What sort of music do gamers want?

Posted by: noelbruton

What sort of music do gamers want? - 03/26/07 01:47 AM

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
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: What sort of music do gamers want? - 03/26/07 07:27 AM

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.
Posted by: Jenny100

Re: What sort of music do gamers want? - 03/26/07 07:58 AM

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.
Posted by: 3dobermans

Re: What sort of music do gamers want? - 03/26/07 08:06 AM

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.
Posted by: BeaSong

Re: What sort of music do gamers want? - 03/26/07 10:27 AM

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
Posted by: Darleen03

Re: What sort of music do gamers want? - 03/26/07 11:13 AM

Hi

I agree with L4L thumbsup

wave
Posted by: nickie

Re: What sort of music do gamers want? - 03/26/07 11:38 AM

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!
Posted by: Benedict

Re: What sort of music do gamers want? - 03/26/07 01:16 PM

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.
Posted by: noelbruton

Re: What sort of music do gamers want? - 03/26/07 01:30 PM

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
Posted by: Becky

Re: What sort of music do gamers want? - 03/26/07 02:30 PM

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.
Posted by: TLC

Re: What sort of music do gamers want? - 03/26/07 02:38 PM

I must be an oddball, I always turn the music off or as low as possible. duh wave
Posted by: Carrie

Re: What sort of music do gamers want? - 03/26/07 02:47 PM

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.
Posted by: Mad

Re: What sort of music do gamers want? - 03/26/07 03:35 PM

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
Posted by: Major Pixel

Re: What sort of music do gamers want? - 03/28/07 04:36 PM

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
Posted by: Renee

Re: What sort of music do gamers want? - 03/28/07 06:24 PM

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
Posted by: Benedict

Re: What sort of music do gamers want? - 03/29/07 12:21 AM

Egypt 2 had a brilliant puzzle where you beat on two drums by tapping any key you like on the right side and on the left side of the keyboard. If you listen to the bouncy rhythm of the background music and try to copy it you solve the puzzle and are treated to a short clip of a dance by an egytian lady dancer. Too bad the puzzle was over quickly, I would have loved to bang on the drums a little bit longer.
Posted by: Major Pixel

Re: What sort of music do gamers want? - 03/29/07 04:28 PM

Quote:
I really like the music in Myst - particularly, Myst IV Revelation and URU Ages beyond Myst (in the Kadish Gallery specifically).
laugh The music in their games is so unique isn't it? I even have the soundtrack with about twelve songs on it. woozy I love it that much!

Edit-I dont believe I quoted that right. oops I was trying to qoute Renee.
Posted by: Mary

Re: What sort of music do gamers want? - 03/29/07 04:39 PM

I'm with the Myst music lovers. There is something haunting to it, or is it the game that makes the music SEEM haunting? think
Posted by: GuybrushThreepwood

Re: What sort of music do gamers want? - 04/02/07 11:36 PM

I like background music to be in the background, not so loud it makes hearing the dialogue difficult.

I think spooky music makes a spooky game spooky.
Posted by: Dineke

Re: What sort of music do gamers want? - 04/04/07 03:49 PM

I agree about the background music.
But i like a nice intro- and/or end music like f.e. in Sentinel, Runaway, return to mysterious Island.
Also, when no text spoken, in cutscenes. smile wave
Posted by: Daysleeper9

Re: What sort of music do gamers want? - 04/05/07 01:00 PM

Does anyone remember the amazing music in Faust (Seven Games of the Soul)? Fabulous!! I would leave the game running just so I could listen to John Lee Hooker or Sarah Vaughn. Why doesn't anyone sing like THAT anymore...

Daysleeper9 laugh
Posted by: NYLady

Re: What sort of music do gamers want? - 04/06/07 10:41 AM

What I find irritating about game music is when it overpowers what the people are saying. It should be soft when someone is speaking and a tad louder at climatic moments. No matter how you adjust your sound, sometimes you never get it right. Syberia was excellent.

A scary game needs scary music, a funny game needs more cartoon-like music and adventure needs soft music that comes to a peak at climatic moments.
Posted by: raylinstephens

Re: What sort of music do gamers want? - 04/07/07 08:31 PM

I played Scratches and Barrow Hill and the music definitely added to the suspense of the game. I would think any music like that would be wonderful bravo I had to turn my speakers off just to go into the basement in Scratches, lol.

Personally I don't use headphones unless I must because they hurt my ears. I am a speaker-person.

Linda wave