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When you use Sonic for a college assignment (music)

#1 User is offline Falk 

Posted 10 November 2011 - 06:06 AM

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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.


(Can't get annotiations to not bug out in embed, so open in a proper window if you really want to read all that shit)

It's funny though, SEGA/Sonic Team was implementing the exact same crossfading thing with Generations and it was kinda hilarious/confusing when I found out while playing the 2nd Generations demo and hearing the drums swap to double time when boosting. One thing I really, really, REALLY hate about the recent games is that the game engine basically destroys the music with a high pass filter just to get the 'lol sonic's going really fast' point across when boosting, which I think is a shame. I ranted about it in video annotations as well, but City Escape was so good because the music was loud. It started loud, and wouldn't have had the same impact if it suddenly just dropped right back off after coming in strong.

I'd have remade/remixed the original Rooftop Run music, except that part of the requirements is original music, so derp. :(( The music itself, although 'original' has quite a lot of nods to Sonic music. There's a slap bass pattern from Station Square, a whole bunch of guitar riffs from all over the franchise (I outlined the most obvious one from SA1's Tails theme) and some drum fills are inspired by the Skydeck zone music. Oh, and the guitar solo's ending is obviously Sonic Drive (Sonic X JP OP) inspired. :P And the music titles "Be Cool, Be Wild" is an obvious nod to the track "Be Cool, Be Wild, Be Groovy" - Be Groovy was intended to be a 3rd genre, when Sonic went idle (very light breakbeat-type stuff, like Ocean Wave or Apotos) but it wasn't working out and I didn't have time to revisit it in time for assignment submission, so it just got axed.

Made some comparison clips here:
http://soundcloud.co...eos-lol/s-ZyiBW
This post has been edited by Falk: 10 November 2011 - 06:09 AM

#2 User is offline Namo 

Posted 10 November 2011 - 06:45 AM

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That was incredible, dude. I was seriously impressed by this. You made all the musical pieces fit so well together, it sounded and felt natural. I gotta tell ya, around 2:35 when Sonic starts to go down the rail on the clock tower, a huge grin stretched on my face from ear to ear; I actually got a bit teary-eyed at it! Seriously, this was just amazing. I don't think I could express how impressed I was well enough.

A+ material for sure, Falk. Bravo.

#3 User is offline Falk 

Posted 10 November 2011 - 07:02 AM

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View PostNamo, on 10 November 2011 - 06:45 AM, said:

That was incredible, dude. I was seriously impressed by this. You made all the musical pieces fit so well together, it sounded and felt natural. I gotta tell ya, around 2:35 when Sonic starts to go down the rail on the clock tower, a huge grin stretched on my face from ear to ear; I actually got a bit teary-eyed at it! Seriously, this was just amazing. I don't think I could express how impressed I was well enough.

A+ material for sure, Falk. Bravo.


Yeah, I really feel that the way forward is for the music to help tell the story of each level, rather than just being a level theme. I mean, all the levels have set pieces, and music in multimedia (see: film scoring) always should enhance the experience, rather than doing its own thing. It's about time Japanese game developers broke out of some molds and started harnessing the potential for interactivity, in my opinion.

To be fair Speed Highway and City Escape already sort of did this, with the different tracks for the downward run/truck chase. I guess if it were more... seamless/consolidated it'd really enhance the experience a lot more rather than sounding like someone pressed 'next track' on the CD player.

#4 User is offline TheInvisibleSun 

Posted 10 November 2011 - 01:52 PM

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This was purely awesome! I absolutely love the boost music particularly; it gave me the proper 'I going insanely fast' feeling. Amazing work!
This post has been edited by TheInvisibleSun: 10 November 2011 - 01:52 PM

#5 User is offline Ritz 

Posted 10 November 2011 - 02:36 PM

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Impressive. I like how you acknowledge and appreciate Japan's approach to composition for games- any original music made with that in mind? It pisses me off to no end how the west is hellbent on scoring games like films, like the music can and should be as unremarkable as possible so long as the mood is appropriate.

And oh hey, another Boston dude!

#6 User is offline Tweaker 

Posted 10 November 2011 - 03:05 PM

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Dude, you fucking ROCK. I felt seriously pumped and into the action the whole time. Your transitions were entirely sensible and well-executed, the composition itself was extremely solid and fitting to the genre and the thought you put into this was wonderfully reasoned and masterfully executed. Even though I could tell the goal of the music was to sound similar to the original Rooftop Run, it didn't hurt the own unique and decidedly Sonic feel I got from it. Excellent, excellent work.

Do you have standalone versions of the different cuts of the song you used? I'd love to listen to them on their own.

EDIT: For the record, I've moved this into a more public forum so it can get more attention. You're awesome.

#7 User is offline muteKi 

Posted 10 November 2011 - 03:05 PM

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Fuckin' beautiful.

Can't say much more other than you nailed it and that I wish that (like, say, Mystic Mansion in Sonic Heroes and the "fast" mixes of the modern Sonic stages in Generations) that they did this sort of thing all the time. And the song itself is of course better than Rooftop Run's actual BGM.

#8 User is offline Falk 

Posted 10 November 2011 - 03:45 PM

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View PostmuteKi, on 10 November 2011 - 03:05 PM, said:

And the song itself is of course better than Rooftop Run's actual BGM.


The original Rooftop Run, maybe you could argue that with me. The re-make with the new violin parts, probably not. And the classic remix, hell no way D:

Thanks for the compliments; this is likely my biggest project/assignment this semester (to the absolute detriment of everything else really :| ) The mixes themselves are linked in the YT description, but here they are again:

soundcloud.com/falk-2/be-cool
soundcloud.com/falk-2/be-wild

There's a bunch of other eastern-style stuff on (in terms of composition, not genre) my soundcloud account too- feel free to look around.

#9 User is offline Chimera 

Posted 10 November 2011 - 03:51 PM

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I remember you showing me this. Amazing work yet again. The way the music fits the scenarios and the mood of the stage at the same time while maintaining a constant flow is a great thing. Also when reading the title I thought of "Be Cool, Be Wild, Be Groovy" and thought it was coincidence. I guess not :P

If you don't get the best grade you can get with this, your professor doesn't know what he/she is doing.

EDIT: Also I fucking love that rock bit when Sonic grinds down the rail from the top of the tower. REALLY adds to the awesome factor of the clock tower downwards spiral!
This post has been edited by Chimera: 10 November 2011 - 03:58 PM

#10 User is offline ashthedragon 

Posted 10 November 2011 - 03:53 PM

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This is much better than the original Rooftop Run. And better than generations's rooftop run. 'nuff said.

#11 User is offline Ch1pper 

Posted 10 November 2011 - 04:00 PM

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I'm speechless. THIS is the kinda shit I want to be learning!

So... this is from a class you're taking at a school in Boston? Which school? And do you have to pay out the ass for it?

Edit: Berklee, thought so. I've scoped out their website before and I get a very... uncomfortable, semi-elitist vibe from it. ;____;
This post has been edited by Ch1pper: 10 November 2011 - 04:02 PM

#12 User is offline 0r4ng3 

Posted 10 November 2011 - 04:00 PM

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That was interesting. Thanks for sharing.

#13 User is offline Flare 

Posted 10 November 2011 - 04:01 PM

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Wow... I just wow... this is amazing, I love the idea of interactive music. Sega really need to do this, they do so well with their music this would just take it to the next level.

#14 User is offline Covarr 

Posted 10 November 2011 - 04:05 PM

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This thread is amazing and you should feel amazing. This far surpasses the previous best example I could think of for this sort of thing, from the water levels in Super Mario 64.

#15 User is offline Falk 

Posted 10 November 2011 - 04:05 PM

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View PostChimera, on 10 November 2011 - 03:51 PM, said:

If you don't get the best grade you can get with this, your professor doesn't know what he/she is doing.

(My professor did the original pre-kinect xbox360 logo jingle and is the coolest professor in the college. Where else do you see a student get asked to play Mass Effect 2 in class so that he can talk about how the interactive music works)

edit:

View PostCh1pper, on 10 November 2011 - 04:00 PM, said:

Edit: Berklee, thought so. I've scoped out their website before and I get a very... uncomfortable, semi-elitist vibe from it. ;____;

100% correct hahahah. Saying you prefer to use a PC and detest macs here is like a death sentence. However I wear that badge of dishonor with pride.
This post has been edited by Falk: 10 November 2011 - 04:07 PM

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