Tag: music making

How Artificial Intelligence Can Augment Game Composers, Part 1

The famous entrepreneur Ray Kurzweil predicted that by 2029 brains will merge with machines, making people smarter than ever. Even if most of the time we don’t realise it, machines and artificial intelligence (AI) are already extending our capabilities.  Think of the last time you visited a website in a language you can’t speak. I would guess you understood its content anyway, thanks to the decent translation provided by Google.  What about the last time you asked an AI assistant (Siri, Alexa, Cortana etc.) to find information for you?

In this blog post series, I outline how AI can augment human composers.  In particular, I’ll touch on the techniques and the opportunities that AI opens to games composers for adaptive music.  (If you don’t know what adaptive music is, have a look at this post I wrote a few months ago for a brief introduction).  This first post is going to prepare the field, discussing some of the limitations composers face when working with adaptive music.

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Interview with Game Composer Guy Whitmore: “Adaptive music isn’t important for games, it’s mandatory!”

Last month, I had the honour of interviewing game composer Guy Whitmore. We shared ideas on video game music with a specific focus on the use of adaptive techniques in video games. He shared some great insights on the future of music making in video games. Guy has been around in the  video games industry for more than 20 years. He has specialised in adaptive music. You can say he’s an adaptive music evangelist and educator! For a quick introduction on adaptive music, check this post I wrote some time ago. Guy worked as an audio director and a composer for big companies like Electronic Arts and Microsoft but also as a freelancer. He’s the author of notable game scores like Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza, Shivers and Shogo. Next, you can read the content of our great chat.

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How to Plan the Soundtrack of a Video Game Effectively: A Guide to Music Conceptualisation

The first step to create a good score for a game is to conceptualise the music. Music conceptualisation can be compared to sketching the blueprint for a building. Before you get into the details of how to decorate the rooms of the building, you need to decide how many floors there are, the size of each floor and the number of rooms. Similarly, music conceptualisation is necessary to set the stylistic, creative and functional goals of the music before the composer starts working on the actual notes. Consider conceptualisation as a high-level music planning activity.

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What Makes a Great Melody? 7 Lessons Learned from UNDERTALE

When we listen to a melody, we’re usually able to understand if it sounds good or bad after just a few notes are played. The underlying cognitive processing employed to arrive at such an assessment – although extremely sophisticated – is carried out on an almost unconscious level. It all feels so natural that we don’t realise how many simultaneous elements are contributing to the overall experience. Indeed, a melody is a complex musical construct that involves many musical domains at once. There is pitch content involved, obviously. But a melody also comprises note durations, rhythmic and metrical elements, accents, structural relationships between the different subsets of the melody, articulations and dynamics.

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