Tag: video game music (page 1 of 2)

#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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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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A Glimpse into Video Game and VR Music from a Music Theorist’s Perspective

As a music theorist, and a new member of the Melodrive team, I’m fascinated about how music in video games and VR has evolved and continues to evolve today. This is important to me because it concerns how music has changed in terms of its organisation and sophistication over the years. It is clear, even to someone who is a casual gamer like myself, that the aesthetic significance and evolution of video game music are critical concerns for the history of music, and demand serious attention. Particularly so since from an academic perspective at least, the genre is a little more niche than it deserves to be.

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A Beautiful Song: The Adaptive Music of NieR: Automata

There is something special about NieR: Automata. Developed by Platinum Games and released in 2017, NieR: Automata is a sequel to the cult classic game NieR (Cavia, 2010). Set thousands of years in the future, NieR: Automata is an action role playing game where the player takes control of androids 2B, 9S and A2. Their aim is to rid the earth of alien machines and pave the way for the last humans, who have settled on the moon, to return to earth. Keichii Okabe, the composer for NieR/NieR: Automata and the Drakengard series, uses adaptive music rescored from previous games with aims to induce emotions within the player-character connection.

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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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8 Outstanding Adaptive Music Soundtracks

We’re always thinking of great examples of game soundtracks here at Melodrive HQ. We decided to come up with our own personal list of the best-of-the-best when it comes to adaptive music in games.

If you’re not sure what we mean when we say ‘adaptive music’, you should check out one of our previous posts, where we talked about the idea in some detail. TL;DR, adaptive music is dynamic and ever-changing. It reacts to the player and the game to intensify the immersion and emotion in the game, and (hopefully) improves their experience.

By the way, this list is just in chronological order and by no means ranks the games.

Without further ado, here’s the list!

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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 Choose the Right Music Genre for the Soundtrack of a Video Game

It might seem a like simple process, but picking the right music genre for a game soundtrack is a challenging task. The musical styles are almost infinite: free jazz, fusion, epic rock, late romantic, Gregorian,  gypsy folk; to list just a few options available. Should you use a traditional classical orchestral style for your new RPG game or should you try an unexpected solution like trance music? As we know, music can make or break a game and the genre plays a major part in the process. In this article, I’ll give you some guidelines,  inspired by the great book A Composer’s Guide to Game Music written by Winfred Phillips, on how to pick a music genre for your game that will (hopefully) resonate with your players. Before delving into this, let’s have a short detour on game genres, which, as we’ll see, are deeply intertwined with music genres.

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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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