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#112180 19/09/03 05:19 AM
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DADZ effect

When I was a teenager, we had those schoolmates parties in which we played a game we called the item hunter.

We selected one of us arbitrarily to be the I. H. and we sent him outside the room with a jailer that made sure he was not spying. We then chose an item inside the room, whatever that item may be including humans or even a particular part of a human (an ear) but it could be an earring as well. Anything at all, a book a lamp you name it.

The hunter is called to cum in with his jailer and the game begins.

The hunter walks in the room, and we (all of us) are supposed to give him a vocal feedback telling him/ her how close he/ she is from the secret item.
The pattern starts with a soft {sssssssss} then gets louder and then turns into a {zzzzzzzzzz} then even lounder until we turn it into {rrrrrrrrrrr} when the hunter is almost there and finally we cry out in the most silly way possible saying BINGO ooooooooooooooh.

Ok. What does this introduction has to do with RPG .... is what I am about to tell you.
There are four different sound concepts in RPG.

  • 1- Ambient sound, which reflects time and place in a most general way.
  • 2- Sound-Track, which is a musical identity that more or less prepares you emotionally or even scare you such as the cursed abbey theme in Divinity.

  • 3- Spoken dialogs, which are comprehensible speech cuts that duplicate a written dialogue for realism.

  • 4- Sound effects, which are related to objects undergoing a change of state, including taking and putting items or coming closer to an Orc or a demon.


DADZ effect (named after my-avatar-forum-name of course <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" /> ) is about that sound-crescendo reflecting proximity from a critical item or a dangerous race. However, rather than our old and primitive buzzing I am suggesting a much more creative musical effect. Musicians are very well informed on what drum-breaks should mean, or the introduction of a new instrument into the polyphony. Therefore, inside the second sound feature we call the musical-sound-track we can create it with some Artificial Intelligence handling the MIDI File Track Mixer. By triggering more and more tracks as the hero comes closer to a big surprise that could render the hero dead without prior warning.

Even though you know, expect, and anticipate a dramatic event, your heartbeat shall increase, your real life agility and tension rises and the excitement of the moment is enhanced. It is not a spoiler at all because simply dying to reload the last saved game is not really exciting at all. However, with this effect added you shall enjoy the thrilling events of the game even more and allow the script writer to include such events now and then to break the boring hack & and slash time intervals.

How about a different scheme of the same effect to give you a hint that a critical item is in this room and that you should look for it very carefully because no button shall reveal it for you?

This would certainly increase the excitement of investigation and make you enjoy solving riddles without missing one out.

Your feedback on this idea is greatly appreciated but all rights are reserved as of this moment because I patented it exclusively for Larian Studios by posting this post as an unprecedented verbose descriptor of the DADZ effect.

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#112181 19/09/03 06:07 AM
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kinda like watching a scary movie or whatnot, and
the closer you get to the danger,
the more intense the music gets? <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/think.gif" alt="" /> right?
or a special sound clue, when there is something of interest? <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />


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#112182 19/09/03 06:22 AM
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They had something like that planned for Divinity. Hopefully it will make it into Riftrunner.

From mp3 description list at Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Larian Studios!

Quote
Original file name: Fightdrums3
This piece was created as a prototype for the interactive music system we intended to use in Divine Divinity. It demonstrated how things could sound by combining a series of different tracks/patterns depending on the situation. This particular piece was an example of developing combat situation. Sadly we never found the time to implement the system.

#112183 19/09/03 08:58 AM
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Adding/increasing tracks or instruments might be possible with MIDI. But using MIDI as the final format of the score isn't much of an option anymore these days, is it... A similar effect could be created using modules (.xm, .it and the likes) but the quality of those would never come close to Kirill's needs I'm afraid. It could probably even be done using ogg-files (or mp3 or wavs) but that would not only be quite an efford, it would of course also take up too much memory.
So narrow the idea down... what do you get then? Probably something similar to what Raze was already referring to. I'm kind of hoping they'll be implementing it now for RR and/or D2 <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> Doesn't that go back to the LMK age btw?


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#112184 19/09/03 03:19 PM
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one thing I hated about the Zelda games for the N64, the freaky music that plays when you get closer to an enemy, the second scariest thing I've ever had happen to me in a game. (the first was playing Clive Barker's Undying demo)


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#112185 19/09/03 04:44 PM
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Long ago in the early 90s, Lucas Arts created the "iMUSE" System (interactive music engine). It was able to change the background music in dependancy of the player's situation and was used in many games like X-Wing and Tie-Fighter. So this Idea is nothing new and I always liked it. But in fact nowadays were not talking about (primitive) midi-tracks but a combination of voices-, sound- and music-samples and this is a more complex issue and not as easy to achieve as in the iMUSE example.

If anyone feels free to program a next generation "iMUSE", the Larians surely will appreciate it <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" />


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#112186 19/09/03 11:37 PM
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Long ago in the early 90s, Lucas Arts created the "iMUSE" System (interactive music engine). It was able to change the background music in dependancy of the player's situation and was used in many games like X-Wing and Tie-Fighter. So this Idea is nothing new and I always liked it. But in fact nowadays were not talking about (primitive) midi-tracks but a combination of voices-, sound- and music-samples and this is a more complex issue and not as easy to achieve as in the iMUSE example.

If anyone feels free to program a next generation "iMUSE", the Larians surely will appreciate it <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" />


Ok, Ok, You people make it very difficult to patent an old idea in a new way for a friend. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" />
But it worked, MIDI, is not obsolete but maybe not the best format to implement the idea of concurrent mixing on demand. DADZ effect is not a MIDI effect at all and the acronym MIDI was used as a place-holder only.

The new idea was NOT the old idea itself but HOW to use the old idea ... May I breath ... Please?

I suggested using that Apparently very well known technique in two different ways.

1- To increase excitement in the same way it was used in the cursed abbey with heartbeat drums.

2- To softly give hints by increasing polyphony and introducing drum breaks.

Now do not tell me that it was used all over the place since Adam and Eve in the same way of implementation.

This is not a Zelda clone-effect that repeats until it kills you by boring you to death, but a musical variation that carries the identity of the graphics zone you enter by designing contours for adding tracks or mixed in sound effects when contour-avatar collision events take place.

Thanks to modern compression techniques and runtime decompression, it should not take hard disk space or too much RAM to execute; just a score of Mega Bytes more. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" />

Pay attention please, I am not suggesting to patent the idea of a mixer. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/silly.gif" alt="" />

I am not suggesting that event triggered soundtracks is a new concept.

I told you a story of a teenager party game, so there is nothing new up to this point.

The new idea is to dedicate a higher degree of complexity in music composition itself.
This means that a basic melody is created and then finished into a basic harmony of instruments.
A trigger dependant event should mix in a polyphonic component increment of the type that belongs to the situation. If it was giving a hint for a hidden item it should have nothing to do with excitement and thrill.
If you are close to a very dangerous battle then it should prepare you in steps rather than scaring you to death.

In an attempt to make the idea clearer, imagine a symphonic orchestra that is playing softly and with quarter the number of players only. On each contour-crossing a new sub-set of players join the performance with different expressions that expands the polyphony not the volume or speed of playing. This increase in the richness of the musical expression is directly proportional to proximity from a critical zone.

Please tell me where this idea was done before, if any.

Thanks.

#112187 19/09/03 11:59 PM
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I knew what you meant. With the quote from the mp3 descriptions, if you interpret the phrase "depending on the situation" liberally, it could encompass your suggestions as well as the combat example. If not, and if they are planning to do this, your post could encourage them to expand it.
<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wave.gif" alt="" />

#112188 20/09/03 01:14 AM
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I knew what you meant. With the quote from the mp3 descriptions, if you interpret the phrase "depending on the situation" liberally, it could encompass your suggestions as well as the combat example. If not, and if they are planning to do this, your post could encourage them to expand it.
<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wave.gif" alt="" />


I honestly did not read the quote you posted before you did Raze.
However, when I studied the issue, I found out that fighting drums is an integrated track suitable for the cursed abbey, in fact it is fabulous, but has nothing to do with my extra idea.

To give you an example i should compare that particular sound track with what I am suggesting.
Rather than composing it in that style we can listen to any time now, I was suggesting that rather than simple measure progression a new track mixes in at the rising edge of the next measure after the contour-avatar collision trigger flag is set.

So let us imagine heartbeats beginning right outside the abbey, then between the outer walls and the inner walls a drum set of battle expression joins in. Now while in the path that has right and left walls, every step could simply change the parameters to a bit faster play while changing from piano to fort. On entering the clearing with the teleporter the track with the skeletons screaming should join in adding scary suspense. Then a peak crescendo is achieved when steel skeletons begin to barge out of doors, North, east and west.
Now as the hero becomes victorious each kill should mix a sound effect and while the number of skeletons thin the crescendo turns into diminuendo until when all outdoors skeletons are dead we have the heartbeat only active. On entering the abbey a similar scheme should repeat but when the Litch appears a special drums break should announce that arrival .... etcetera.

On the other hand, finding a key to a room in the adjacent room as a starting item should be indicated by a completely different theme that mixes well with heartbeats but is more relaxing, such as using a brush on cymbals, a metallic triangle, church bells or whatever.

So interactive music as It was suggested by others is to trigger a theme track that matches the quest, but I took the idea a step farther by dissecting the musical sheet into polyphonic compositions while the maestro triggers that part of the sheet as a response to situation development.

If it was the same idea, then where are the sound-sub-tracks of fighting-drums?
If they do exist then I would certainly wish to here them.

Kindest regards.
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#112189 20/09/03 09:31 AM
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To get the polyphony right, I think all tracks should be playing in the background at all times (depending on the scene/theme), with adjusted volumes - non-playing voices still being played but at volume 0, fading up and down at the right times... that's quite a chunk of memory we're talking about (certainly when looking at the Abbey example)

And even if there's another way to do it, playing them or not, all tracks should still be loaded in memory. The idea is nice, but I don't think the pc's are ready for it. Nor is the market: the focus is still on graphics; I'm afraid in most cases music and sounds get the leftovers of free memory, after graphics and actual game objects have had their share.

And even if it would work, there's the question of the kind of music you can write like this: there's quite some limitations to creativity, and that simply doesn't sound very Kirill to me <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" />


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#112190 20/09/03 02:45 PM
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To get the polyphony right, I think all tracks should be playing in the background at all times (depending on the scene/theme), with adjusted volumes - non-playing voices still being played but at volume 0, fading up and down at the right times... that's quite a chunk of memory we're talking about (certainly when looking at the Abbey example)

And even if there's another way to do it, playing them or not, all tracks should still be loaded in memory. The idea is nice, but I don't think the pc's are ready for it. Nor is the market: the focus is still on graphics; I'm afraid in most cases music and sounds get the leftovers of free memory, after graphics and actual game objects have had their share.

And even if it would work, there's the question of the kind of music you can write like this: there's quite some limitations to creativity, and that simply doesn't sound very Kirill to me <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" />


You made an assumption concerning how polyphony development should be implemented, but your assumption is certainly wrong. It wont work that way at all and it wastes memory needlessly.

There is another way that demands knowledge of the art of measures and repeatable loops as well as an upper musical script that calls the pieces in time, it is identical to animation scripts but with different media targets.
This is the musical equivalent of 3D intimations in contrast to the linearly pre-composed/ pre-rendered music/ bitmaps respectively.

That is why when the idea is researched properly it shall be quite feasible and an investment on the longer run.

I also disagree with you on creativity being limited.
In fact, I would still use Kirills music recorded on professional tracks, one per instrumental melody.
If you analyse the heartbeat track for example, you shall find it repeating ad infinitum. One measure only or two shall be sufficient to memorise what the whole track does but the upper script dictates when it should start, how long it should play and when it should stop. Beside that basic rhythm, an assortment of drum expressions like an intro, a couple of breaks and a final are also enough. Add to that the master instrumental theme that plays when the critical zone is breached and finally an ornamental theme for climax events. That is it and no memory consumption at all. In fact it might save memory and add more intelligence to the music.

The current technology is quite ready for it then.
However, it is not recommended that this effect be implemented by music amateurs, as it demands a lot of music sheet writing knowledge.

The way you have visualized the effect seems to be like an active real-time mixing operation, but the idea is far from that even though it includes such a feature.
If you watch a base guitar player very carefully, you might notice that the player uses two or three accords repeatedly. The idea is to record each of them only once and play them as many times as needed on the spot inside the game.

Even Kirills best music played over and over again may end up sounding monotonous, but applying DADZ effect would allow space for variations that break such monotonicity by using the same music but in different ways. A music composer only may begin to imagine the incredible possibilities after beginning experimentation and not before. The trick would be in composing fragments with each being some finite number of measures long that can replace each other in sequential order to give different meanings and feelings. This, plus the other rhythmic measures that blend in to add complexity and richness would act in a similar way to the randomly generated battlefields. Being random does not mean chaotic at all, and that is because there are rules to follow set by professionals. If a battlefield had a corner, then we may select randomly one of the corners from a set of corners to be implemented at that specific place. The rule here is that all members of the set of corners must be interchangeable and in agreement with the other pieces of the battle field in style and colour. The same should be applicable to music. It is not a chaotic concoction, but a professionally selected set of interchangeable components. On the other hand, just like graphics overlays are used to change the armour and weapon of the hero, real-time-created musical tracks may be overlaid to give similar results as in graphics.

Kind regards. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wave.gif" alt="" />

#112191 20/09/03 11:01 PM
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You made an assumption concerning how polyphony development should be implemented, but your assumption is certainly wrong.

Depends on how you look at it. It's a matter of taste...

Basically what you're talking about is an interactive sampler, right? (As in interaction between looped samples and the game engine)
You're talking about an entire score made with loops... To me, as a composer, that means lots of limitations. The biggest limitation being that I'm putting the direction of my music in the hands of a machine (eek! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/eek.gif" alt="" /> ) - I feel the hair on my back rise and I don't even have any (not there anyway)

I'm not saying there'd be no room for creativity, but when it comes to music (read: taste), there would be limitations...

I'd go even further than the "sampler", and compare it to an artificial DJ. No matter how advanced, how large the variaty of variations, the variaty of instruments, effects, name it... the result would still be a mix. And there's still a big difference between mixing variations and accompaniments, and writing actual music...

I made the assumption that a digital director will never be able to produce the magic that a real composer can - unless the system would be so advanced and the variaty of samples per piece would be so vast, that it would suck up memory like Alzheimer. Then again, the whole point of the idea is to use the music as a tool in the first place, so you probably don't see it as give and take...

I admit, loops just give me the creeps (in musical context anyway <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" /> ). And I admit, it's just a matter of taste.


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#112192 21/09/03 06:08 AM
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Music composers definitely produce a product that is subject to taste but why are you making this become the issue when it is not? I am assuming that Larian Studios would assign music composition to someone they trust can produce good taste music.

>Basically what you're talking about is an interactive sampler, right?

I do not think so.

>(As in interaction between looped samples and the game engine)

Certainly not, loops do not have the required intelligence to interact with anything.


>You're talking about an entire score made with loops...

Again, no.

>To me, as a composer, that means lots of limitations.

It would be certainly a limitation in the way you put it, but I did not know that you composed music too.

>The biggest limitation being that I'm putting the direction of my music in the hands of a machine (eek! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/eek.gif" alt="" /> )

No, that is not necessarily true for all types of themes.
The machine does not decide anything in absolute randomness, but it reports collision events to inform the program about when to add (mix in) a new musical expression that was intelligently composed to be mixed in deliberately in that way.

>I feel the hair on my back rise and I don't even have any (not there anyway)

I get the point, but there is no need to panic, it is really a simple concept but definitely hard work.

>I'm not saying there'd be no room for creativity,
>but when it comes to music (read: taste), there would be limitations...

Instead of limitations, I see it completely and diametrically the contrary, a new possibility of expression.
Indeed it is a challenge for composers to handle a new tool for creativity.
An artist who is accustomed to draw with pastel colours might say that acryl is vulgar striking and tasteless.
An artist who is a classic illustrator may find Picassos Cubics tasteless and ridiculous.
I think it is unfair to judge this effect before trying it out and experimenting with it to get a handle on it.

>And there's still a big difference between mixing variations and accompaniments, and writing actual music...

How can a DJ mix what was never written?
The DJ is given strict instructions to play a background music track to encourage young dancers to leave the tables and chairs and begin dancing. He is instructed to add lights, and mix in a harmony when the dancers on the floor are ten couples. He is instructed to play the full theme and add breaks when the floor gets crowded and triggers a light show. What does that have to do with writing music on stage? It does not.

>I admit, loops just give me the creeps (in musical context anyway <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" /> ).
>And I admit, it's just a matter of taste.

You seem to have caught the ox by the tail here. I did not suggest writing music in loops but I did suggest analysing the music to extract the existing loops that need not be recorded more than once. I am quite aware that human factor added would make any measure sound a bit different from any other even if it was an accompaniment accord. We have one of too choices here, to leave it as a perfectly identical measure, as it is in the background, or to tweak it by adding a control envelop.
I also gave a very precise example using the heartbeat loop in the background and mixing in the drum-set and then mixing in the vocals for climax. You did not comment on that and left me in the dark with your objections and panic.

Kindest regards.


#112193 21/09/03 06:44 AM
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Dear Kejero,
Music is a language, and rather than composing a one-sided musical speech to perform to the audience, my suggestion DADZ effect is precisely to make it a dialogue between the composer and the heros moves and locations.
A church maestro would watch the door until the bride arrives and gestures to begin playing the march.
Some brides are slower than others, or a tangled dress could cause a delay. When the bride reaches a certain place her father takes her hand and walks with her for a couple of meters and the maestro watching that adds a flute to the organ. When the father hands over the bride to the groom, drums join in the march and some high pitched instrument is included to add a sprinkle of joy. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
When the bride and groom reach the priest, the maestro stops playing to allow the man to talk and be heard.
The music here is interactive with what is happening in time, but what is being played is strictly from the music sheets.

A very talented keyboard-player rehearsing on stage saw the director and his girlfriend coming through the door and he played a cheerful welcome instantly creative piece of inspiration. When the director and his girlfriend took seats at the middle of the theatre audience hall, the musician thought it would be clever and a nice gesture to play some soft music from Mozart. Suddenly he saw the directors wife at the door and thought he should give him a warning, so he switched to a Beethoven [Ta.Ta.Ta.-Taaaa][Ta.Ta.Ta.-Taaaa]. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

The importance here is choosing what he played but most importantly is WHEN he took that decision and executed it and in response to what.

During this performance his keyboard was set to play a looping rhythm that meets the music he plays, he injects intros, breaks and terminations at his leisure. He plays well known sheet-music at his preferred pace and strength. How can any of that, be limiting? It is a dialog between a music player and situations.

I have attended some fantastic concerts in which there were themes of instrumental dialogs where an instrument player would improvise a score of measures and then another player would respond to it by yet another improvised score of measures. It was entertaining and occasionally hilarious.

My advice is to not condemn an artistic style before having the experience in reality, because imagination will never cut it.

Kind regards.




#112194 21/09/03 10:52 AM
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You stripped my whole post again! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/eek.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/think.gif" alt="" />

You're really taking some of my words too literally... The sampler for example, if you look at it as both the tool and the person working with it at the same time (a person who has the sheet right next to him), then I think it's not far off from your explanation. The point is: never mind the words - I understand where you're going, and I do see the merits of the "effect". And the result would probably be nice, but it would take quite an orchestrator/composer to make the music not feel slightly artficial. Not that slightly artificial would make the music not good... But if in a certain part of a composition there is a flute playing some notes, it's there (and not at another time or playing something else) for a reason. The game situation could be that reason, and the artificial conductor could decide to add the flute as well, which I'm afraid it would result into a give and take situation, a decision between orchestration and melody. Add to the orchestration and the melody would likely have to be repetitive; improve the melodic variation and the choice of orchestration would become limited. It would be possible to write music in which the orchestration/melody relation wouldn't suffer of course; some people have the opinion that any good music is good music if it simply sounds good on any instrument, but I believe music stands or falls (if that's an english expression) with the choice of instruments and the person that's playing it.

That's the give and take I see.
Why am I making taste an issue? Why not? If you're convinced that the technology would work, why not talk about the result it would produce?

One more thing...
Certainly not, loops do not have the required intelligence to interact with anything.
But the game engine would have. And the only intelligence the loops would require then, is the ability to let the engine know its name. "Look at me! Pick me! Pick me!" (Yes, I admit, "interaction" may not be the right word, but you know what I mean right)
I do think though that if you really want to save memory, that you would have to work with as many loops as possible. To add variaty/creativity, the number of loops would have to be extended though. Or some non-looped samples would have to be added. Eventually there wouldn't be much left of saved memory I'm afraid... again, give and take?


Mr Kej, Second Member of the Guild of Off-Topic Posters *** Visit Aviorn's Inn, my Divine Divinity fansite ***

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