Dynamic Music

Ellie Jane

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 17, 2012
Messages
754
Reaction score
1,458
First Language
English (UK)
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Note: while I know how to implement all of this, I don't actually know what it is that I want to implement, hence I've put this in Game Mechanics Design.

My game uses an ABS battle system, and there's likely to be a lot going on in each map. Interiors are on the map, with the buildings cutting away as you get near them like The Sims. Battles are on the map, and entering a region that has a particular event happening could invoke another piece of music, like stepping up in beat when you come to a marching troup of soldiers, or getting more serene towards a waterfall, etc.

Question is, is this annoying to the player?

My thought was to use a proximity-to-event plugin, and have the music change when you are near that event. That means if you are within 5 squares of an aggressive enemy you get battle music; if you enter a church you might get church music etc.

In Guild Wars 2 they fade out the main map music and fade in the battle music, with a sort of "jingle" at the start that is subtle but tells you you've entered a battle. (Think of it like the Whoosh in RPG Maker, but much more subtle). Once the battle is over there are a few seconds of silence and then the man map music fades slowly back in, for a few reasons - so it isn't a jarring switch from one song to another, and so that if you encounter another enemy you don't just keep flipping the music every few seconds.

Now that's OK if maps are huge, but huge maps and 2d graphics don't go together as easily. If you have to be within 5 tiles of an enemy to invoke music, then that's actually 10 tiles of the map taken up, which is half a default map or maybe 10% of a reasonably sized large map.

There's also a question of where does the music start or end? Does the map music continue where it left off? Does the battle music continue where it left off, or always start at the beginning (with the jingle of course)?

I'm curious if anybody has implemented such a system and what your players thought of it. I have a feeling it may be just another annoyance.

Going further it would be nice to have sounds such as footsteps, especially if a cutscene with a horse, or a waterfall, etc. This again could be done with proximity-to-events plugins so it's doable, but the question is still, is this just annoying to the player? Is it all too much? If it's subtle there's almost no point in doing it at all.

Appreciate your thoughts, thanks.
 

pasunna

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Feb 3, 2019
Messages
485
Reaction score
190
First Language
thai
Primarily Uses
RMMV
battle music actually always annoying if not add anything to game play for me in abs game
because the theme song always more beautifully to listen to
if your game is about stealth that good so you can give signal for no enemy detecting you
other than that it will get old real fast

because you keep hearing the same sound you don’t like
unless your battle music is eargusm tier…
 

HumanNinjaToo

The Cheerful Pessimist
Veteran
Joined
Apr 18, 2013
Messages
705
Reaction score
260
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
The only way I would think it could be annoying is if the music is annoying itself. Battle music really needs to be great, because you hear it so much in a game. Maybe if there is different types of battle music, some differences for bosses etc., then it would not get tiresome.

I think it's a good idea though. The subtlety of a menacing tune creeping in will alert to danger, I like it. I think it can be subtle without being too subtle though.

One problem I see, like pasunna mentioned, that the player may not get to hear much of the map BGM because of too many battles. Or they may not get to hear the whole track if it keeps resetting due to the battles. So if you have really good BGM, the player may never know.

I think it's a good idea, but kinda like you mention, better in games with large open maps. Probably not such a great idea for a lot of the average sized maps we get in most RM games.
 

V_Aero

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Apr 23, 2019
Messages
188
Reaction score
139
First Language
german
Primarily Uses
RMMV
You should let the player himself decide, maybe with an entry in the settings menu.

I'm a GW2 Player and sometimes I like music swapping, sometimes I don't. I like the fact that it needs some "threshold" of troubles, eg. 3 enemies OR low on health OR similar until battle music plays. If the music would switch for every time I show my sword for a single trash mob it would be awkward xD But sometimes exactly this is the case.

My thought was to use a proximity-to-event plugin, and have the music change when you are near that event. That means if you are within 5 squares of an aggressive enemy you get battle music; if you enter a church you might get church music etc.
Yup, just as I said, make some kind of threshold until battle music plays. When you just rush through a dangerous area the battle music should not play.
There's also a question of where does the music start or end? Does the map music continue where it left off? Does the battle music continue where it left off, or always start at the beginning (with the jingle of course)?
I think it should start from the beginning.
 

Ellie Jane

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 17, 2012
Messages
754
Reaction score
1,458
First Language
English (UK)
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Yup, just as I said, make some kind of threshold until battle music plays. When you just rush through a dangerous area the battle music should not play.
Perhaps what invokes the battle music is the enemy actually attacking the player (or vice versa).

As for the music getting repetitive, my hope was to have different music for different types of enemies - perhaps for different races, or different regions. I'm not sure yet as I haven't planned this part out. But say centaurs would have different music to orks, etc.


Implementation wise I'm thinking that would be

- Enemy attacks player, sets timer to 20
- Once timer reaches 0, battle music ends
- If enemy attacks again, resets timer to 20
 
Last edited:

pasunna

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Feb 3, 2019
Messages
485
Reaction score
190
First Language
thai
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I recommended this plugin
you can have as much voice channel as you want
so you can control them in many way
just use Google Translate because it in Japanese
 

gstv87

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Oct 20, 2015
Messages
2,081
Reaction score
1,038
First Language
Spanish
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
Question is, is this annoying to the player?
if it is well designed, it's not only not-annoying, but pleasing and sometimes remarked by players.
I remember Portal 2 had a few jingles for the special gels, that if you chained a few jumps or skids, they'd blend into one another like music.
Need For Speed 2 (and probably 1 and 3 as well) had a dynamic music system, and every section of track would have it's own beat within the larger music track for that circuit, so you could go from soft beat to full instrumentation, and then back to beat, and then instrumentation in a pitched variation, always on cue.
I worked with a dynamic system for Minecraft, and it had great potential, but it was poorly implemented (wasn't mine, and I didn't want to fix it). It allowed for multiple tracks according to states, which were triggered by scans of the player's surroundings. If there were monsters, it'll trigger a battle music. If there was a large open space with no man-made blocks, it'll deduce it was a plain, so it'd play the field theme.
given that Minecraft has hundreds of blocks and hundreds of possible situations, the detection matrix was H U G E.
I think Journey or Bastion had a dynamic system as well.... IDK.... the music itself was outstanding tho.
Transistor's as well.... semi-dynamic system, soft jazz for exploration, hard rock for combat, but I never got to dissect it.

the thing is, you have to fine-tune three aspects: the player situation, the available tracks, and the timing of change between one another.
you not only need knowledge of programming for making the system, but also music theory for finding a beat that suits all situations so it can be blended between tracks without losing the tempo.
hard to do when you have soft music for cities and fast music for battles.

I have a feeling it may be just another annoyance.
to make? yes.
to witness? totally the opposite.


here's the track from NFS I was talking about, the actual CD track and the cut track as it would have played in the game.
watch how it changes from section to section, and also how it goes up or down depending on what position the player is in.
 
Last edited:

Wavelength

Edge of Eternity
Global Mod
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
4,927
Reaction score
4,115
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
While a cool idea, I agree it could get annoying if the music changes too often, too jarringly, or presents pieces of music that are too different from each other in close succession. It can be done like in Guild Wars 2, like you mention, but it needs to be done perfectly (often you need experienced sound designers for this) and - like you said - it works best if the battles are punctuated by fairly long periods of exploration.

What I might recommend, especially if you're going to be in combat often, is to use two musically similar pieces which use somewhat different instruments and extra beats, which can crossfade into one another easily. So maybe you have two different songs that use the same melody and the same tempo, but one (the exploration track) uses, for example, more woodwinds and sounds of nature, whereas the other (the battle track) uses more percussion, louder guitar, and extra riffs to add drive and intensity. This is fairly rare in video games, but you can hear it masterfully done in Banjo-Kazooie, for instance - check out the way the music crossfades in Gruntilda's Lair, or listen to the four versions of the same basic melody in Click Clock Wood. If you've ever been to Disneyland or Magic Kingdom, you might notice the same techniques being used as you walk through different parts of the same Land.

One more idea - instead of proximity to events, you might detect battle based on whether the player has given out or taken damage.
 

ave36

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Jun 23, 2019
Messages
121
Reaction score
39
First Language
Russian
Primarily Uses
RMMV
because you keep hearing the same sound you don’t like
unless your battle music is eargusm tier…
That's why getting eargasm tier battle music is a must. It may be funny or cringy to hear the RTP village music in every village of your gameworld, but RTP battle music is cruel and unusual torture, and it is VITAL to get some better music. I chose a copyright-free track very similar to the FF6 battle theme and I'm loving it.
 

Ellie Jane

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 17, 2012
Messages
754
Reaction score
1,458
First Language
English (UK)
Primarily Uses
RMMV
^^ at the moment my battle music is "Negative 1" from the RMXP soundtrack.

I've been doing some testing and I think the world is too small, and the battles too short, for this to really work; it's just a load of little jolts of battle music otherwise.

Hearing that though is making me think of inserting jolts of music - music effects, I suppose - to show battles are happening, ramping up, etc. I'm not sure how I wanna go about that. Perhaos truncating the battle music taking only key bits and blasting them at key moments.

Of course what I really want to do is to have multiple versions of each song, with different instruments. Imagine entering a battle, the music stays the same, but suddenly there are drums now, that sort of thing. Think of it as how the Wall Market music shifts around in Final Fantasy VII-R.

That would be costly however... Unless I edit default tracks in Audacity and play around with the instruments!

In fact, I may well do that...
 

Wavelength

Edge of Eternity
Global Mod
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
4,927
Reaction score
4,115
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
Of course what I really want to do is to have multiple versions of each song, with different instruments. Imagine entering a battle, the music stays the same, but suddenly there are drums now, that sort of thing. Think of it as how the Wall Market music shifts around in Final Fantasy VII-R.
Right, I totally get that - sometimes audiovisual stuff you will want to do is just too far out of reach if you can't create or commission your own stuff. When I suggested using multiple versions of the same song, I was thinking more in the paradigm of game development, rather than in the paradigm of working alone on an RPG Maker game (where you have pre-made tracks and have neither the resources nor the obligation to build music for your game). If you're working with pre-made tracks, they are likely to feel jarringly different, so it's worth considering dropping the idea of cross-fading/dynamic music altogether. (Or, if you're up for the extra work, try it out and hand over to playtesters to see whether it enchants or annoys them!)

That would be costly however... Unless I edit default tracks in Audacity and play around with the instruments!

In fact, I may well do that...
Are you really able to dim/mute certain instruments in a premade mp3/ogg track using Audacity?! I had no idea this was possible... but if you find you're able to do this, please hit me with a PM; I have some tracks that I've wanted to do exactly that with, and I'd be willing to pay you money or trade my design services to have it done! :D
 

Ellie Jane

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 17, 2012
Messages
754
Reaction score
1,458
First Language
English (UK)
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I was mixing up Audacity with Anvil Studio - you can't do Mp3s but you can do Midis - so can play with the RMXP RTP which is fab.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Latest Threads

Latest Posts

Latest Profile Posts

Stream will be live shortly with some pixel art! Feel free to drop by!

Can't believe I forgot to put an image of my drawing pad! It looks kinda like this, maybe I'll get a better pic tomorrow...
Backup tip: If you don't want to back up your whole project every day, at least back up everything *except* your Image and Audio folders, which you can do weekly/as needed/etc.
The final version of our game is already available both in English and Spanish! ^___^
Can't believe this day has finally come... T_T
Im so happy that Dead By Daylight is getting a Silent Hill chapter! Cant wait to play as pyramid head

Forum statistics

Threads
97,815
Messages
947,152
Members
129,035
Latest member
Tauron7
Top