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[Column] General: Musical Gaming

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,649MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Music is an integral part of our daily lives, both in the 'real' world and in our virtual worlds. In her latest column, Genese Davis takes a look at gaming music and its importance in the industry. Read on and then tell us your favorite in-game music title in the comments.

It is interesting then to look at why changing a video game’s stock music while gaming has also become popular. For example, while playing your favorite MMO, what do you set your sound settings to? While asking various players their routine, some said they always play with the game’s originally composed scores, while others play with their game sounds always off, and instead listen to their own iTunes playlists or play movies and TV in the background. Others answered that it depends on what’s going on in-game—if they’re exploring, they leave the game’s music on, but during a PVP match they pump up the rock. FPS players had similar answers and said that they often set their console to play their personal playlist if the music for that particular game isn’t exciting enough.

Read more of Genese Davis's Musical Gaming.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,462Member Uncommon

    I usually listen to the original music. However, if I find the original music uses synthesized sounds that are just "bad" or if that original music is "bad" I will replace it.

    I don't really like doing that because I feel (and hope) that the composer has created a sort of "soundscape" that works with the images and experience the player will be having.

    An example is Lord of the Rings Online.

    I used to listen to the original score but as the game progressed I came across some simply horrible bits of music. In some cases it was the synthesized sounds used but sometimes it was just the music choice.

    More and more I found myself turning the music off and just replacing it with the Lord of the Rings movie music.

     

  • RocknissRockniss Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,034Member
    Depends on how the music makes me feel. Everyones different but I just go hang out in Grizzly Hills just for the music. It's all about releasing the Endorphins coincidentally the stylized graphics helps that too. At any rate if the music isn't doing it for me, I just flip on youtube and listen to IZ sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" for hours straight, I can farm anything for hours and it's all good
  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member

    I don't tend to consciously think about music in games, but over the years I've noticed to my surprise that good soundscape that is communicating ambient emotions and foreshadowing events actually does make a big difference in my unconscious enjoyment of games.

    I'm not expecting player made music to compete on quality, but possibly on relevence.  It's a question of whether the music can communicate rather than simply entertain.

  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,727Member Uncommon

    I don't use external music in games, at the worst case I pull down the volume... but I usually like in-game music.

     

    Knut Haugen and Chance Thomas are great for example. Not to mention both of their companies like music, LotRO is heavily supporting player-made music with the .abc system (just check any Weatherstock video or any other in-game concerts), and Funcom even made a "get your music in the game" competition in TSW.

    Actually the latter is a nice resemblance to your "What would you do if you could manipulate the original music in MMOs?" question, you can check the winners here in .mp3 format:

    http://www.thesecretworld.com/news/get_your_music_in_the_game_competition_winners  (or in game of course :) )

  • StrayfeStrayfe Los Angeles, CAPosts: 189Member Uncommon
    Any discussion of MMO music begins and ends with FFXI. No other game even comes close.
  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,462Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Strayfe
    Any discussion of MMO music begins and ends with FFXI. No other game even comes close.

    I would disagree.

    Care to share why?

  • StrayfeStrayfe Los Angeles, CAPosts: 189Member Uncommon

    Sure.  I did a blog post on this very subject years ago.

    http://www.mmorpg.com/blogs/Strayfe/052011/21719_Audio-Files-MMO-Music-Top-10

    Nearly every zone in FFXI has music.  Nearly every cut scene in the game's story has music, the music is all top quality from a company that has been known throughout the years for producing some of the greatest video game soundtracks ever made.  The game has more than 10 battle themes that actually play, and are actually songs and not just drum/synth loops, depending on where in the game you're fighting.

    There are TWELVE OST discs worth of music, with over 150 unique songs.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pSw7RbcAcs

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p84MwUCJtNo

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSJzDbAmLgM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6Q3GMCPJQM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epBRiq-BK5c

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiGxNFlOO5k

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuvxcpQ-veg

    This is just a small sample of the amazing music in the game.  Most MMORPGs barely manage to include 30-60 second period-appropriate pieces that loop once or twice and are finished.

    It's not to say that there aren't other games with some decent songs, it's just that there is no MMO with anywhere close to the audio experience that FFXI offers, that's all.

  • itchmonitchmon west islip, NYPosts: 1,714Member Uncommon

    this article made me realize that although i dont like european synth techno, it works GREAT as the soundtrack to eve, and i never find myself changing the music in eve.

     

    other games i thought got it right (mmo ofc) were ff11, as mentioned above, and an old pet game of mine, POTBS.

     

    as for lotro, there were zones that i really thought the music took me out of immersion, but then there was the Shire.  the shire has absolutely the best music for one zone in any mmo ive seen. i remember literally breaking down into tears when i heard that recorder track for the first time.

    RIP Ribbitribbitt you are missed, kid.

    Currently Playing EVE, DFUW

    Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.

    Dwight D Eisenhower

    My optimism wears heavy boots and is loud.

    Henry Rollins

  • LeirosLeiros Nashville, TNPosts: 238Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Strayfe
    Any discussion of MMO music begins and ends with FFXI. No other game even comes close.

     

    I strongly disagree. I'll never forget playing the original Star Wars Galaxies and hearing John Williams' "Binary Sunset" for the first time in game. Whether it's in movies or games, it's hard to beat John Williams for a music score.
     
     

    image
  • FrinkiacVIIFrinkiacVII Scranton, PAPosts: 45Member
    I liked the background music from City of Heroes so much I'm still using it as my cell phone ringtone (the classic Atlas Park theme).   I'm also using that game's "you just got a private message" alert notification sound as my "you just got a text message" sound on my cell.

    "Well sure, the FrinkiacVII looks impressive - DON'T TOUCH IT - but I predict that within 100 years computers will be TWICE as powerful, ten THOUSAND times larger, and so expensive that only the five richest kings of Europe will own them." -Prof. Frink

  • Whiskey_SamWhiskey_Sam Lynchburg, VAPosts: 294Member Uncommon
    Some games have music you can listen to repeatedly; others not so much.  I typically listen to a game's music (in some cases having even bought the soundtracks), but I will lower the volume if it interferes with voice chat being audible.  If a soundtrack gets stale, I'll pull up iTunes and let it play in the background with the game sound muted.  It depends on how solid the soundtrack is.

    ___________________________
    Have flask; will travel.

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,462Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Strayfe

    Sure.  I did a blog post on this very subject years ago.

    http://www.mmorpg.com/blogs/Strayfe/052011/21719_Audio-Files-MMO-Music-Top-10

    Nearly every zone in FFXI has music.  Nearly every cut scene in the game's story has music, the music is all top quality from a company that has been known throughout the years for producing some of the greatest video game soundtracks ever made.  The game has more than 10 battle themes that actually play, and are actually songs and not just drum/synth loops, depending on where in the game you're fighting.

    There are TWELVE OST discs worth of music, with over 150 unique songs.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pSw7RbcAcs

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p84MwUCJtNo

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSJzDbAmLgM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6Q3GMCPJQM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epBRiq-BK5c

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiGxNFlOO5k

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuvxcpQ-veg

    This is just a small sample of the amazing music in the game.  Most MMORPGs barely manage to include 30-60 second period-appropriate pieces that loop once or twice and are finished.

    It's not to say that there aren't other games with some decent songs, it's just that there is no MMO with anywhere close to the audio experience that FFXI offers, that's all.

    ok, I see your point.

    I suppose I just don't like most of that music. Seems very dull to my taste. But thanks for the explanation.

  • gunjinngunjinn KingstonPosts: 24Member
    Video game composers share a common goal to charge 1000-1500 bucks per minute of the game soundtrack. Times of creativity and desire to make something new and inspiring died in previous century. I play without music. Ambient sound is what creates immerse, not music.
  • Fanndis_GoldbraidFanndis_Goldbraid Elizabethtown, KYPosts: 53Member

    Agreed on the Grizzly Hills music in Northrend. What a great place to explore and go fishing (even as a low level twink, since you could explore almost the entire zone without getting killed if you were careful). Sadly, a zone in Rift has very similar music and I can't but help thinking it's a cheap knockoff.

     

    I bought the music from the original Guild Wars series. Jeremy Soule is a fantastic composer writing mood music catering to each zone.

     

    LotRO has really great background and mood music. The inns and taverns, and especially running around in Hobbiton really make you feel like you are there. Love the music in Middle Earth.

     

    On the other hand, I thought the music in SWTOR was just awful. They could have done so much with that game (there was many deficiencies, the music was just one of them).

  • RocknissRockniss Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,034Member
    The music from Grizzly Hills is "Harppolska" - Olov Johansson and Catriona McKay
  • RocknissRockniss Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,034Member
    Correction my ears must have been playing tricks on me yesterday - they sound different today :-(
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