Arcen Games

Games => A Valley Without Wind 1 & 2 => Topic started by: OobleckTheGreen on June 06, 2011, 09:02:45 PM

Title: Music Suggestion
Post by: OobleckTheGreen on June 06, 2011, 09:02:45 PM
I'm a huge fan of AI Wars (has to be one of the best games ever made), so I'm watching AVWW with great interest. I would like to make a suggestion, however: the current 8-but music is interesting for a short while, but I don't think it will lend itself well to an extended game. I love the music in AI Wars, and assume the new music is being made by the same person, so this is not a criticism of the musician, rather, it's my honest assessment that 8-bit sine wave leads will wear me out in minutes. Not only that, but I wonder if the 8-bit soundtrack will cause some people to look elsewhere simply because they'd never guess that a game with 8-bit music had much depth (people do judge books by their covers). My suggestion: leave it in, as I'm sure some people love it, but  add an alternate track-set more akin to the type and quality found in AI Wars.
Title: Re: Music Suggestion
Post by: x4000 on June 06, 2011, 10:11:47 PM
Hey, welcome to the forums.

In terms of the music, you're right that the same composer (Pablo Vega) has been doing the tracks for all the games that Arcen has put out.  We've tried to go with a unique sort of sound for each one.  For AVWW, there's a single instrument line in each track that is 8bit, but that's mixed with other instruments, percussion, etc, that is of the exact same quality of AI War and Tidalis.  It's been overwhelmingly the most popular choice we've ever made so far, judging by the general response to the videos.

That said, one thing we're also going for with this soundtrack is something I think you'll be particularly pleased about. Most tracks, no matter how good, have a bit of a shelf life because they simply get repetitive.  One thing we've experimented with the past is changing up instrumentation and percussion and other things of that nature surrounding the same basic structure and melody.  That leads to surprisingly different results, and by doing things like octave shifts you can even drastically shift the emotional tone of the piece.

With AVWW, we're taking that to heart: we're going to be having alternate tracks for most of the in-game music, with those sorts of shifts and changes to keep things fresh.  It's almost like having remixes within the game itself.  In most of those other tracks, Pablo has tended to replace the 8bit sound with some other instrument, or the 8bit sound swaps with another line and winds up being part of the background.  I'm not sure if this extra music pack will be a separate bonus download or if we'll be including it with every copy of the game (some things still to figure out), but we've been planning this since the start.  Right now I think we have something like 14 original tracks, and 2 variation tracks, so we haven't done much with the variations in practice yet; the harder part is doing the originals, so I think Pablo has been really focused on the hard stuff first.

Anyway, hopefully that will help alleviate your worries; if the 8bit stuff bugs you, you can always replace those files with the variations so that you don't hear the main 8bit tracks.  But for myself, I really have to say I love what Pablo's putting together and this is my favorite soundtrack of his by far.  A simpler sound like this actually makes things immeasurably harder on him, because it puts all the focus on the melody and structure of the song, and so that takes it in a bit more of a pop orchestral direction rather than a classical orchestral, if you see what I mean. 

I think the result is really worthwhile, though, and the blend of 8bit and modern is something that I've only heard in places like OC Remix and VGMix, and the recent TRON soundtrack; Pablo and I are both a big fan of that particular soundtrack, and I know that Daft Punk's work on that album has been at least somewhat of an influence on his work here.

Anyway, hope that makes sense!
Title: Re: Music Suggestion
Post by: OobleckTheGreen on June 06, 2011, 11:06:20 PM
One thing I like about your forums: your replies always go above and beyond my expectations. Thanks for that insight into the game's music. I'll be watching this one with great interest. By the by, are you going to be calling for beta testers, and, if so, what can a guy like me do to be one of the lucky ones :-)
Title: Re: Music Suggestion
Post by: x4000 on June 07, 2011, 08:21:25 AM
My pleasure!  And, thanks for the kind words. :)  Regarding beta, etc, I keep getting that question so I've just set up a FAQ topic for it:,8680.0.html
Title: Re: Music Suggestion
Post by: BobTheJanitor on June 07, 2011, 08:29:46 PM
Don't ever doubt the power of awesome chiptunes. Music like this ( is all that kept me from karate chopping my keyboard in twain while playing through VVVVVV.
Title: Re: Music Suggestion
Post by: Nalgas on June 08, 2011, 05:36:01 PM
Don't ever doubt the power of awesome chiptunes. Music like this ( is all that kept me from karate chopping my keyboard in twain while playing through VVVVVV.

Totally.  Pretty much the entirety of PPPPPP (the name of the VVVVVV soundtrack) is ridiculously awesome, and it's nothing but blips and bloops.  "Retro" stuff is cool these days anyway.
Title: Re: Music Suggestion
Post by: Nice Save on June 09, 2011, 08:41:00 PM
Man, it's at least 6 months since I last played VVVVVV and I still get that music stuck in my head sometimes.
Title: Re: Music Suggestion
Post by: Flatfingers on June 11, 2011, 01:50:49 AM
I'm pretty much with Oobleck. The bleeps and boops remind me of playing Atari 2600 games. That was the best that could be done back in the day, but today that low-res synthesized sound puts my teeth on edge pretty quickly.

I also doubt that those kinds of "computery" sounds will help to immerse me in the detailed world that a modern game is capable of rendering. That doesn't mean I would only play AVWW if it came with an orchestral soundtrack composed by Inon Zur; I'm very much looking forward to playing this game.

But I'd like to be able to look forward to it in part because the music is (like every other element of the game) consciously designed to help immerse me in the gameworld. Unless 8-bit gaming consoles are somehow a functional part of the world created for AVWW, chiptune-based music will, I think, make immersion in that world less likely for me.

That's just me, though; just one more data point to toss onto the fire with the others.
Title: Re: Music Suggestion
Post by: PVega8 on September 20, 2011, 08:20:10 AM
Going off what Chris said before, when I think of the soundtrack and music so far, I think less of the singular 8-bit melody and more about the fusion of the chip tunes with modern sounds. I also think about the intricacy of the arrangements as a whole. The variations of every theme will help ease the overwhelming 8-bit-ness of the tracks, like Chris said, so once the full version is out, there'll be a nice balance of tracks with 8-bit melodies vs. tracks more like AI War.

I will say, the compositional process has been extremely difficult because each track is so melody driven. Each melody has to be poignant, recognizable, pleasing, and unique. With a soundtrack that will eventually have 40-50 original tracks BEFORE the variations, this task has been a challenge. But, it's also been incredibly fun! I have had a blast working out of my comfort zone, and as we're progressing, I feel like the tracks are getting better and better.

Thank you so much for your suggestions, and I hope that the final product will be something you can enjoy!
Title: Re: Music Suggestion
Post by: x4000 on September 20, 2011, 09:25:43 AM
I'm nothing if not one to throw folks into difficult tasks. ;)