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1048097 Posts in 42493 Topics- by 34375 Members - Latest Member: Orearrythe

October 02, 2014, 12:25:50 AM
TIGSource ForumsDeveloperCreativeAudioInteractive/Adaptive/Dynamic Musicians?
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Blink
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« on: January 28, 2013, 02:54:32 AM »

Hello TIGAudio!

I'm just starting to learn more about adaptive/dynamic/interactive music. I have a tab open with an article on dynamic music that I intend to read, and I've been trying to learn the right terminology. I'm really not sure where to start though, but I'd especially love the opportunity to work with someone who does do music that changes based on the context, or is generated procedurally even (although I don't expect anyone is going that far yet with the field). The only places I know of to find this stuff are Koji Kondo's Zelda work, Grant Kirkhope's Banjo Kazooie soundtrack, and Austin Wintory on Journey, so if anyone has any tips for more indie composers or people who post their own work to Newgrounds/YouTube/Soundcloud, I'd love to learn!

EDIT: And I just realized that anyone posting their stuff on Newgrounds/YouTube/Soundcloud is still doing linear music. Tongue So I guess I need to learn of websites for interactive music too...
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GavinHarrisonSounds
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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2013, 03:17:43 AM »

Well, it's an area I'd love the chance to actually get into as a musician!
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sublinimal
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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2013, 03:23:33 AM »

I'm definitely interested in the topic of interactive music. As much as I love VGM, not all games benefit from constant background noise. My execution tends to be more in the Half-Life 2 vein, where music is triggered by events, but the tracks themselves are pre-recorded.

Now, interactive tracks are a different beast. I figure tracker modules would be ideal for that, since they're rendered on the fly. It takes understanding of tracker architecture and the skills to write a fitting player, but you can do more with them than with mp3s.
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GavinHarrisonSounds
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« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2013, 03:29:05 AM »

Usually it's much more simple than that, as in you have several different audio tracks all at the same tempo and in the same key but which can be mixed in and out to reflect different dynamics in the game play.
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PythonBlue
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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2013, 05:43:50 AM »

My first ever upfront-paid project (and only such project at this time) just so happened to involve this kind of soundtrack. Never used trackers, so the best advice I can give, if one doesn't use a tracker, is to have the base and its stems all in one DAW project to avoid imperfect looping especially, then mute whatever you need to when bouncing in order to have a recording of a base or one of its stems.

I'll temporarily upload the base and stems I wrote for the demo of said project of mine to give you guys an idea.

http://soundcloud.com/sgtyayap404/base-1-with-stems/s-vQUul

All was done with one DAW project. What you hear first is the base, followed by each stem.

As for soundtracks that use them, not sure if this qualifies due to the fact that the stems play randomly instead of looping with the base, but I loved the soundtracks by Presto Studios, especially for Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of Time, and Myst III: Exile.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2013, 06:10:14 AM by PythonBlue » Logged

Blink
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« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2013, 07:10:44 PM »

I did not know Presto did Myst III! I only just finished the first Journeyman Project game, but I have the other two sitting here waiting for me. Sounds like I have an extra excuse to play these games now...

So your DAW is your workspace, what's a tracker though? Again, I'm very new to all this, so apologies for not having much to go off of here! I do understand that multiple tracks with raising and lowering volumes is simpler though, but I had not thought of the HL2 style as interactive (although it definitely is triggered, so that makes sense). Thanks subliminal!

Very pretty btw, PythonBlue, and I loved the drums kicking in. I can definitely hear the Journeyman influence in there choir-like section Smiley

And Gavin: Link me to some of your work! Perhaps I can give some of your music a home.
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GavinHarrisonSounds
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« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2013, 02:47:40 AM »

Here is some of my work:

https://soundcloud.com/gavinharrison/sets/gavin-harrison-sounds

Smiley
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krasse
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« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2013, 03:59:29 AM »

I made this a while ago when I was interested in interactive music. Not sure if it is useful for you though Smiley
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PythonBlue
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« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2013, 09:27:39 AM »

Thanks for the comments on my music, Blink! Smiley Hope I was able to help you out, too.
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boneyardaudio
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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2013, 07:12:20 AM »

Hi Blink, adaptive music is fairly common these days in video games - in it's most basic form (as I'm sure you've noticed) it could simply be triggering boss music, or increasing the tempo of the music when running out of time (such as in Super Mario).

Banko-Kazooie and Ocarina of Time are two games that made very early use of adaptive music and I always wondered why more games at the time didn't - I suppose you could call them pioneers.

A great example of very effective dynamic music is Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. This was made using the technique mentioned above by others, by layering up several versions of the same piece, and fading between them depending on the current game state, or situation.

This approach is convenient and fairly simple to implement, as all it requires is several different variations of the same piece, at the same tempo, and the ability to crossfade between them.

Here's a clip of my own work using this technique: https://soundcloud.com/boneyardaudio/adaptive-example/s-ipKcT

You can hear the game state transition from 'calm', into 'enemies', into 'hiding', and finally into 'boss' (the clip isn't 100% perfect but should give you an idea).

The other technique for creating adaptive music is to create many short clips or sections (for example, passages that are four bars in length) and allow the software to string the sections together to make up the music. Each clip may be categorised as either 'A' or 'B', for example, and the game engine can be told to select and play clips from either category in sequence e.g. A-A-B-A-A-B. This way, the soundtrack will be non-linear and different every time, but remain structured.

When the game changes state (say, from 'calm' to 'stressed'), the audio engine can also decide to change to a new set of music clips that relate to the new state, and may play a transitional clip (e.g. a two bar section with a drum fill and build-up) that leads into the new state.

Once the game state changes back to 'calm', the engine can play another transitional clip and return to it's original set of 'calm' music sections. Note that there is only ever one layer of music playing at a time (apart from crossfades that may be necessary to retain reverb tails for smooth transitions between sections).

I believe 'Tomb Raider: Legend' used this technique (although I've not played it) but I'm not aware of any other games that have.

Audiokinetic WWISE is a great (free) tool that allows you to do either method of adaptive music. They have a great online resource section as well, to help you learn how to use the software. Worth a look.

Feel free to PM me if you want to chat further. By the way - a tracker is a type of DAW that was very popular in the 90s.

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« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2013, 09:51:16 AM »

You might also want to check Fmod (also free), an alternative to Wwise.
Here's a couple of examples of Fmod in action:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLMbBh0tFGg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOyag-LvhxM

Cheers!
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Jose Mora-Jimenez - Composer
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MoritzPGKatz
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« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2013, 04:01:10 AM »

You might also want to check Fmod (also free), an alternative to Wwise.
Watch out - FMOD's not exactly free. There's a free-to-use non-commercial license, though.
Refer to the Sales page on their website.

Cheers,
Moritz
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Here's my SoundCloud - currently showcasing OSTs from 6 different games, crappy live jazz piano, and some other neat stuff.
My day job is composer/tonmeister at The German Wahnsinn
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« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2013, 04:23:14 AM »

You're right Moritz, I meant it's free to download and try it out, just like Wwise you need to buy a license if your planning to sell your game.
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Jose Mora-Jimenez - Composer
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« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2013, 11:30:03 AM »

Hey Blink!
I wrote my dissertation on dynamic music in games, so I've spent a fair amount researching it. Have a look at The Secret of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge as a fantastic, early example of dynamic music using MIDI & the iMUSE system: http://www.1up.com/features/imuse-secret-organic-music. 1Up, of all places, have a good article with video examples. An interview with Jesse Harlin & Wilbert Roget, sound designers of the recent remake, elaborate on the monumental task of trying to produce the same effects using pre-recorded music: http://mixnmojo.com/features/interviews/Jesse-Harlin-and-Wilbert-Roget/1.
Indie games are a great place to look for cutting-edge techniques and approaches to music. Chime by ZoŽ Mode is a great puzzle game that triggers samples and layers of music as the player progresses.

If you're interested my dissertation can be viewed here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_9zg4qhPQceeXF4d0FKdDZMamc/edit
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mrfunkyland
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« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2013, 05:57:55 PM »

If you're interested my dissertation can be viewed here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_9zg4qhPQceeXF4d0FKdDZMamc/edit

Very cool! Bookmarked for reference!
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