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Music | BGS | ME usage

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How important is music and sound effects in your game?

 

I find that really good music can drive a scene forward. The excitement of a battle, the tragedy of losing someone,  the comedy escapades of your party. 

 

I think some of the more subtle sounds such as bgs of town chatter or forest wildlife is often missing from a lot of RPG projects.

 

Maybe its the technical implementation but I noticed that adding these subtle sounds can really add depth to a map and make it seem more alive.

 

I've also got a question on character themes and when do creators use them in their project?

 

I suppose the question to ask here is how does music, background sounds and event music implemented in your game and what style of music are you implementing for your project?

 

Classic example is the Aeris death without sound.

 

 

 

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Music should be important and appropriate in every game that has it. Music can be used to invoke feelings in the player, without the use of words or actions. I'll be using a few tracks from Valkyrie Profile to demonstrate a few things.

 

First, the tone of the game. Valkyrie Profile is dark. It takes place during Midgard's final moments, and it's your duty as the Valkyrie to gather strong souls in preparation for Ragnarok. The world is in a bad state, and it's very clear that everything is coming to an end. Here's the music that plays in most (if not all, I don't remember right now) of the villages in the game.

Just by the music alone, without any context for the rest of the game or the town or city's own troubles, you can tell that things are bad, and are only going to get worse.

 

However, despite the dire state of things, the game is about saving the world, and a lot of the tracks in the game want to remind you of this. This is essentially Valkyrie's theme, and it plays before every boss battle and whenever something awesome happens (usually due to Valkyrie being awesome).

The game sets you up to do great things with a very energetic and empowering theme. In fact, most of the game is like this; powerful, energizing music that makes you feel like you're making progress and kicking serious butt.

 

Placement of music is very important. Even not having any music in an area at all can be very effective in establishing a mood or an atmosphere. It's all about application, and learning to match the energy and feeling of a song to the area you're looking to set it in.

 

Since Valkyrie Profile is entirely about Valkyrie, her theme plays very often. However, in a game with multiple characters, be they party members or NPCs, knowing when to play their themes is important. If you're going to play their theme, it should be during a scene that's entirely about them, or what they stand for. I thought I had some examples for this, but I guess not.

 

This has been a bit of a wall of text, but I appreciate video game music, and the sort of science that's been built up around it's usage. It really makes me wish I had some musical talent, so I could make music, myself.

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I always thought the way music in games and probably movies too was a little interesting. I mean on the one hand, especially in movies, music tends to be used to inform the audience's mood. You play sad music when something sad happens and uplifting music when something uplifting happens, and when watching you get it into your head to feel sad or feel uplifted from the musical cues.

 

The funny thing is though, I don't think people talk about the music in movies nearly as much as in games, and I think part of that may be because for so long the same kind of subtle visual cues in movies (the camera work, the subtle acting,), and the kind of sound cues (the background effects, and especially voices) were mostly absent from video games. Musical cues picked up the slack, especially in RPGs and other games with in-depth story lines.

 

Of course I also heard people focus more on music in games because it's usually just more hummable as a result of focusing heavily on melody because of the limited number of notes that could play at once in early game systems. And yeah I can see that too... I love me some chiptunes. Honestly I just think game music just has more heart then most other music, maybe as a result on it's focus on enhancing mood. or it's focus on melody. I like it a heck of a lot better then anything on the radio that's for sure. Then again, if you listen to famous movie soundtracks like John Williams scores (Like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Jurassic Park) you kinda find the same kinda heavy focus on hummable melody and mood.

 

I also think it's interesting that games do this thing where, unlike movies, they constantly play music in the background. Music is used not only to inform the mood of events, but also the general ambient mood of places. Though I think as a result of this some people get tired of it rather quickly. There are so many people who seem to just mute game music and play their own. It's kind of a shame too, because some of the more powerful parts of some movies have no music at all, and I think more games have to be willing to use silence or ambiance when appropriate. If your making a horror game especially, or brutal scenes in a RPG.

 

I don't think games should inspire to be like movies of course. I kinda like how games do things. But if there is one area I suppose games could learn a bit about movies it's in some of the ways sound tends to work. Scenes like in a movie where people silently sit around a cackling campfire, or scenes where a character loses it and starts throwing things around the room, and all you can hear is the effects, or scenes when you are just out of sight of a searching monster and you can hear it's breathing. Or even quiet scenes without any sound at all. It's good to know when to use music and sound, but it's also good when to not use it, or use very little.

Edited by KilloZapit

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