Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Hills Are Alive

Oooh this thing at WorldIV about music in games is cool.

They got some other awesome links to game music stuff on their site if you poke around a little.

I agree with the UO music thingie, even after all the zillions of hours I spent doing UO and UO emu stuff I never got sick of it and I always liked it.

I remember hanging around near the gates to Freeport (a good guy city) as a bad guy in EQ, just so I could hear their cheerful music, too.

And the one that really sticks out the most to me is that Night Elf woods music in WoW, although there was a lot of music in WoW that made me turn the music off heh.

I can totally see how the music for a place could make it popular or unpopular, in a game that had really good music in other places (so that the players didn't just turn it off).

And I really thought the music in the Trollshaws of LotRO was brilliant, not really as game music that enhanced the mood of the area in the game or anything, I mean, I didn't even notice it at first, and then when I stopped for a minute and just listened to it I thought it was brilliant in the way that lovely lovely Ludwig Van is brilliant, like, how the hell did this guy think of all this stuff heh.

I don't really have nothing useful to add to the technical discussion of music in games, and what makes certain music good or bad, I mean, I could guess some stuff but I don't think its one of those things that can be turned into a bunch of rules that are "always right" or "always wrong."

Me and my buddies have played plenty of games on voicecom where we left the music on 'cause it was good, and just kept it under the mic pickup limits.

And then there were plenty of games where I just turned the junk off and listened to something else heh.

Y'know, music is to emotion what taste is to smell, and when you tie something like that to certain areas in a game, we associate all sorts of our own memories and experiences with that place.

That might be good or bad, depending on the person, and what they'd rather be thinking about at any moment.

You could give all the quests and "types of characters" in a game themes of their own, just like all the "places" have themes, and do that Peter and Wolf stuff too, just like we do with "combat music."

But then again, repetitive-ass combat music is usually what makes me turn the music off in a game, I actually liked it better in LotRO when my combat music got messed up and it just kept playing the "area's" music while I was fighting instead heh.

What makes music hook in our brains is a whole 'nother ball of wax, like, if it doesn't swing right into the good part, we'll prolly decrease the processing power we're devoting to it in our brains.

That's what the music in the Trollshaws makes me think of, it takes it a while for it to get "rolling" y'know?

I couldn't even tell you what I'd associate it with emotionally until it goes on for a couple of minutes.

And then there's games that are like EVE, where you're supposed to be watching TV or something while yer playing 'em, so they don't even need music, which just makes it sad that the music in EVE is actually pretty damn awesome, even though it ain't tied to anything in the game world, its just a jukebox that goes from one thing to the next.

Combat and environment sounds are a totally different thing, I remember needing to sit and stare at my spellbook in EQ, to rest, y'know, and using the 3d positional audio to know when a giant beetle or another player or something was sneaking up on me, that was pretty damn cool.

And I used to fish in WoW by ear, just listening for my bobber to "splish" when I had a bite.

Which made me hate it when somebody else came along and started fishing next to me 'cause they'd totally screw me up with the noise of their bobbers.

Which made fishing a totally solo thing for me, instead of being an excuse to hang out with folks and make jokes like it was in EQ heh.

So it can sorta screw things up, too, y'know, if you don't think it all the way through.

But mostly I turn combat noises and all that kinda stuff way the hell down and leave the music cranked up (if I even leave the music on at all), 'cause there ain't hardly any games that really take advantage of that kinda cool junk.

And I don't really wanna be immersed in some hellhole mongbat grindfest where my brain is going to record the reverberations of every single sword blow and nine million grunts of agony and everything else in painstaking detail, that just makes it worse ahaha.

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