Creating games where MUSIC and SOUND are the foci?

Discussion in 'Feedback Requests' started by appleTRON, May 27, 2005.

  1. appleTRON

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    I'm new here. Hello.

    I am looking to communicate and share thoughts with people who want to see more titles where a game's music and sound is its featured point. I'm talking about rhythm titles, yeah, but also about music licensing opporunities and the chance to instill musical value in its players.

    Composers, sound designers, programmers, fans of DDR or Amplitude or PaRappa, and anyone interested in talking about game audio, I'm interested in talking with you and hearing your views.

    Thanks.

    -appleTRON
     
  2. Abscissa

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    I don't have much to say right now (I'm a bit brain-fried at the moment), but I will say I *loved* Frequency, but didn't like the directions Harmonix took it with Amplitude. Oh, yea, and Rez is awesome :D.

    Donkey Konga was a missed opportunity: it would have been great if they had songs that actually made sense for bongos, but instead they crammed it full of pop, oldies, and kids songs that were all completely unfit for bongo drumming. Where's the jungle music?! (Heck, I'd have even settled settled for the J-Pop of the original non-localised soundtrack.)

    EDIT: Oh, and hello and welcome to the board :D
     
  3. papillon

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    ... do I hear a PC port of Rez? C'mon, you know you want to... :)
     
  4. Anthony Flack

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    Damn right! Making a game is a good excuse to have some fun with musical experimentation. A game is also an interesting platform to launch music projects that don't really fit anywhere normal.
     
  5. Jeff Evertt

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    I'm a big fan of integrating music into gameplay. I think that it can really pull the player into the game. My last game, Global Defense Network, I'm calling a rhythm action shooter. The levels are timed to the music. From the feedback I've gotten, a lot of the people who purchased the game really got it. I'm going in a fairly different direction on the one I'm currently working on, but I'm planning on having a music based section of the game - one of the things I've been thinking about is a rhyming game.

    -Jeff
    www.evertt.com
     
  6. appleTRON

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    Thank you for the welcome.

    I'm interested in the specific directions you are referring to here in regards to Amplitude. I thought it was a marked improvement over Frequency in many ways and the new visual style helped to eliminate some of the vertigo associated with long playing sessions.

    What are your beefs?

    -aT
     
  7. appleTRON

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    I will be checking that out as soon as I am able, Jeff ... I like where your head's at.

    -aT
     
  8. Martoon

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    There are many "undiscovered" bands out there that are very talented and have a nice sound. Since they don't have any kind of record deal, they don't make any money (other than the paltry sum they might get from local clubs and bars, and the occasional CD they might sell at these locations).

    I've always thought it could be a great cross-promotional opportunity to do some kind of rythm or music game featuring one of these bands. Copies of the game could help the band sell CD's, and vice versa. I'm sure you could get one of these bands interested in an arrangement where you wouldn't need to pay for the music, since your game would be promoting their CD's. Of course, you'd want the in-game music encoded in such a way that the casual user couldn't just rip it from the game. If the player got hooked on the songs in the game, they'd need to buy a CD if they wanted to listen to it outside of the game.
     
  9. appleTRON

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    Marty,

    This here's a great idea and I've been thinking about something like it myself. With new distribution mediums for artists like Myspace Music and games like Tony Hawk (okay, I know we're talking indie here but it illustrates a point), it makes a lot of sense for unsigned acts to essentially offer their tracks on commission. If those tracks are interactive, all the better. I remember buying a full album by the band Quarashi after hearing one of their tunes in a game. Besides an excellent cross-promotional tool, a really great and innovative title could come out of it.

    Let's talk more about this.

    -aT
     
    #9 appleTRON, May 27, 2005
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2005
  10. prozero

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    I think that music in games like Tony Hawk is completely different from music in "Music Games". The so-called "Bands playing in bars" (cf Martoon's post) can actually make background musics for games (tony hawk-like), and eventually get known this way. But music used for the gameplay (DDR-like) must usually be made especially for it, by people knowing not only music but also "music games".
    Anyway, I'm a big fan of music games (DDR, O2Jam, Gitarooman... just bought Daigasso!Band Brothers on DS) and would be pleased to see a new one being developed :)
    I was thinking of developing a music game some time ago but I really think it is extremely hard to have good songs for these kind of games (and you usually need quite a lot).
     
  11. Diragor

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    Not really true at all. Many existing, recognizable songs are used in music games. I remember playing a game for the Dreamcast that comes with electronic maracas. It worked pretty much like DDR, where there are icons on the screen telling you when and in what direction to shake the things. I recognized many of the songs; one of them was a Ricky Martin song.
     
  12. prozero

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    Maracas only need to get a rythm, so you're right, it may work with virtually anything. And there are also some commercial songs in some DDR. I remember playing a music game with Mozart's melody but slightly adapted to the game. Quite a lot of JPOP (japanese pop) songs are used in DDR too.
    So yes, basically, it's possible to use "standard" music for music games, but I still don't think it gives the best results in terms of gameplay.
     
  13. appleTRON

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    Yes, but these, too still need to be dissected into rhythmic patterns and song forms before actually being realized in-game. SO, even if the track was not "made for" the game, it has to essentially be "re-made for" the game in some way.

    -aT
     
  14. Kaos

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    ah yes the music beat challenge etc, game, well I can honestly say that it hasnt been done to death and still has alot of untapped potential in the game market, game MUST be multiplayer, hmmm perhaps a chance to get in on this "mouse party" software concept created by Reflexive, would like to see more games utilize this concept.

    in multiplayer games, keyboard controls are a hassle so either joypad control or mouse, I once broke a keyboard in a multiplayer game that used the keyboard, seems when in battle, sharing a keyboard, really doesnt work.
     
  15. Anthony Flack

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    While I agree that in this sort of game, using existing tracks is fine, I also really felt that using Ricky Martin and Chumbawumba etc really brought Samba De Amigo down. Painfully cheesy and it's dated very, very badly. The music realy spoiled it for me.

    Now, if they had've used some good honest mariachi music or similar, it would have been a blast. But of course they would never do that.

    So what I'm getting at is, the music really needs to be a good match, and I wish people would be bolder with their choices. If you already have a band in mind, you'd probably want to design the feel of the game around their sound. If you already have a game idea, you can usually find something interesting to go with it, but it might take a bit of searching. A really strong, yet unusual soundtrack can do all kinds of good things.
     
  16. appleTRON

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    Anthony,

    Who does your music @ Squashy?
    Do you have any plans for a music-based title?
     
  17. Abscissa

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    I'm guessing a lot of my beefs might be the very things you found to be improvements, since these are all so subjective, but these were my main issues:

    - The change to a non-tunnel gamefield had two problems: 1. It just wasn't nearly as fun and I didn't get the same "adreneline" feeling and 2. You couldn't move from the left-most track directly to the right-most track (and vice versa), which broke a lot of combos and broke the flow of the game. (The tunnel never really gave me the vertigo you mentioned.)

    - The system of track clearing/reappearing was changed and doesn't work as well, IMO. In Frequency, when you clear a track it's cleared for the rest of the section, and then comes back at the start of the next section (In general, anyway). But in Amplitude they're gone for a set number of measures regardless of section starts/ends (In general, again). This, combined with the lack of track wraparound I mentioned before, turned most of the game into a *very* methodical "start at left track, keep clearing each track until you reach the right edge, go back to the left, rinse, repeat."

    - The "Freqs" in Frequency were pretty cool, but the ones in Amplitude were just plain annoying (And they actually got *worse* in Antigrav - I ended up turning off voices completely, they really got on my nerves)

    - The song selection wasn't nearly as good - way too much pop/rock. (One exception: I was *very* suprised how well that Pink song seemed to work - I really don't like that song to listen to, but ironicaly it's one of my favorite to play.) But overall, I thought the songs in Frequency were much better, and much better suited to the style of gameplay.

    - Also related to song selection, the tempo of the songs in Amplitude tended to be much slower on average. Which made them much less exciting. Some of my favorite tracks in Frequency were the ultra-fast ones that were nearly 160bpm. But the "typical" song tempo in Amplitude was about the same speed as most of the slower-than-average songs in Frequency. Kinda dull, and you didn't get the same sense of "physical" speed and motion (which was also related to the lack of a tunnel).

    - The menu system in Frequency is one of the best I've seen since the 16-bit era. Very clean, very functional, and just looks nice. The menus in Amplitude are messy, noisy, cluttered, and just all over the place in their design. No clarity, no consistency, and none of the minimalism that I really admired in Frequency (I'm somewhat of a fan of Designer's Republic, if you know who they are).

    - The freestyle isn't nearly as fun. In Frequency it was much more, umm, just more "solid" and usable. You got a much better feeling that you were really doing something, and it seemed to just work. But it didn't feel like that in Amplitude. In Frequency, it just felt more "connected"...

    - In Frequency, it was nice to be able to keep playing a song in freestyle-mode after you finished it. That way, once you had fallen into a good groove with the song and had really gotten "into the zone", you didn't get yanked out of it until you felt like leaving. It was a nice touch.

    There were a few changes in Amplitude I did like though: The color-coded tracks were really helpful and the slow motion powerup was helpful as well. I also liked the combo-markers drawing attention to where you can continue a combo. And I didn't really miss the lack of arena selection - It was nice to be able to unlock them, but you never noticed them when you were playing anyway, so it didn't really matter.
     
  18. ChilledOut

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    As both a musician and a game developer, I'm very interested in games that involve music. I have a few concepts for games which directly incorporate music into the gameplay, but are not rhythm games. I'd also like to see more games which are not strictly music games incorporate small elements of the music into the gameplay, which is something I plan on doing in my future development.
     
  19. Anthony Flack

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    I've been playing in bands myself for some 15 years and have some experience with the technology side too. I didn't have anything to do with the music for Platypus, because I had already spent too long working on it and said "enough!", but I've recorded the music for Cletus myself.

    I haven't any plans for a music-based game right now, but I do want to take the opportunity to experiment with music in my games. With Cletus the music was largely dictated by the theme - lots of guitar and banjo picking - although I'm no bluegrass expert it was fun to try. In this case I felt it was important that everything was played on real acoustic instruments, which is in itself slightly unusual for a downloadable game. So one of the things about this project is I've had to devise strategies to get the maximum amount of music out of the smallest download.

    Future games might involve things like recording live improvised band sessions, or making a soundtrack entirely out of multitracked voices. Or doing the whole soundtrack on a bass guitar with no overdubs. Or it may be other people's music. For example, I have a friend who has a little side-project making these ambient guitar soundscapes, and I'd like to use them in a game one day. But it will have to wait for the right project.
     
  20. appleTRON

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    What language/engine would you use ...

    ... to create a game where cyclic timing and a precise musical "clock" is the core?

    What special considerations would arise in doing this?
     

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