Topic: Gameplay music

West on July 16, 2010, 03:40:49 PM

West

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Yay, progress! Here's a first shot at some generic overland gameplay music:

Imminent Danger

I know it may not be extremely dangerous-sounding but I figured we should save the really dark and threatening music for dungeons and caves.

This is far from finished, in fact I only started working on it a couple of days ago, so please disregard the incomplete melodies, bad or non-existant transitions etc.

Other than that, let me know what you think!

Edit: I always boost the track level a bit before posting but I forgot to this time, so the piece probably peaks around -10dB or something. However I'm fairly sure all of you have a volume knob on your speakers :)
« Last Edit: July 16, 2010, 03:46:37 PM by West »
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CheeseLord on July 16, 2010, 07:25:51 PM
Reply #1

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Sweet!! I really like the feeling of exploration that you get from this.
Even though you know about transitions, I'll just point out a few things you probably, but might not have noticed ;)
- The later sections when it gets into swing sound really loud and a little out of place when compared to the start...maybe think of turning it down a little.
- The flute at 0:26 suffers from the loopy CD problem with sustained notes
- The start should gradually get a little fuller, not suddenly adding a ton in (yes, I know you know about this, but meh...oops)

But apart from that, it's pretty awesome...where was that pan flute like articulation from?? :D
« Last Edit: July 16, 2010, 07:26:06 PM by CheeseLord »
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West on July 17, 2010, 01:03:19 PM
Reply #2

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Quote from: 'CheeseLord' pid='593' dateline='1279304751'
- The later sections when it gets into swing sound really loud and a little out of place when compared to the start...maybe think of turning it down a little.


Why? I mean sure, the dynamics need a LOT of work, I haven't really paid much attention to it yet, but is there some particular reason you think the loudness should be uniform? When the strings come in during the oriental-tinged part (~1:09), it's *supposed* to get a little bigger and bolder.

Not saying you don't have a point or anything, just wondering why you felt it was out of place.

Quote from: 'CheeseLord' pid='593' dateline='1279304751'
- The flute at 0:26 suffers from the loopy CD problem with sustained notes


Actually it doesn't, it's real unlooped sustain samples, but I see what you mean. The vibrato has a kind of nervous quality to it. I've replaced it with an alto flute instead, as I also felt that a slightly huskier tone was called for.

Quote from: 'CheeseLord' pid='593' dateline='1279304751'
- The start should gradually get a little fuller, not suddenly adding a ton in (yes, I know you know about this, but meh...oops)


Horns, solo flute and some sparse pizz notes is "a ton"? :o Or do you mean the percussion?

Quote from: 'CheeseLord' pid='593' dateline='1279304751'
But apart from that, it's pretty awesome...where was that pan flute like articulation from?? :D


Thanks, glad you like it!

The flute FX is from ProjectSAM, can't recall the name of the file off the top of my head.
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West on July 17, 2010, 09:47:27 PM
Reply #3

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An update

I know it's very short but I don't think it's a good idea keeping up that loop-driven rhythm for much longer than a couple of minutes. So I'm going to just let the rhythmic part end and then continue with something very slow and sparse and rubato (though of course reprising some chords and melodies from the first part). You know, some cinematic landscape of detached phrases fading in and out.

That way we can loop the whole tune if needed without it sounding mindlessly repetitive.
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Lastmerlin on July 18, 2010, 07:35:33 PM
Reply #4

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I also found time to listen to it now and have to say, very nice work (as always). For me, this seems the right music for the early regions, that are not too dangerous. Although the music fits to a region with some fights, its still a rather friendly athmosphere in my opinion (so imminent is a bit exaggerated ). Mysterious is another adjectiv that came into my mind while listening.

By the way, I have posted some guide how to test music ingame. If you convert the file to .ogg, you can easily try it out ingame. This way you can try out, if the music *fits*. The game automatically loop the soundfile, so the question if looping sounds good or not is automatically examined too ^^
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West on July 20, 2010, 10:37:18 PM
Reply #5

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Quote from: 'Lastmerlin' pid='601' dateline='1279478133'

I also found time to listen to it now and have to say, very nice work (as always).


Thanks!

Quote from: 'Lastmerlin' pid='601' dateline='1279478133'
For me, this seems the right music for the early regions, that are not too dangerous. Although the music fits to a region with some fights, its still a rather friendly athmosphere in my opinion (so imminent is a bit exaggerated ).


Yes, you're right. When I started working on it it felt much more scary, now that I've digested it for a few days it sounds different. Almost jazzy in places (which is scary in a way, I suppose :P) and not overly threatening. I still think it's good generic gameplay music though. We can't have only dark, dissonant, scary music.

Quote from: 'Lastmerlin' pid='601' dateline='1279478133'
Mysterious is another adjectiv that came into my mind while listening.


I definitely see what you mean. Harry Potter is two words that came into my mind. There is something with that descending chromatic melody that makes me think of Harry Potter, especially when the strings are playing it. Have I borrowed something again?

Quote from: 'Lastmerlin' pid='601' dateline='1279478133'
By the way, I have posted some guide how to test music ingame. If you convert the file to .ogg, you can easily try it out ingame. This way you can try out, if the music *fits*. The game automatically loop the soundfile, so the question if looping sounds good or not is automatically examined too ^^


Yup, you told me all about that over IRC a while back. Very nifty, but I still think it's easier just loading the tracks I want to audition into Foobar and having it run in the background while I'm playing ;)
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West on July 22, 2010, 10:03:01 PM
Reply #6

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Updated version. I'm not sure what's changed since last time, I've tinkered with it on and off so I don't quite remember :)

Also, here's something I've been working on in parallell. As mentioned I was going to string the two pieces together, but for several reasons I think it might be better to keep them separate. This is a slower, darker tune in the same key and with some variations on stuff in the first part.

Neither piece is finished yet, just keeping you posted.
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hal9000 on July 23, 2010, 05:24:09 PM
Reply #7

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Quote from: 'West' pid='632' dateline='1279832581'

..also, here's something I've been working on in parallell..


yeah this one gives me a more "imminent danger" feeling..really nice work
« Last Edit: July 23, 2010, 05:24:44 PM by hal9000 »
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West on July 24, 2010, 09:27:24 AM
Reply #8

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Quote from: 'hal9000' pid='639' dateline='1279902249'
yeah this one gives me a more "imminent danger" feeling..really nice work


Thanks hal9000. And yeah, this tune is definitely more dangerous-sounding. I'm going to have to rethink the title of both pieces though.

Updated version of Imminent Danger II

Structurally, it's finished. In terms of dynamics, mixing and a myriad other details, a lot of work still remains.
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kalimgard on July 27, 2010, 06:53:17 PM
Reply #9

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I'm back from learn-for-exams-land and was just listening to the two tracks. They both give me kind of an oriental feeling.

If the first one was ready this moment, I'd play it in the council dungeon from the tutorial. I agree it is good for the first regions, and regions deemed "less dangerous" in general.

The second... well, to me it sounds like the aftermath of something terrible. Like coming home and finding your village burnt - danger looming over you, but nothing physicaly there.
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West on July 31, 2010, 11:32:07 PM
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Quote from: 'kalimgard' pid='652' dateline='1280253197'

They both give me kind of an oriental feeling.


Yes, the melodies and progressions do have a slight oriental feel, which was not entirely intentional. Meaning, I didn't write those themes with the intention of making something oriental-sounding, but when it did turn out that way I didn't go out of my way trying to change it as I liked the mysterious feel.

Technically it's not oriental though. AFAIK I'm not using any typical oriental scales, it's all very modal and floating. I think the oriental feel comes from the slightly odd chord progressions and chromatic melodies. We westerners usually associate such things with "oriental" music :)

Quote from: 'kalimgard' pid='652' dateline='1280253197'
The second... well, to me it sounds like the aftermath of something terrible. Like coming home and finding your village burnt - danger looming over you, but nothing physicaly there.


Nice interpretation! I didn't have something quite that specific in mind when writing it, but you're absolutely right that it would work great for such a scene.
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Trilby on August 08, 2010, 05:08:55 PM
Reply #11

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I've listened to both these, and others. The theme you've created for Sumwars,  refrains strongly here without crowding the separate compositions, which is fantastic. The work feels to have a narrative quality (Peer Gynt et al).  I'd feel at home listening to these pieces away from the game just as much I would during play and knit well together. I don't really have much to add besides that this work is really gripping.

I would agree with Kalimgaard, that first would work excellently for the tutorial. I feel it has the right pace and unsettling quirkiness that matches the environment for "Windpaw's" abode.

The second, I don't picture as being quite so traumatic as has been suggested, but has a clear forboding/enchanted quality. It actually puts me in mind of Danny Elfman (Or more specifically his music :P) And would work well for the journey into the Goblin infested wildernesses.

I look forward to listening to the progression on the main theme as well, to match development of these.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2010, 05:09:11 PM by Trilby »
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Lastmerlin on August 08, 2010, 09:55:04 PM
Reply #12

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Today I took some time for actually playing the game (I intended to work on it, but somehow got stuck with *playtesting*). One thing I noticed when entering the first region with music was, that the improvement in athmosphere is enourmous. On the other hand, the lack of music after moving to a region without any music again was horrible. At the moment we have only one piece of music (Dark_Exploration) but somehow I still did not experience it as very repetitive. One reason might be, that most region have no music, so if there is music, its always a positive contrast. By the way, Dark_Exploration really fits for caves.

Based on this experience I propose, that we assign each region some music as soon as we have two or three different pieces. I know, that this might not always meet you expectations in diversity and how good the music *fits*. But after this experience I am convinced that as soon as we have some regions with music, having some without is really not a good idea. We can still replace music pieces or extend the track lists later.

By the way, another negative aspect was: As soon as you have music, the missing sounds are even more noticable. If the programs produces some acoustical output, you intuitively just expect, that you can hear the spells and kills and so on. Its no big problem but rather natural, that good content in one area calls attention to the gaps in another one...
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West on August 10, 2010, 04:33:42 PM
Reply #13

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Trilby: Thanks, I'm glad you like the music! You're actually not the first one to mention Danny Elfman when hearing my stuff, and I definitely take it as a compliment. Can't say I've listened actively to any of his work but being a Burton fan (or, well, used to be) I have certainly been exposed to his music a lot.

Lastmerlin: I would definitely be willing to add one piece of music for each region as soon as we have a few tracks reaqdy. You're absolutely right that once one region has music, the following needs to have music too or the atmosphere will go poof. Give me a week or so to wrap up the stuff I'm working on, and I'll have at least three pieces to put in the game (not counting the main menu music). Or maybe even four:

Stand Your Ground is a new tune I started working on yesterday. Maybe it's a bit too dramatic to be used as general gameplay music -- perhaps it's more suitable for a boss fight? As always when I post something new, this is very rough. The intro is a big "dunno" and the timing of the following part is abysmal. Just curious to hear what you think of it.

Edit: I forgot to mention that I have also updated the other tunes (mainly just mix edits) and renamed some of them. "Imminent Danger I" is now called "Treacherous Paths" and "Imminent Danger II" is called "Tread Lightly", the names chosen to reflect the relation between the pieces. "Lament" is now called "Main Title". Just a heads-up to avoid confusion.

If anyone can think of a better title for Stand Your Ground, be my guest.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2010, 09:54:06 PM by West »
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Trilby on August 10, 2010, 10:05:34 PM
Reply #14

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"Stand your Ground" sounds pretty fun so far. The bombastic part immediately came across as more of a Superhero's soundtrack. Personally I like that though. :angel:

I think you're right, that the piece would find a home in some heroic deed, a boss fight or a specific combative plot event.
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