The Game Audio Tutorial

You might also be looking our old book : "The Game Audio Tutorial", or new book : Game Audio Implementation.

Generative music for games

Some have argued that to be truly reponsive, and indeed interactive, music for games will need to be increasingly based on generative systems. Existing systems are already 'generative' in the sense that they generate new content based on rules (even if that is just to the extent of recombining randomly chosen elements). Perhaps we'll see a more low level example of generative game music in the procedurally based 'Spore'

GameSpy: The Beat Goes on: Dynamic Music in Spore

Will Wright and Brian Eno interview

In other news on the generative front is the announcement of new formats for 'Interactive Music' Computer Music. Perhaps people are bored with the idea of music as a fixed, repeatable phenomenan. Instigated by the advent of sound recording 130 years ago perhaps this was just a curious blip in the history of music. Brian Eno puts it better than I could.

"Until 100 years ago, every musical event was unique: music was ephemeral and unrepeatable and even classical scoring couldn't guarantee precise duplication. Then came the gramophone record, which captured particular performances and made it possible to hear them identically over and over again.
But now there are three alternatives: live music, recorded music and generative music. Generative music enjoys some of the benefits of both its ancestors. Like live music it is always different. Like recorded music it is free of time-and-place limitations - you can hear it when and where you want.
I really think it is possible that our grandchildren will look at us in wonder and say: "you mean you used to listen to exactly the same thing over and over again?"

(More on generative music here and here. Noatikl, generative music software and heir to Koan here)

It could be argued that a similar situation is arising with 'passive' film watching vs 'interactive' gameplaying. (I'm sure you've all read the comparisons of GTAIV's opening weekend profits / Hollywood movies etc). Obviously it's not that these forms are going to suddenly die out (after all people still paint don't they ??) but I'd be surprised if interactive gaming has not replaced film as the mainstream lesuire activity within the next 50 years. .. I digress..

Given that the kind of manipulation offered by these formats (MPX4, MT9) would necessitate the avaiability of multiple audio channels (and consequently imply huge file sizes) I can't help thinking that this might imply the return of midi ! It would seem crazy to maintain the current approach of :

Indeed this very issue was raised by Jason Page and Michael Kelly (of Sony computer entertainment) in their suggestion that Midi is the future of game audio.

Some more discussion of this topic here (including an answer to the old "but midi sounds rubbish" chestnut !)

The most exciting / promising development afoot from real control over interactive music (strictly 'generative' or not) is of course the development of the ixmf format. There are many people looking forward to the first implementation of a tool for this - although this may take some time to appear ! In the meantime we can pine over the much neglected DirectMusic Producer.
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