Music For Video Game Streaming, Part II

In the first part of this blog series, I talked about the streamer subculture and significant figures that have risen to notoriety. I looked at the common genres of music used, and discussed some key issues that have started to be connected to the niche activity. This blog will look more deeply into one of those problems, the use of automatic filtering, which is a game-changer for many users. I want to explore the creative, economical, and philosophical implications of this technology in more detail, and suggest possible solutions.

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Music For Video Game Streaming, Part I

A background of background music in video game videos

A gaming subculture, video game streaming, has emerged that involves a fluid interaction between games, people, and music. It has been made possible through advancements in computing power and streaming technology, the development of games that can be played through the internet, and readily accessible music. If you’re from an older generation, you might think it’s loopy to watch other people play video games for fun. People of Generation Y (roughly born 1980-2000) – my generation – still mainly play conventional computer games in conventional social settings. Some are engaged in localised gaming communities, usually amongst a group of friends. Others get involved in amateur and professional societies and competitions, such as Super Smash Bros-playing groups, popular throughout the UK. More often, early-Generation Y-ers are less willing to broadcast our interactions with others. Only a select few feel confident enough in this artform to build on online subculture around it.

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Music style and genre in Indie and Jam Games

Video game music comes in a variety of forms, widened by the wealth of mixed media that comprise games themselves — gameplay, music, storytelling, game theory, art design, VR, etc. — which amount to an exuberant tapestry. As the video game industry increases its breadth and appeal, game music (and the games themselves) must become highly eclectic. In this post, we examine the use of music in indie and game jam games, looking at the niches and subcultures that exist therein.

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Sounding Emotional: How Timbre Choices Affect Emotion in Music

We all experience music almost every day that gives rise to various emotions, though commercials, films, games or our personal connection with our favorite album. It is commonly known informally that major keys make happier melodies than minor keys, and different scales and performative elements can make music sound more sad or happy, depending on the characteristics of those elements.

But what is it about the sound of a low legato cello that makes it more sad than a high jumpy melody on a marimba? In this post, we take a look at how sounds can evoke emotions, starting with its building blocks.

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What do VR Users and Gamers think of Music? [Survey Results]

We’ve conducted a number of studies in games and interactive media to understand what people think about music and interactive media.

Our main goal was to get received opinion on current music solutions, to understand thoughts on interactive and adaptive music, to know what people might want in terms of these ideas and to look at how they see Melodrive as fitting in with these aspirations. We wanted to get at underlying issues such as: Are music solutions too limited and repetitive at present? Do people want to be involved and create music themselves? Does interactive music enhance interactive experiences and gaming? We put together a survey that asked questions focussing on these topics.

We submitted the survey to popular forums and social media, such as VR/gaming subreddits and Facebook groups. We gave attention to gamers and those interested in VR, such as players of Roblox (a game creation platform), and enthusiasts of social VR platforms, such as High Fidelity and VRChat.

We gathered lots of interesting data, much of which bodes well for the prospects of interactive and adaptive music. We compiled 179 respondents data from four demographics: Gamers + VR/AR users, Roblox gamers, and High Fidelity and VRChat communities.

Let’s look at the results a bit closer!

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#EmoJam2: The Speakers, The Special Guests, and The Winners

A couple of weeks ago, on a beautiful Berlin summer’s day, the Melo-team set up shop for what was to turn out to be perhaps the bestest hack weekend ever: #EmoJam2. With a dollop of luck that we didn’t include in our plans, we successfully brought together VR gurus, music tech experts, designers, musicians, and emotional beings in one space to join forces for a chillingly good dash of problem-solving and artistic collaboration. The inter-field love was blossoming; all attendees left their egos, but not their pride, at the door. One of our attendees, journalist Topper Sherwood, gauged the atmosphere perfectly, if you’ll permit me to paraphrase: the hack permitted a bridge between disciplines, giving opportunity for people to engage in each other’s specialities; allowing artist and scientist to join together in sweet harmony.

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A Brief History of Machine-Assisted Music in Video Games

At Melodrive we are constantly trying to push the limits of the sonic and musical experience in modern games and particularly in the next generation of VR immersion. But game audio has come a long way since the early frontier days of tapes and cartridges, and in this post we take some time to look back at the history of machine-assisted, machine-generated or procedural music, highlighting its many challenges and innovations with respect to some key examples.

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#EmoJam VR Hack Winners

#EmoJam VR Hack Winners!

We’ve just wrapped up a weekend of VR hacking with #EmoJam in San Francisco! We had a fantastic speaker line-up, and really interesting conversations all weekend long. We would like to thank our main sponsor, ARVR Academy, for supporting us, and Microsoft Reactor in SF for hosting us!

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Announcing the #EmoJam Hackathon

19th-20th May, Microsoft Reactor, San Francisco CA

Emotions, music and VR are central to what we do at Melodrive. That’s why we’ve decided to organise #EmoJam, a weekend dedicated to hacking emotion, VR, games and music. We have envisaged a hackathon that addresses perhaps the most salient problem for interactive storytelling, AI, and VR: emotion. Emotion is a notorious puzzle for just about any field that deals with the mind/brain. It is clear that we have emotions to help us survive in the world. Without these, we would certainly be a different, although perhaps nonetheless intelligent machine. On the whole, it seems that we are not usually just interested in what intelligence is and how to model it, but we’re specifically interested in a particular brand of intelligence, namely human intelligence. And emotion plays a large part in that.

 

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Ludo2018: A Journey into Video Game Music

Not more than a Herculean stone throw away from the wonderful and iconic St Thomas Church, where Bach composed tons of sleek cantatas, lies the stately Hochschule fuer Musik und Theater, the regal setting of the video game musicology conference, Ludo2018. This is one of the field’s foremost annual meets, and took place last weekend (13-15 April) in Leipzig. The Ludo conference was errichtet by the first (and in my opinion, the best) research group in ludomusicology, the Ludomusicology Research Group, the Venerable Elders of which, Michiel Kamp, Tim Summers, Melanie Fritsch, and Mark Sweeney, drop scholars in wonderful locations in the UK and Europe to study what anyone in their right mind would love – music in video games, its history and its impact. Leipzig is a place of great historical, scientific, and artistic significance. Let’s see: Bach, Mendelssohn, Wagner, Goethe, Leibniz, etc., all have strong associations with this place (and ‘etc.’ means a lot in this context).

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