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Well I finally saw THE feature I was really expecting to see on FMOD: Interactive Music!

I am really a fan of Interactive Music and for some years I have made experiments on creating interactive music situations and testing new design ideas on possible interactive music systems.

The problem is that most developers never want to create a new system and seem to be waiting exactly for this:
FMOD supporting interactive music, so congratulations!

I have [b:lzfk8buz]a question for audio directors[/b:lzfk8buz] here in the forums:

Do you expect to get in the future the actual implementation of the interactive score on the FMOD / Wwise (sorry for mentioning this tool here) according to your specifications or will you prefer to receive the many music "fragments" and implement yourself?

I personally would love to actually be able to send the whole stuff ready to go ingame, since I would really be able to check perfectly how it will sound ingame.

Kudos to Fmod team,

-Pedro Macedo Camacho

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Pedro,

I’m not sure I understand your question, but it seems like you’re asking : do I prefer to ask a composer to write the "fragments" to spec, or would I prefer to just get them to write a pile of fragments and design the flow and piece them together myself?

If that was indeed your question, the obvious answer is a: get a composer to write them to spec. It would work best, of course, if the composer was quite involved in contributing to the design process. I can forsee studios opting for the second option though, as in theory it allows maximum flexibility, but I can’t see that leading to a good soundtrack – unless the person behind the wheel has experience as a musician.

As for whether or not to test things in game – well, fmod designer and that other tool do already give you the ability to test such things ‘in game’, or in a virtual equivalent of a game, so no problems there. That’s a no-brainer though, you have to be able to test audio, but to not test interactive music would be a disaster.

Cheers,
ringmod

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Hello Ringmod,

I think you understood perfectly my question.

In my case I am already experienced in creating interactive scores using Wwise:

I can deliver the Wwise project with the music already implemented according to the project specifications.

I am starting to do some experiments on FMOD right now, so that I can do the same with this engine.

I think in the future video game composers (either inhouse or external) must be able to do this as easily and fast as any inhouse audio employee.
In my case I would not mind creating myself the many variations of each track.
In fact I do think after creating the many interactive music situations, that only after I implement it and test it I can see the final tweaks the music needs to sound great.
Best thing of this process is that you gain many new ideas to easily enrich the musical content of the game and actually make something that is completely awesome to the player.

Yep I know how to test things out on FMOD and Wwise and yes, you dont need to see the game to understand, provided you are an experienced gamer in many game genres.

One of the problems I see on current basic interactive music situations in games, is that the composer usually "defends" himself by creating one of the following:

  • too many ostinato patterns in always "perfect" tempo synced attacks
  • tracks with little or no harmony changes (to mantain the transition matrixes very small)
  • Atonal tracks with just eerie soundscapes/musicscapes and some occasional random music phrases.

Do you agree?

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I just read an article in the GD magazine, that the word "interactive" wasn’t cool anymore and we should all transition over to the new word "adaptive" ๐Ÿ˜€

Adaptive Music

vs.

Interactive Music.

Personally I agree.

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Yes I read that a long time ago in some other magazine.

The fact is that Wwise and FMOD refers to this as interactive music so for the sake of avoiding confusion, I will use the name interactive music.

What you think?

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I was kidding. I really don’t care.

But I like the Adaptive word better.

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[quote="Pedro Macedo Camacho":zpsugea7]Hello Ringmod,

One of the problems I see on current basic interactive music situations in games, is that the composer usually "defends" himself by creating one of the following:

  • too many ostinato patterns in always "perfect" tempo synced attacks
  • tracks with little or no harmony changes (to mantain the transition matrixes very small)
  • Atonal tracks with just eerie soundscapes/musicscapes and some occasional random music phrases.
    [/quote:zpsugea7]

I think this pretty much describes the entire music scene since disco ๐Ÿ˜‰

Seriously, I imagine that most composers and sound designers have lacked the tools, time and/or budget necessary to create highly dynamic and adaptive scores.

One of our design goals for the new interactive tab was to make the interface accessible to all users – composers through to programmers. With more tools available to everyone involved, the bar will be raised higher and game-makers will become more ambitious with the role of the music score in game narrative. Exciting times ahead!

cheers,
Templar

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Templar, I Couldn’t agree more. :)

Pedro re your specific comments about music, I guess my answer is as someone who spent a number of years writing for film, I really do think it depends on the material. Sometimes what you describe as ‘basic’ is actually what’s called for in some instances. But I do agree with your wider point, that interactive/"adaptive" ("generative"? :) ) music is sufficiently challenging enough to write well for that many inexperienced composers will resort to playing it safe in order to minimise unpleasant results in transitions.

Best way to avoid this? Start training composers in the craft of writing for interactive forms, at the Conservatory/music school / technical college level. It’s still relatively a very new form and even experienced composers are not necessarily ‘literate’ in it.

Exciting times indeed. :)

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