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MP3's are (almost) free!
Kitty Cat
Member #2,815
October 2002
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How many of us have played a game where "tense" music starts when bad guys are attacking you... except the music starts BEFORE you even know the bad guy is attacking so it's like some stupid alarm going off that takes any of the real suspense away. It was supposed to add suspense and actually removes it.

That's actually a problem prerendered music has when trying to act dynamically. Because it's fundamentally different tracks, the change is going to be abrupt and noticeable. However, with real-time music, the changes can be more subtle and happen over time. For example, increase the tempo by some amount relative to the proximity to an enemy, fade out some instruments for others depending on the number of enemies and their relative difficulty. Subtle and gradual changes to the music can add to the suspense, even if you don't realize it's happening.

It doesn't even have to be related to enemies. You can have the music smoothly change as you move between areas. Add or take away individual components of the track depending on events that have occurred in the game. Nintendo, and in the past Rare, could do this very well, to the point most people don't even realize it happening. The music just changes subtly and naturally, adding to the atmosphere without jumping up in the player's face. Mick Gordon tries to do something similar with his music by splicing prerendered segments together dynamically (as done with the Killer Instinct reboot, and the Doom reboot), but given the nature of the prerendered segments, it's fairly limited compared to proper real-time music.

--
"Do not meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will pee on your computer." -- Bruce Graham

Chris Katko
Member #1,881
January 2002
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Kitty Cat said:

That's actually a problem prerendered music has when trying to act dynamically.

No, I mean, I get that point. My point is the DETECTION of events is handled poorly. Whether it was dynamic music or not, the system tracking you and firing off "change music excitement level" wasn't written with psychology / game experience in mind. It CAN be handled well, but those are so few and far inbetween it feels like.

Quote:

It doesn't even have to be related to enemies.

I know, that was just one example. I do like how the same melody fades between areas in Banjo and Kazoiie (IIRC). From one instrument like a flute, to a steel drum/tropical theme just by walking away. And it's a smooth fade.

-----sig:
“Programs should be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.” - Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs

Kitty Cat
Member #2,815
October 2002
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It CAN be handled well, but those are so few and far inbetween it feels like.

Tends to be the game industry as a whole. For any particular thing, there's generally only a couple companies/developers that do it well, while others are poor to decent. But real-time dynamic music is a fun thing to play around with IMO, and who knows who may gain a knack for it.

--
"Do not meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will pee on your computer." -- Bruce Graham

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