Fan Works, Music

Advanced Scoring for Sonic Games

…though perhaps not the type of scoring you were thinking.

When it comes to Sonic games both new and old, the music has delivered a consistently impressive, enjoyable and pleasurable sensation to our ears (and perhaps some other senses as well, if you catch my drift). But what happens when you decide to apply more advanced scoring principles to composing music for a Sonic game and get college credit for it? Forum member Falk takes the plunge.

More information after the break.

He writes:

One of the electives I’m taking at college is “Advanced Scoring for Video Games” which basically talks about interactivity in music, explores interactive audio middleware (I.e. FMOD and Wwise and a bit of xact)

The Wwise assignment basically requires you to take an existing game, re-score it, and include interactive elements. Many people chose games that already had interactivity in them, I.e. Mass Effect, God of War, that kind of stuff. (combat -> transitions to combat music, idle -> transitions to idle music, ‘seamlessly’) I’ve noticed two different trends in how video games are scored, mainly the eastern and western styles which really, really differ. While games made in the west typically score moods rather than themes, which makes it easier to do all that interactivity and transitioning, Japanese games typically compose themes, complex musical structures/progressions, very memorable melodies, etc which typically doesn’t translate too well into interactivity – they just fire and forget. I decided to give myself a challenge and do a Sonic level and give it some form of interactivity.

Since, for better or worse, the game is on rails a lot, and levels are divided into segments, I thought I’d compose something that actually had a song structure, then basically just make sure that transitions from one section to the next were possible from a multitude of areas. Additionally, I intended to have 3 genres of the music, which hot-swapped depending on how well Sonic was doing. This is the result.

For more information on his process and further discussion, check out the forum thread.

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20 Comments

  • Reply

    I am so freaking impressed. This is the future of video game music design!

  • Reply

    This is really awesome, and I’d love to see something like this in the next game. Gives a much more cinematic feel to the game. I guess the only issue is that it kills the idea of a song in a Sonic game, as the music is determined by the player. I’d guess the game soundtrack would release an official mix of all the bits.

  • Reply

    Oh….my god.

  • Reply

    This is amazing, always wanted something like this, AND they managed to keep a strong melody throughout.

    I think Camelot Castle in Black Knight SORT of did something like this, but not to this level of intimacy with the game content.

  • Reply

    Saw this in the forums, some really impressive stuff.

  • Reply

    This man is the coolest. I would give him all my money if I had any right now.

  • Reply

    impressive, i do believe though this kind of thing should only apply to sonic games

  • Reply

    Being a musician myself, this is quite some impressive stuff. If only this smarty had actually done the music for SG. I’d be so happy. This guy’s a genius, and this is so complex and hard to do. Impressive work, college student.

  • Reply

    This is bloody amazing. I honestly have never seen this sort of interactivity in music done since the original Banjo-Kazooie games. To compose a memorable theme AND add interactivity to it takes a crapload of work, and this guy just freaking showed how it’s done. Why is this man not hired by a game company yet? We need stuff like this, not just in Sonic games, but in ALL video games with good music. Such levels of dimension in music have the capability of being done in a game professionally, but haven’t. My question is why?

  • Reply

    The awesome thing is, this can actually be done in-game if programmed right! I genuinely think that if this is done for a future Sonic game, that’d be probably one of the best musical accomplishments in the series, considering how everything just flows and works with your method. ESPECIALLY the grinding down the rail part. THAT was well played!
    Also watch this get front paged by Aaron Webber on whatever blog he does now.

  • Reply

    This kind of interactivity actually reminds me of UbiSoft’s interactive music in Donald Duck Goin’ Quackers and Rayman Rush, ESPECIALLY Rayman Rush. As for the music in this video, this has various levels of awesome!

  • Reply

    Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty kind of did this. It’s definitely possible and needs to be done more often.

  • Reply

    Sonic needs more of this–this kind of effect, but also this level of attention to detail. That attention is a huge part of what makes Generations and Colors so good, and this is a great next way to apply it. One of my favorite parts of Time Eater is the fact that his soundtrack follows the gameplay shifts.

    …And aside from the interactivity, the song itself suits Sonic perfectly.¬†Also, his comments about the usual Boost effect detracting from the music are spot-on. This man gets an S-rank.

  • Reply

    Yeah, Wwise basically lets you define triggers/states/RTCP (realtime control parameters) that both allow games to hook onto the functionality that you implement with very simple function calls, and allow you to ‘test’ your interactivity/transitions/mix/etc with buttons/drop-downs within the program itself, before you even compile anything.

  • Reply

    I’m kinda upset that I had to watch this like, 2 to 3 times to fully understand what was going on, but I think that’s more because I don’t know the song since I hardly played Unleashed because of that… that “thing.” In any event, it seems like he captured what he wanted to capture correctly, as he changed the entire thing with that tunnel dive and that “platforming” part of the stage. I guess I’ll have to compare with the actual music in an actual run of the level to fully understand this.

    Wish he woulda did it with a game I’m more familiar with…

  • Reply

    Very impressive! I absolutely love the way the music changes with the gameplay, Falk did a great job.

  • Reply

    Wow freakin awesome

  • Reply

    That is fucking amazing. Nothing else can be said.

  • Reply

    Sega did some thing like this them self’s in nights,very cool anyways.

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