The secrets to making video game music as catchy as Mario Bros

“Music is a universal art on a level that no one else has; we all scream, we have this little song in our head and we remember the tunes of our childhood,” explains Jose Altozano, better known on YouTube. DayoScript. For this specialist in the history of video games, the themes that accompany them “are ingrained in us and there are many examples of great soundtracks”. Like the videos on his channel The power of the soundtrack or How Memes Created Music’s Necronomicon Thoroughly analyzed the various features they provide for gaming experience.

The deciding factor is that this is “music that stays with you for a long time”. Fans “know the fight theme by heart final fantasy x or first level Super Mario Bros. Because, among other reasons, “these are one-, two- or three-minute songs that play on a loop and are designed to be repeated and not tiresome.” Thus, older players remember the tunes by heart Manic miner, Abbey of Crime or Monkey IslandSpectrum, Amiga or PC Classics.

This strong feeling even comes from subgenres such as Chip Tony, which itself imposes an outdated technique. “I think 8-bit music is memorable,” he insists, “because it was so limited that you had to work so hard to make it catchy.” Thus, memory preserves themes “Pokemon, Brinstar in Metroid or intro music Final FantasyAnd some have become “memes like the level of the moon Duck Adventures“, because “once you hear it and you can’t escape it, it’s so elementary that you immediately feel it”.

“Its main purpose and goal is to enhance and enrich the visual and interactive experience,” he explains. Charles ViolaResponsible for the soundtrack as well as the praise Blasphemous, where he worked with musicians from the Bugles and Three Falls Drums of Triana. for the composer and sound designer From Sevillian studio The Game Kitchen, in addition to the “pure artistic aspect that makes it memorable”, if the player “prefers to play with music than without it, you can already say the goal is accomplished.” .

When, as in your case, you also have experience in traditional bands or other formats, inspiration inevitably comes from different sources. In a video game, “it’s ideal to have artistic concepts beforehand and even test the music to see how well it accompanies the experience at any given time.” And since this “may vary during development,” another key will be “maintaining constant contact with art managers and being able to discuss ideas.”

They are located on the same line BerlinistSoundtrack composers like it grey, with internationally acclaimed mentions at BAFTA and SXSW. “When you write notes that are not related to other content,” explains its members, Marco Albano (piano), Gemma Gamarra (voice) and Luigi Gervase (harmonium), “finding inspiration, sounds and narrative depends only on you and the quality of the message that You also want to convey it.” But in the case of video games like the ones mentioned grey or the latest MonkageSince there is “a strong artistic or narrative element, this inspiration is still more directed.”

For a Berlinist, it was possible to be part of a project from the early stages, as was the case for Nomada Studio’s title, which brought the brushstrokes to life. Conrad Rosetti, “Allows you to immerse yourself and thoroughly enjoy the game.” Then, “at a level of commitment, it creates a stronger bond between the composer and the various figures involved in its development, such as the creative director.” Given these conditions, they feel “part of the whole”, which leads to “the perception of any sound element as integrated into the narrative in a more natural way”.

This naturalness is important because, Viola recalls, there are technical aspects to consider, such as “that it reacts correctly to different events.” For example, the music is “adaptable and changes depending on what’s going on,” even for “something as simple as pausing the game.” Also because when combined with “other sounds, you need to achieve a balanced mix”. In short, “it’s not enough to deliver music and ignore it, you have to come to technical and artistic agreement to make it work with experience and mechanics.”

“The composer has a vision and requirements, and the developer will try to be faithful to them within certain technical limitations,” the programmer explains in another way. J.Gwhich apart from developing an independent title Galaya, operates in the booming mobile video game industry. Some of these limitations, he reflects, may be “that it continues to perform well, given the available memory or the difficulty of integrating certain music behaviors with other game systems.”

For DayoScript that crashes A video game legend According to Chapters, although “its evolution is inextricably linked to technological evolution”, the “real leap is from cartridge to CD” in soundtracks, as “adaptable music has been used for decades, from PS2 games such as Tekken 4″. But it’s a complication for the composer that there are games with linear mechanics like The Last of Us Part II, Like an open world Ring of Elden Or completely dependent on the player, for example Minecraft. For this one, like explained His cousin, fellow YouTuber Jaime Altozano, had Daniel Rosenfeld come up with some completely random music.

“Undoubtedly,” admits the Berlinist, this difference means that “it’s not putting the same soundtrack animal crossing what journey”, because “it changes the degree of freedom of the player”. Additionally, there are headlines “with such a dominant narrative as to be absurd Minecraft“. This is a “very special” case, notes Viola, where “another implementation was impossible, due to the nature of the game”, before admitting that with linear narratives “it is easier to work because the player is present with the same goal” always and “does not experience more emotional registers “.

For JG, there’s “another important factor: how responsive the soundtrack will be to what’s happening in the game.” This will affect the “harmonious response to many events”, which can lead to “unbelievable experiences”. To achieve this, the developers sometimes resort to tricks such as constantly playing “two different versions of the same theme, one more melodic and one instrumental that emphasizes the action”, playing both at volume and mix depending on how the player is exploring or standing. enemies.

At Berlinist, they don’t know the “exact formula” to make the leap successfully, although it would be beneficial to “play or be interested in the sector” in addition to studying the work of specialists such as Jessica Carr, Catastrophe, Austin Wintour. Or Joel Corelitz.” For Viola, “certain programming concepts” will lead to “a better understanding with colleagues” and “at least” learning “middleware-type tools”. For example FMOD or WiseWhich, according to JG, provides the composer with “software to create audio with various parameters” such as volume or effects, and the programmer with “tools to play when needed.”

Composing for video games has become an exciting endeavor for any musician, with examples as famous as two Oscar winners. Gustavo Santaolala in the saga The last among themfamous appearance Jose Gonzalez in the first Red Dead Redemption or the last radio Motomami Los Santos Rosalia in GTA online. “It wouldn’t be Tobey Fox Media When composing soundtracks for guerrilla games UndertaleBut Listen to him And tell me you don’t feel anything,” challenges DayoScript. After all, “video games are part of culture, and culture has more and more video games as part of it”; a signal that it perceives as “love or respect”. Environment” .

In addition, the transfer is two-way. music Blasphemous took it straight Mosma-festival De Málaga, the process of sound expansion is described by Viola as “very satisfying and enriching, as well as complex and delicate”. the same thing happened greyavailable on a sheet of paper Thanks to pianist David Peacock and Materia Editions and enriched by the band live Sonar Barcelona 2019. Adaptation to the stage format that served the Berlinist,” the composer cites inside Martin Stieg Andersen” to maximize the philosophy of “less is more”.

Source: El Diario





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