In the first update from the Music Team we promised a music soundtrack that would be adaptive, i.e. the music would change according to how the player's situation evolves. A number of games follow this paradigm and each game has its own adaptive music soundtrack and so game music is known to be able to respond to a number of different stimuli.

At this point in our game we support two main contexts of music: The Exploration Music, which plays when the user roams around, and the Combat Music, which sounds when the player starts sneaking close to the enemy or engages in a fight. See a demo in this video:

Our Exploration Music is location-based. Each location (Stable 2, Sweet Apple Acres, Hope, etc.) has a set of music tracks which are chosen accordingly. The Combat Music is driven by the states in the game mechanics. The choice of the music is given by the character of the enemy NPC and then its playback depends on the state of the fight. Our combat mechanics recognize the following states:

  • Sneaking
  • Enemy suspicious
  • Combat
  • Player's health critical

We use the Sequence Music Engine, a simple adaptive music engine, written by Adam Sporka, with a binding to Unity3d, written by Hamish Milne. The music composed for Sequence consists of fragments called patterns. Each pattern is a few bars long (2 or 4), depending on the nature of the sequenced track. The playback of the music is in fact a sequence of choices of the right patterns depending on the situation of the game. The rules which pattern to select next are scripted.

The patterns are however synchronized to the beat. The transition happens only at a defined position in the music -- typically every other bar (i.e. every two measures). We let the patterns overlap a little bit so that the notes and sounds triggered during the pattern can gracefully decay or fade after the content while the new pattern has already started playing. This is an important feature for allowing the seamlessness of the music transitions. The following image illustrates this using an example of one pattern seamlessly transitioning into another:

This technique we described here is called horizontal resequencing. The Sequence Music Engine supports also the vertical reorchestration, which is a conditional layering of tracks. For example, it is possible to put an unnerving high-pitched tone on the top of when the character's health is deteriorating etc.

More From Our Soundtrack

Besides the radio songs we were busy creating more background music tracks and we're happy to present them here. You may recognize the Combat and Game Over from the video above. The remaining tracks are the Exploration Music.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Pipbuck Design Contest Deadline Extended

As a small announcement, because of the lack of submissions we have decided to extend the Pipbuck Design Contest deadline by two more months! Remember that the actual design is more important than the quality of the drawing, meaning absolutely everyone has a chance! So get those drawing hands warmed up, we can’t wait to see what you come up with!