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Reader Comments (12)

Posted: Feb 5th 2008 8:08AM (Unverified) said

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I strongly disagree with you. In-game music is very important for my enjoyment of a game.

I couldn't imagine setting foot in Ironforge or Thunder Bluff without the original music. The same applies for LotRO.

I compare this to a movie : would you watch one without music at all? Or watch the LotR (Or any other, this is just an example) on The Beatles?

Posted: Feb 5th 2008 8:25AM (Unverified) said

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I am with you. I find game music boring and a nuisance. Quite often it can be a major drag on the system.

Posted: Feb 5th 2008 8:35AM (Unverified) said

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Wait, what? There's *music*?

Actually for the sake of the rest of my family, I kill the music first thing, and I don't think I've ever remembered to turn it back on on the occasions that I was alone and could listen with impunity. For those occasions I have a pile of music tracks on random shuffle.

Posted: Feb 5th 2008 11:34AM Ghen said

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Having Bjork and Enya on shuffle isn't doing your family any favors ;)
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Posted: Feb 5th 2008 8:43AM fanguad said

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I'm in the same boat as you. I bought the FFXI soundtrack collection, but don't listen to in-game music. The major reason is that I've listened to it all about 500 times through by now.

Posted: Feb 5th 2008 9:56AM (Unverified) said

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In every game I've ever owned, I've turned off the in game music...with one exception. WoW. I seem to always leave that one on, and I'm not sure why.

Posted: Feb 5th 2008 10:19AM eriksagen said

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Necessary? Sure. It adds to the atmosphere and overall aesthetic to the game. The only downside is that, as others mentioned, it can become repetitive or boring because once you've grown accustomed to the sounds it isn't fresh anymore.

I will say that unlike others I still enjoy WoW's music, even after playing off and on for 2 years.

Posted: Feb 5th 2008 10:53AM (Unverified) said

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I only kill the music if it gets too repetitive or if it's disruptive to say, voice chat.

I like games like City of Heroes that play a little music when you enter a new zone/area/instance, and then fade it out so you can focus on the fighting. I know many CoH players that get hit by a wave of nostalgia whenever they walk under the Atlas statue, and hear that little AP jingle play.

Posted: Feb 5th 2008 11:37AM Ghen said

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Some games... Very few games... do music well enough to listen to non-stop every day.

World of Warcraft is not one of those games. No matter how good the music is, having it playing all the time will make you go bat crap insane.

I prefer music systems that play a 30 second to 2 minute theme maybe once an hour, and hopefully when something exciting is happening for it to accentuate.

Music that corresponds to in game scenes is absolutely necessary for current gen games, there's just no excuse anymore. Look at how movies time the music perfectly to whats going on in the scene, there you don't even notice the music it just adds to the emotions. Since gaming technology has reached the point where that is possible then it should and must happen.

Posted: Feb 5th 2008 11:51AM (Unverified) said

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Microsoft's DirectMusic API (part of DirectX) is supposed to do exactly that. It doesn't seem to be much in use. I remember a couple games using it's features for a year or so after it came out, but that was a decade ago now.
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Posted: Feb 6th 2008 8:35AM (Unverified) said

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As a media composer working in the field of music for games and virtual worlds this post is especially interesting to me.

I think Akela, and many of the people who have left comments here are correct in that the presence of music can sometimes distract in some games / environments. For instance, in a highly intense reaction / skill based game like Team Fortress 2 .. music is straight off for me. Indeed some companies dont even provide in game music for games like that.

But the analogy to film is useful, and the emotional leverage that a "score" of that kind can bring cannot be underestimated. One good example of this is Leon Willetts "Dreamfall" score. Of course many films do not use music at all - in some senses similar to the "documentary" nature of a game like "Day of Defeat".

However film is a generally a linear art form, where as in games music definitely needs to adapt and reflect the activity going on. This is relatively easy to do with single player experiences, but far harder to actively create a shared multi user non linear soundtrack.

For me this is perhaps one of the most exciting areas in all music at the moment. The various projects I am currently involved with - some in Second Life - attempt to tackle these challenges.

In the official presence of Mexico in Second Life, I am trying to create a soundtrack that has some non linear elements, and is relevant to the area you are visiting. Here a soundtrack can bring a real extra dimension, especially in a virtual tourism type environment where a sort of "concentrated" cultural experience is desirable.

More extensively, in the recently released PARSEC project, I worked with Eshi Otawara and Chase Marellan to create a giant instrument playable by 7 avatars using just their voice. Here the soundtrack responds directly to the conversation happening between the participants.

In general I'm all for the use of bespoke music that enhances immersion, but definitely recognise the times when music just isnt appropriate at all.

Posted: Feb 5th 2008 10:28PM Ghen said

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More power to you =)
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