listen to independently" clause): Koji Kondo's Zelda music; Blizzard's music, especially WarCraft II and World of WarCraft; Jeehun Hwang's MechWarrior 2 and Duane Decker's MechWarrior 3; Alexander Brendon's Unreal and Unreal Tournament; and Kevin Riepl's Unreal Tournament 2004.

3) I prefer constant music, especially if it's dynamic a la the original Unreal.
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Old 05-25-2005, 02:08 AM   #5
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Default Re: QotW: \"Music and the Beast\"

the problem with music is, everybody has his own taste.
thats why i think its better to only have enviromental sounds and some calm ambient sound that turns a bit faster when action heats up.
if somebody insists on listening to real music in games, he can allways have winamp open in the background, thats my opinion anyway.
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Old 05-25-2005, 03:01 AM   #6
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Default Re: QotW: \"Music and the Beast\"

1.) Yes - if itís gotten the same amount of attention as the rest of the game. No if itís a hack job. Better to just leave it out.

2.) I think itís pretty much dependant on the type of first-person shooter. Although I canít see a case where country would fitÖ but other then that anythingís fair game.

3.) Constant music I think takes away from the experience. There should be music triggers that add to (what should be) emotional parts of the game, or kick in during a lull in the action to pass the time.

For example: I step out of the starting area into a big city and see the scope of it - thatís the time for a music trigger. Not real loud, but something Iíll hear in the back of my mind. It's important not to have it too loud or as soon as it's gone you instinctively "miss" it. It should come and go without much notice.

Side note: and please donít ruin it with a cut-scene - I donít need help taking in the scenery, especially not with an out-of-body experience [img]/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img] for that matter many of those types of "mini" cut-scenes seem more out of place then necessary /side note

Obviously movies are a good example of this. The 5th Element comes to mind as a movie I've watched recently and had great use of music and sound in general.

Sometimes random music triggers during the level add to the experience also (as said above, during a lull in the action for example) itís not constant, but every so often you hear the music playing in the background which is kind of nice. I think Knights of the Old Republic did that well, although all of it may have been triggered. Itís been awhile since I played it.

Although please if youíre going to have things like triggered music during combat do not loop the same short track over and over and over again. Have a different track for each type of combat experience, and make it fairly long. Personally I think Iíd rather not have any triggered music then have the same repetitive music over and over again.

3a.) I think it might be prudent to add more sound options as well. You can configure a lot of other options but sound still remains fairly limited.

For example for those that want constant music it would be a choice that would override triggers (except at important moments) or random music. This would also add to replay ability in a small way - because sound can be so important to the feel of the game even little changes can make a big difference.

Anyway - I donít think Iíve said it yet, but itís cool you guys are doing these questions. Itís nice to see what other people have to say, and to express opinions on these subjects. As a level designer Iím trying to take in anything thatís relevant myself [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 05-25-2005, 08:24 AM   #7
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Default Re: QotW: \"Music and the Beast\"

Environmental/ambient sounds with triggered short pieces - followed by a full soundtrack release / download / inclusion on cd

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Old 05-25-2005, 11:19 AM   #8
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Default Re: QotW: \"Music and the Beast\"

Ah music, one of those "little things" that often is looked at as an afterthought. I have to admit to being one of those gamers that in the past would turn down/off the music in games. Why? Well, because some of the music was so bad that it actually interfered with my gaming experience. Rather than listen to the same small loop over and over again (until my brain was ready to explode), I just wanted to play. Many times I also would rather have the sound cues come from the environment. For example, tactical squads (like SWAT/etc.) don't have music playing while they are on a mission. So, I don't feel it works in the game (if you are shooting for realism).

1) Yes, music can be an excellent mood setter for a game. Action music can get the blood pumping, grand orchestral type music can make things seem bigger and more elaborate than they are. The "kind" of music needs to be appropriate for the game/setting/situation. I think Call of Duty did a good job with the music.

2) This greatly depends on the type of FPS game. Deus Ex doesn't need the same type of music as Call of Duty or Duke Nukem (Whenever). So, rather than state a specific artist, I would say let the experience within the game speak to what type of music would work best. For example, if the God of War show ever comes back on G4, check out the three different music selections they went thru before settling on one. At one point they had rock guitar riffs which didn't seem right. Record a decent section of gameplay footage. Watch the footage with the sound turned off and see if any "beats"/etc. come to mind while watching it. Go from there and try different variations until something seems to "fit".

3) Okay, I'm gonna differ slightly from many people on this one. I do NOT like game triggered event music AT ALL. I do like environmental music. It's okay if you walk into a new area, say from inside to outside (vice versa), and the music changes from what it was to something new in order to "introduce" this new envrionment. However, I HATE when I'm in a game and the "action" music kicks in BEFORE THE FREAKING EVENT. I know this may seem like a bit of a timing issue, but, there have been WAY WAY WAY too many games that I have played that do this. I want the experience within the game to be the event, NOT the change in music. In other word, I don't want to know the bad guy is coming before he gets there. That should be the job of in game sound (and the ability of the gamer to listen for audible clues). With that being said, I'm also get tired of audio cues as well. Unless it was a "closet monster", DooM 3 seemed to relish in giving away monster positions by sound way too often.

All in all, I do think music can help (or hurt) a game. The music needs to complement the events within the game. I find it better to let the music help set the mood, but, not be an intrusive aspect. Music comes across like lighting within graphics. You need it, but if it's not done well, you can tell it pretty quickly. If it is done well, then the proper mood and atmosphere is created.
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Old 05-25-2005, 02:34 PM   #9
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Default Re: QotW: \"Music and the Beast\"

i think it very much also depends on the game

Need For Speed Underground or GTA would not be the same without their music!
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Old 05-25-2005, 08:15 PM   #10
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Default Re: QotW: \"Music and the Beast\"

I'm not a big fan of background music in games. If the music loops it always gets out of sync with the pace of the game at some point. Situational music (where a song kicks as some event unfolds) can be ok if there's enough other sounds in the game to make the world seem immersive when the musics not playing.

But overall I really like to choose my own background music or not. If I'm in the mood for background music, I usually leave WinAmp running in the background with whatever music I'm in the mood for. If a game has a soundtrack you can really get tired of hearing the same music over and over.
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Old 05-29-2005, 09:35 PM   #11
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Default Re: QotW: \"Music and the Beast\"

Music can be both a good and bad thing, as long as the music fits the area of the game and adds to the experience, I'm all for it. But if it takes away from it, then don't even put it in at all!

As for FPS games I tend to like to listen to something that "pumps you up" which really just depends what kinda mood your in. It could be techno, metal, or rap. It all depends on the game, person, and scenario.

As for musical timing, it depends on the game. For RPG's constant background music can be goodm same with RTS's and other games of that nature. But for newer FPS's I like to just have sound effects and triggered music.
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