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#32432 - 03/26/07 01:47 AM What sort of music do gamers want?
noelbruton Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 03/25/07
Posts: 81
Loc: Wales
Hello All,

I'm composing the music for the Arberth Studios project 'Rhiannon: Beyond the Mabinogion'. I'm looking for feedback on the sort of music gamers want.

Do players notice the music in a game? Do you find that it enhances the game experience or gets in the way, or something in between?

'Rhiannon' is essentially a horror story. So conventionally it will have scary, atmospheric background music. How do you feel about that?

But there's much much more than scariness in 'Rhiannon' - it is an involved story and the plot and puzzles are complex and layered - so I wondered about musical themes to reflect characters and episodes in the story. Is there a place in a horror game for orchestrated pieces with a strong melody? How would you feel about that?

If you've played them, what did you think of the music in 'Barrow Hill' or 'Scratches'?

And when playing the game, do players tend to use headphones or speakers?

We're thinking of offering for download an MP3 sampler of the game soundscape. Have you any comments on that idea?

Feel free to reply off-list if you prefer. Thanks for any input you can give me.

Noel Bruton
Game Engineer
Arberth Studios
info@arberthstudios.com
www.arberthstudios.com
_________________________
Developer, 'Rhiannon: Curse of the Four Branches'
http://www.arberthstudios.com

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#32433 - 03/26/07 07:27 AM Re: What sort of music do gamers want?
looney4labs Offline
GB Reviewer Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 42635
Loc: Alabama
Hi Noel, and Welcome to GameBoomers wave

I like music to set the tone and intensify the ambiance in a game. My favorite type of music is music I would listen to even if it weren't in the game.

Quote:
Do players notice the music in a game? Do you find that it enhances the game experience or gets in the way, or something in between?
I always notice the music. Music that loops repeatedly makes me nuts and I mute the computer so I can concentrate on the game.


Quote:
'Rhiannon' is essentially a horror story. So conventionally it will have scary, atmospheric background music. How do you feel about that?
I think that would be perfect.

Quote:
so I wondered about musical themes to reflect characters and episodes in the story. Is there a place in a horror game for orchestrated pieces with a strong melody? How would you feel about that?
It sounds like a great plan.

I'm looking forward to hearing it.
_________________________
"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."
-Roger Caras

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#32434 - 03/26/07 07:58 AM Re: What sort of music do gamers want?
Jenny100 Offline
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 35619
Loc: southeast USA
I pretty much agree with everything Looney said except for
Quote:
My favorite type of music is music I would listen to even if it weren't in the game.
There is music that I listen to outside the game that would be too distracting to listen to inside the game. And there is music that is fine inside the game that I don't care to listen to outside the game. For example, I do not want music with a strong beat while I'm trying to solve puzzles. Also, some games work better with background sounds instead of music (though using music in some places and background sounds in others can help set mood for different locations).

I use speakers.
I've played both Barrow Hill and Scratches, but not recently. I don't remember any problem with the music in Barrow Hill and I remember liking the music for Scratches.

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#32435 - 03/26/07 08:06 AM Re: What sort of music do gamers want?
3dobermans Offline
Adept Boomer

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 13230
Loc: Palouse country
Must agree with L4L, I like music that I would enjoy listening to outside the game.
I know I thoroughly enjoyed the music in Siberia and tried my best to keep it on my computer so I could listen to it at random.
I prefer very subtle music when puzzle solving. I know I become more alert if there is a sudden change in the music, say from subtle to haunting.

I also use speakers.
_________________________
Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body - Joseph Addison

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#32436 - 03/26/07 10:27 AM Re: What sort of music do gamers want?
BeaSong Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 01/30/04
Posts: 2956
Loc: rural Oregon, USA
Hi Noel, Welcome!
Me too, on music that I'd ordinarily listen to as background music.

There were times that I'd just go stay in one spot in Riven and Myst, just to listen to the music as I looked at the fine graphics.

The most important thing for me with music in a game is the ability to turn it down or off if I'm trying to concentrate or spend a long time in an area and get tired of it. If I really like the music and/or have to catch what the players are saying, I use earphones which sometimes I don't like to do because I like to be available for the ambient sounds of my family and animals while I game.

Good luck, and thanx for asking! wave
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"Come Watson, the Game is afoot!"
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#32437 - 03/26/07 11:13 AM Re: What sort of music do gamers want?
Darleen03 Offline
Adept Boomer

Registered: 12/13/03
Posts: 14827
Loc: Northeast NJ
Hi

I agree with L4L thumbsup

wave
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#32438 - 03/26/07 11:38 AM Re: What sort of music do gamers want?
nickie Offline
Grand wizard of high mucky muck
Adept Boomer

Registered: 01/08/02
Posts: 13453
Loc: Texas
I would much prefer you had Celtic music as your background music, in keeping with the theme of the game (rather than typical scary type music). There is often a haunting quality to it that would make your point, I think.I'd like to see a voiced theme song of such good quality that I'll willingly sit and listen (whether it be the menu or credit screen, whatever).
I don't recall the music of the games you mentioned, but I can point to thinking the games Zanzarah, Shivers 1 and Indigo Prophecy used music in an excellent way. Orchestral is good!
Music is very important to me in a game. I love to hear it during most of the game - except when there's a puzzle to complete.I do use headphones.
I sure do appreciate you asking!
_________________________
"How could drops of water know themselves to be a river? Yet the river flows on."
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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#32439 - 03/26/07 01:16 PM Re: What sort of music do gamers want?
Benedict Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 06/02/99
Posts: 1053
Loc: Singapore
Can we have some sad pop songs with a female vocalist, like what they did in Silent Hill 3 and Silent Hill the movie?

Shivers 2 had an excellent rock soundtrack. There were clues in the song lyrics.

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#32440 - 03/26/07 01:30 PM Re: What sort of music do gamers want?
noelbruton Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 03/25/07
Posts: 81
Loc: Wales
Hello All

A bit more background to help with these excellent responses. True, 'Rhiannon' is set in rural Wales. But as you can see from the Website, there is also the influence of a large engineering company at the turn of the 19th Century, something happened in 1967 and somebody's making use of an MP3 player. That's in addition to the Mabinogion itself, which is 1,000 years old. I'm telling you No More! :-) But it can't be just Celtic...
Cheers
Noel
_________________________
Developer, 'Rhiannon: Curse of the Four Branches'
http://www.arberthstudios.com

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#32441 - 03/26/07 02:30 PM Re: What sort of music do gamers want?
Becky Offline
The Medieval Lady
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 02/16/00
Posts: 26894
Loc: Stony Brook, New York, USA
Welcome to GameBoomers, Noelbruton! welcome

I agree with much of what has been said here -- it's important that it's possible to turn the music down (or up) in relation to the voices and sound effects. I often turn the music up in games. I like all different kinds of music, but don't like it when the musical loop is so short that it plays over and over in a particular section.

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#32442 - 03/26/07 02:38 PM Re: What sort of music do gamers want?
TLC Offline
BAAG Specialist

Registered: 10/07/03
Posts: 8311
Loc: VA
I must be an oddball, I always turn the music off or as low as possible. duh wave

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#32443 - 03/26/07 02:47 PM Re: What sort of music do gamers want?
Carrie Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 06/30/01
Posts: 930
Loc: San Francisco area, Calif.
Music must be background, simply adding to the atmosphere of the story. Nancy Drew games have distinctive 'mystery' music (the same music in every game), for example. I remember the atmospheric 1930s & '40s latin music in "Grim Fandango" as fitting well into the gaming experience... unobtrusive and enjoyable.

Volume & mute options, too. Not everyone is going to have the same response to music, and as HerInteractive does for Nancy Drew, I think it's nice when we're given the option to control the music in a game, no matter what type of music it is.
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#32444 - 03/26/07 03:35 PM Re: What sort of music do gamers want?
Mad Online   content
True Blue Boomer

Registered: 11/21/00
Posts: 23701
Loc: United Kingdom
Hi smile

Music that fits the mood of the game in that scene at that time and does not repeat every five seconds.

Music that is noticeable but unobtrusive.

Music that definitely allows me control its volume.

I DO like to have music in a game as I think it adds to the experience - but only on the conditions above wink

And how refreshing, noelbruton , to be asked for an opinion. MUCH appreciated thumbsup

Cheers.

Mad wave
_________________________
Time : The Most Precious Commodity

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#32445 - 03/28/07 04:36 PM Re: What sort of music do gamers want?
Major Pixel Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 08/12/06
Posts: 82
Loc: missouri
Hi wave
Like a few other Boomers said I find music that often repeats itself very Irritating. I really love the music in the Myst games. In parts of games where I have to work on a puzzle I sometimes turn the sound down so I can concentrate. Hope that gives you some good ideas. laugh

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#32446 - 03/28/07 06:24 PM Re: What sort of music do gamers want?
Renee Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 01/04/07
Posts: 962
Loc: Northern California
Quote:
Originally posted by Major Pixel:

Like a few other Boomers said I find music that often repeats itself very Irritating. I really love the music in the Myst games. In parts of games where I have to work on a puzzle I sometimes turn the sound down so I can concentrate. Hope that gives you some good ideas. laugh
Well said, Major Pixel! thumbsup I agree - nothing too repetitive ("The Neverhood" comes to mind - good soundtrack, but it can get on your nerves after a while). I really like the music in Myst - particularly, Myst IV Revelation and URU Ages beyond Myst (in the Kadish Gallery specifically). wave
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