Some thoughts on music in IF...

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Thomas Aaron Insel

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Nov 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/17/97
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zapho...@aol.com (Zaphod1342) writes:

> Anyway, my point is, what if IF games had music in the background? Perhaps
> adding some extra commands to Inform and TADS to play MIDI music. (I'm no
> expert, so if I'm suggesting an impossible thing, please don't hesitate to
> tell me so!)

Inform games can use sound already, although not all interpreters
support it -- both Lurking Horror and Sherlock had sound effects,
but I'm not aware of any non-Infocom cames that use sound (except for
mine, but don't expect to see it for or two). There's support for a
callback routine and looping, so that you can deal with sound in real
time, not just between moves.

The catch is that only one sound format is currently supported, a
fairly low quality mono digitized one originally use by Infocom about
ten years ago. It wouldn't be very difficult to add support for more
formats, but there's not much demand right now.

Be careful, though -- mediocre music can ruin a fairly good game, and
it will take work to match the music to the mood.

Tom
--
Thomas Insel (tin...@jaka.ece.uiuc.edu)
"Love makes the time pass. Time makes love pass." -- French Proverb

Edan Harel

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Nov 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/18/97
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tin...@jaka.ece.uiuc.edu (Thomas Aaron Insel) writes:

>zapho...@aol.com (Zaphod1342) writes:

>Inform games can use sound already, although not all interpreters
>support it -- both Lurking Horror and Sherlock had sound effects,
>but I'm not aware of any non-Infocom cames that use sound (except for
>mine, but don't expect to see it for or two). There's support for a
>callback routine and looping, so that you can deal with sound in real
>time, not just between moves.

Other games that have sound(effects or music):
Legend's games.
Wonderland (though I could never get the music on mine to work).
Demoniak.
Also, some games (some MS games, Twilight's Ransom, etc) offered (via
hardware support) offered vocal narration.

>Be careful, though -- mediocre music can ruin a fairly good game, and
>it will take work to match the music to the mood.

Also, if you're doing music instead of just sound effects, you should be
careful to have one piece of music lead into another. Sierra is lousy
at this, but Lucasarts is far better. Of course, I'll be happy ith any
music, so long as you can turn it off ;-).
--
Edan Harel edh...@remus.rutgers.edu McCormick 6201
Research Assistant Math and Comp Sci Major Computer Consultant
USACS Member Math Club Secretary

Miron Schmidt

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Nov 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/18/97
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Zaphod1342 <zapho...@aol.com> wrote:
> Anyway, my point is, what if IF games had music in the background? Perhaps
> adding some extra commands to Inform and TADS to play MIDI music. (I'm no
> expert, so if I'm suggesting an impossible thing, please don't hesitate to
> tell me so!)

The current Blorb format (I'm not sure if it's publically available yet, but
the z-machine mailing seems seems to have accepted it) describes how to
incorporate 16-bit samples and .MOD(*) files into Inform game files.
The catch is that .MOD(*) playing slightly changes the specification of the
Z-Machine itself, and that at the time being, no interpreter accepts Blorb
resources.

(*) A .MOD file, incidentally, is a basic but fairly usable song format which
originated on the Amiga's ProTracker. There are quintillions of MODs
available on the Aminet, and about septillions of starving MOD musicians out
there who'd gladly compose a song for you if you sold them your grandmother
in turn.


--
Miron Schmidt <mi...@comports.com> PGP key on request

WATCH TV... MARRY AND REPRODUCE... OBEY... PLAY INTERACTIVE FICTION...


Den of Iniquity

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Nov 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/18/97
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On 18 Nov 1997, Miron Schmidt wrote:

>The current Blorb format (I'm not sure if it's publically available yet, but
>the z-machine mailing seems seems to have accepted it) describes how to
>incorporate 16-bit samples and .MOD(*) files into Inform game files.
>The catch is that .MOD(*) playing slightly changes the specification of the
>Z-Machine itself, and that at the time being, no interpreter accepts Blorb
>resources.

What I'd have thought of as the big catch is the use of 'sub-songs' - some
people want the music to change in different sections of the game - and
sub-songs is better than loading a new module. Firstly, I'm not aware of a
universally accepted .MOD format (is there one? out amongst all the
soundtracker clones?) and secondly sub-song formats within .MOD formats
are rare things indeed. An iota of a glimmer or a hint of a fraction of a
percentage of the billions of mods, surely?

Of course I'm more than willing to be proved wrong.

--
Den

(Actually the format is the mod.????????? format but that's not PC. :)


Jason Anthony Melancon

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Nov 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/18/97
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Zaphod1342 (zapho...@aol.com) wrote:
> I recently played Legend Entertainment's "Gateway" (freely available on the
> Net! check GamesDomain's demos archive).

> I rather liked the game. Besides the graphics (which are excellent, by the
> way, but this is r.a.i-f!), it has a believable plot and some good puzzles.
> But what really made the game for me was the music.

I got this game a while back too, but formed almost an opposite opinion
of the music. While I enjoyed the game immensely, most of the music was
ridiculously corny, and one or two pieces had tolerable parts in them.
I think a much more successful experiment with music in IF was Myst. I
don't know wether it's worth buying the soundtrack and all, but it
contributed positively there, IMHO.

Jason Melancon

-

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Nov 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/19/97
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Zaphod1342 wrote:
[snip]
> Of course, not all IF authors are musicians, but with good programs like
> Microsoft Music Producer (in which you select a style, mood, and "shape" for
> the song) freely available on the Web
Sounds interesting (despite being a microsoft product :-)).
Do you have a URL for it? I might give it a look.
--
Nicholas Daley

Casey Muratori

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Nov 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/19/97
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zapho...@aol.com (Zaphod1342) writes:

>Anyway, my point is, what if IF games had music in the background? Perhaps
> adding some extra commands to Inform and TADS to play MIDI music. (I'm no
> expert, so if I'm suggesting an impossible thing, please don't hesitate to
> tell me so!)

Actually, I'd anticipate this would be very easy to add to either system,
excepting the fact that a small file format change might be in order.
Microsoft's DirectX 6 SDK will be shipping with a component called
"DirectMusic", which should handle all the dirty work that Frotz or other
player systems would have to do. It abstracts blending between various
scores, moods, instrument setups, etc., so the extra code required would be
minimal.

I for one would be psyched to see music support in IF games. It's much more
useful than graphics, IMHO.

- Casey

HairBrain

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Nov 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/19/97
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"Module" is the name for a format of music which incorporates samples played at
different speeds in order to generate a song. The original MOD format is quite
ancient by now and has been superseded by Fast Tracker II's XM (Xtended Module)
format and several others. Integrating a basic module player accepting the
most common types of modules shouldn't be too hard -- it's been done with web
browsers already, just check out the ModPlug Plugin, checking in at only 140 Kb
at http://www.castlex.com/modplug/ It's really cool and even accepts modules
that have been zipped...

Modules are far superior to MIDI songs because they don't have to work around
the cheap tone-generating chipsets found in most soundcards. However, because
of the module containing all samples needed for the song, they can get quite
space-consuming, even though most module musicians are well trained in
producing good modules within space restrictions. If a game was to implement
modules, the game files and the mods would have to be seperate downloads, or
the game have to come in two flavors, with and without mods.

As for subsongs, each subsong would just be a collection of patterns, where
each song would be confined to a set of patterns looping, the game jumping to
another section of patterns when a change in melody is appropriate. Heck, the
entire soundtrack for a game could be in one big module file, if it was
carefully structured. It would probably save disk space too, if a lot of
samples overlapped between the songs.

If I was to make an adventure, I'd certainly like the opportunity to be able to
add sound, but I think I'd have more use for a few basic instructions for
manipulating waveforms (volume, looping etc.) since the modules I make are
mostly background noise anyway... So I could make, say, a machine-type noise
and have it looping in the background when the player is near a machine and
fade it as the player moves away, and so on.

Of course, that could be done with mods too, but it would be sort of like
shooting pigeons with a howitzer.

HairBrain
o...@bu.telia.no
http://w1.2327.telia.com/~u232700165/
^ - My modules are online! Now you too can experience the suckiness...

Miron Schmidt

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Nov 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/19/97
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Den of Iniquity <dms...@york.ac.uk> wrote:
> On 18 Nov 1997, Miron Schmidt wrote:
>
> >The current Blorb format (I'm not sure if it's publically available yet, but
> >the z-machine mailing seems seems to have accepted it) describes how to
> >incorporate 16-bit samples and .MOD(*) files into Inform game files.
> >The catch is that .MOD(*) playing slightly changes the specification of the
> >Z-Machine itself, and that at the time being, no interpreter accepts Blorb
> >resources.
>
> What I'd have thought of as the big catch is the use of 'sub-songs' - some
> people want the music to change in different sections of the game - and
> sub-songs is better than loading a new module. Firstly, I'm not aware of a
> universally accepted .MOD format (is there one? out amongst all the
> soundtracker clones?)

Well, Blorb describes the format used in detail (Protracker 2.0); and there's
a SONG format provided, which is basically the Protracker song format, but
referring to samples in the resource file instead of externally loaded sample
data.
Thus, it's easy to provide different songs which use the same (16-bit)
samples: not exactly the same as sub-songs, but hardly more overhead.

All the sound resources are kept in one universal Blorb data file which may
also contain graphics for version 6 games. (The graphics and general part of
the Blorb specification is already available on
ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/interpreters/specification/blorb.txt or
thereabouts.)

Matthew Garrett

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Nov 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/19/97
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> What I'd have thought of as the big catch is the use of 'sub-songs' - some
> people want the music to change in different sections of the game - and
> sub-songs is better than loading a new module. Firstly, I'm not aware of a
> universally accepted .MOD format (is there one? out amongst all the
> soundtracker clones?) and secondly sub-song formats within .MOD formats
> are rare things indeed. An iota of a glimmer or a hint of a fraction of a
> percentage of the billions of mods, surely?
I'd say that the Protracker format is fairly universal - it's
certainly what the majority of MODs are written in. I've certainly
seen Protracker mods with subsongs as well.
--
Matthew Garrett | ca...@enterprise.net|

Andrew Plotkin

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Nov 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/19/97
to

HairBrain (o...@bu.telia.no) wrote:

> If I was to make an adventure, I'd certainly like the opportunity to be able to
> add sound, but I think I'd have more use for a few basic instructions for
> manipulating waveforms (volume, looping etc.) since the modules I make are
> mostly background noise anyway... So I could make, say, a machine-type noise
> and have it looping in the background when the player is near a machine and
> fade it as the player moves away, and so on.

The sound portion of Blorb allows sampled sounds (in AIFF format), MOD
files, and MODs with the sound stored separately (as Miron Schmidt was
dewscribing.)

The Z-machine allows looping sounds and changing volume.

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

John Francis

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Nov 20, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/20/97
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Great! And as soon as DirectX 6 runs on the Mac, and the Acorn, and my SGI
box, and the Palm Pilot, and my old 386, I'm sure Frotz et al. will take
advantage of it. Until then any multi-platform game system will have to
write its own code.

Not everybody has a Windows 95 system, you know. One of the really nice
things about Inform & TADS is that they run on almost any hardware. On the
other hand, however, one of the really bad things about DirectX is that
it only runs on Mr. Bill's boxes (and only fairly recent ones, at that).
Another of the bad things is that it often isn't even very good at doing
what it claims to be designed for. Ask John Carnack about the relative
merits of DirectX and OpenGL, even when designing games targetted only
at the PC market. Add to that the fact that this is a future interface
(and I've only just got over the grief of installing DirectX 5 for ZGI),
and you might begin to understand why our enthusiam is somewhat muted.
--
John Francis jfra...@sgi.com Silicon Graphics, Inc.
(650)933-8295 2011 N. Shoreline Blvd. MS 43U-991
(650)933-4692 (Fax) Mountain View, CA 94043-1389
Unsolicited electronic mail will be subject to a $100 handling fee.

Steve Bernard

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Nov 20, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/20/97
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I just thought I'd stick my neck into this thread and remark that Andrew
Plotkin's recommendation of listening to Eric Bogle while playing "A
Change in the Weather" worked very well for me. It's probably a lot
simpler than fooling around with .mod files. I figure when I get my game
finished (insert Avalon jibe here), I'll include a list of suggested
albums to listen to while playing. Hector Zazou's "Sahara Blue" will top
that list.

Other recommendations include:

1. I've been playing Bureaucracy recently and listening to Negativland,
which makes for a lot more twitching than was probably intended.

2. When I started playing Jigsaw, Gavin Bryars' "The Sinking of the
Titanic" was my most frequently played cd. That is, until it got a bit
too relevant (teaser!). So I switched it over to Holst's "The Planets".

3. Last month I finally made myself sit down and work through So Far and
I found the band Low to be the perfect companion.

Hmm, what else...? LGOP and Ron Geesin... Trinity and This Mortal
Coil... AMFV and Brian Eno...

-Steve Bernard

P.S. Is this a transparent attempt to get other people to comment on
their music picks for I-F games? Of course it is!

-------------------==== Posted via Deja News ====-----------------------
http://www.dejanews.com/ Search, Read, Post to Usenet

Jason Anthony Melancon

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Nov 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/21/97
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Jason Melancon (afn5...@afn.org) wrote:
> I had a Bach harpsichord musicpestry particularly.while doing some judging
> last year, and it seemed to enhance Tapestry particularly.

Let's try that again, shall we?

I had a Bach harpsichord music CD in while doing some judging last year,
and it seemed to enhance Tapestry particularly.

Jason Melancon

P.S. This freenet announces at 5, 2, and 1 minutes before your hour is up
that it will kick you offline shortly, and this screws the display a
little more each time. It looked fine when I posted it. :)

Joe Mason

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Nov 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/21/97
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In article <8800899...@dejanews.com>,

Steve Bernard <sber...@earthling.net> wrote:
>
>P.S. Is this a transparent attempt to get other people to comment on
>their music picks for I-F games? Of course it is!
>

Well, Alex Lifeson's "At the End" and Rush's "Here Again" would be my picks
for _In The End_, but I don't know if that counts. :-)

Not exactly a text adventure, but The Tea Party's "Turn the Lamp Down Low" for
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers. (The album cover even has a stone angel
slumped over a grave, and the lyric sheets are decorated with veve's.
Coincidence?)

That's about all I can pick - for text adventures, my mind usually creates its
own sounds, not a soundtrack.

Joe


Jason Anthony Melancon

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Nov 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/21/97
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Steve Bernard (sber...@earthling.net) wrote:

> Is this a transparent attempt to get other people to comment on
> their music picks for I-F games? Of course it is!

> 1. I've been playing Bureaucracy recently and listening to Negativland,


> which makes for a lot more twitching than was probably intended.

> 2. When I started playing Jigsaw, Gavin Bryars' "The Sinking of the
> Titanic" was my most frequently played cd. That is, until it got a bit
> too relevant (teaser!). So I switched it over to Holst's "The Planets".

> 3. Last month I finally made myself sit down and work through So Far and
> I found the band Low to be the perfect companion.

> Hmm, what else...? LGOP and Ron Geesin... Trinity and This Mortal
> Coil... AMFV and Brian Eno...

I had a Bach harpsichord musicpestry particularly.while doing some judging


last year, and it seemed to enhance Tapestry particularly.

Jason Melancon

Richard G Clegg

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Nov 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/21/97
to

Steve Bernard (sber...@earthling.net) wrote:
: I just thought I'd stick my neck into this thread and remark that Andrew

: Plotkin's recommendation of listening to Eric Bogle while playing "A
: Change in the Weather" worked very well for me.
: Other recommendations include:

(Snippage)

Hmmm... actually, the REM back catalog offers some very suitable IF
music: Maps and Legends, Can't Get There From Here, Stand - all make
me think of IF games.

--
Richard G. Clegg Only the mind is waving
Dept. of Mathematics (Network Control group) Uni. of York.
email: ric...@manor.york.ac.uk
www: http://manor.york.ac.uk/top.html


Mordacai

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Nov 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/22/97
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>
>> P.S. Is this a transparent attempt to get other people to comment on

>> their music picks for I-F games? Of course it is!

Ok, first time playing through Theater, I was listening to Power Classics. All
was going well up until some big scary moment, and suddenly the track switched
to the Infernal Dance from the Firebird suite. Nearly scared me to death.

Ian Finley

Den of Iniquity

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Nov 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/23/97
to

On Thu, 20 Nov 1997, Steve Bernard wrote:

>P.S. Is this a transparent attempt to get other people to comment on
>their music picks for I-F games? Of course it is!

I don't listen to music. I don't have any equipment for playing music.
(Must get a CD Rom for Christmas...) I don't have any music.

I do borrow my girlfriend's stuff for playing some games but for me,
playing i-f is so much like reading and concentrating on decision-making
(albeit mostly automatic response) that if I do play music I don't
actually hear it. Five songs go by and I think to myself - hang on, I
don't remember hearing the last four...

--
Den


-

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Nov 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/24/97
to
It still adds to the experience though. I never notice most of the
music in a movie, but without the music movies would be less enjoyable.
Yes I know IF is different from cinema, but I think this still applies.
--
Nicholas Daley
<dal...@ihug.co.nz>

Andrew Plotkin

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Nov 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/24/97
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Steve Bernard (sber...@earthling.net) wrote:
> I just thought I'd stick my neck into this thread and remark that Andrew
> Plotkin's recommendation of listening to Eric Bogle while playing "A
> Change in the Weather" worked very well for me.

Oh, good. (Given our population, it was quite possible that the
intersection of IF players and Eric Bogle fans was exactly me.)

> 3. Last month I finally made myself sit down and work through So Far and
> I found the band Low to be the perfect companion.

What kind of music are they?

I still remember the song that was on the radio the night (hour, minute) I
solved _Spellbreaker_. I *still* get unreasonably happy when I hear that
song. (Folk tune, anon., "Old Blue Suit". Absolutely no inherent
connection to Spellbreaker or even to IF in general; it just happened to
be playing.)

Matthew Amster-Burton

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Nov 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/24/97
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Ooh, I'll jump in here. I listened almost exclusively to Fugazi's
_Red Medicine_ while playing The Legend Lives! and it worked great.

Unfortunately, I also have _Chronic Town_ indelibly associated with
King's Quest 4.

Matthew

Steve Bernard

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Nov 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/24/97
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In article <erkyrathE...@netcom.com>,
erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) wrote:

> > 3. Last month I finally made myself sit down and work through So Far and
> > I found the band Low to be the perfect companion.
>
> What kind of music are they?

Tough question here... They're a three-piece from Duluth who play a very
slow, quiet type of music with a lot of space in it. It's very beautiful
and stirs up strong emotions in me. Somebody recently stated that Low's
instrumentation is "guitar, bass, drums, and silence"; the silence is as
much a part of the band as the music.

I'd recommend their first LP "I Could Live in Hope" on Vernon
Yard/Caroline records. It was produced by the same guy who did all the
old Galaxie 500 albums.

>
> I still remember the song that was on the radio the night (hour, minute) I
> solved _Spellbreaker_. I *still* get unreasonably happy when I hear that
> song. (Folk tune, anon., "Old Blue Suit". Absolutely no inherent
> connection to Spellbreaker or even to IF in general; it just happened to
> be playing.)
>

I solved Zork III when I was in fourth grade and remember that I could
hear something icky by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince playing in my
sister's room upstairs at the time...

-Steve "very soon to have a real newsfeed" Bernard

Mary K. Kuhner

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Nov 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/24/97
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In article <fake-mail-231...@van-as-11c04.direct.ca> fake...@anti-spam.address (Neil K.) writes:

> With a film, background music is carefully scored to fit the scene, and
>plays (ideally) for however long is appropriate. With IF a "scene" might
>take ages and ages to take place, because it's turn-based. So you might
>get a game with an interminably annoying looped piece of music or
>whatever. It's pretty rare that a game has decent music (Riven being a
>pretty rare example, IMO) that actually works.

This was a problem in _Seventh Guest_. Whenever I got stuck on
a puzzle, I got very, very sick of that puzzle's theme music.
Providing music with a game also prevents the player from choosing
his/her own background music (unless you can turn it off--you should
*always* be able to turn it off, of course).

Mary Kuhner mkku...@genetics.washington.edu

FemaleDeer

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Nov 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/24/97
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Then there are those of us that don't listen to music that much and find it
annoying (i.e. distracting) when we are reading or concentrating.

Also, in a lot of movies now, music is often played TOO LOUD, sometimes even
drowning out the conversation, (probably because the plot is weak and it needs
to be bolstered by music to have the emotional impact they want).

FD :-)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Femal...@aol.com "Good breeding consists in
concealing how much we think of ourselves and how
little we think of the other person." Mark Twain

Chris [Steve] Piuma

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Nov 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/25/97
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In article <3479a462...@news.u.washington.edu>,

mam...@u.washington.edu (Matthew Amster-Burton) wrote:
> Unfortunately, I also have _Chronic Town_ indelibly associated with
> King's Quest 4.

Heh. _Automatic for the People_ was playing throughout most of, and during
the exciting finale of one of the Final Fantasy games.

But I wouldn't want to have to _read_, have to concentrate on what I'm
reading, especially of a computer monitor, and listen to music; that's too
distracting. Especially vocal music.

And hey, aren't there any deaf IF-ers out there? C'mon, it can't just be
popular with blind folk!

--
Chris [Steve] Piuma, etc. Nothing is at: http://www.brainlink.com/~cafard
[Editor of _flim_, Keeper of the R.E.M. Lyric Annotations FAQ, MST3K #43136]
....this message brought to you by the letters N and W and the number 36....
I am hearing, if not listening to, Morton Feldman's Rothko Chapel right now.

Branko Collin

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Nov 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/25/97
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On Sun, 23 Nov 1997 20:36:20 -0800, fake...@anti-spam.address (Neil K.) wrote
>In article <3478DE6C.12F8@-.->, -@-.- wrote:
>
>> It still adds to the experience though. I never notice most of the
>> music in a movie, but without the music movies would be less enjoyable.
>> Yes I know IF is different from cinema, but I think this still applies.
>
> The most crucial difference, it seems to me, is that film or television
>or whatever has a fixed time base. A movie that is 97 minutes long is 97
>minutes long. You can pause it or rewind it if you're watching a tape, but
>that's about it. IF, however, takes as long as the player takes to figure
>things out.

>
> With a film, background music is carefully scored to fit the scene, and
>plays (ideally) for however long is appropriate. With IF a "scene" might
>take ages and ages to take place, because it's turn-based. So you might
>get a game with an interminably annoying looped piece of music or
>whatever. It's pretty rare that a game has decent music (Riven being a
>pretty rare example, IMO) that actually works.

You could use a program that writes its own music, like AlgoMusic for
the Amiga. That might also get annoying after a while, depending on the
type of music the program is composing, but a sufficiently creative
program should be able to avoid this problem most of the time.

--
Branko Collin - col...@xs4all.nl
"I won't say anything because no one ever listens to me.
I might as well be a Leonard Cohen record."
- Neil, of The Young Ones


Den of Iniquity

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Nov 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/25/97
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On 25 Nov 1997, Branko Collin wrote:
>You could use a program that writes its own music, like AlgoMusic for
>the Amiga. That might also get annoying after a while, depending on the
>type of music the program is composing, but a sufficiently creative
>program should be able to avoid this problem most of the time.

Funky as it is, I should think that Algomusic would irritate almost
everybody... Yeah, I know, _like_ AlgoMusic. Not an easy task. Algomusic
is already fairly complicated for something which generates simple
melodies to a variation of different beat-loops with a few acid-style
noises and the odd breakbeat for good measure. Goodness knows what it
would take to write algorythmic music pleasing to most ears. You know
those dice-driven piano pieces like the Mozart ones? Even they get
repetitive after a while.

Then there's that bloke with a complex music system which can take
examples of music from a composer and produce stuff that is like that
composer's work? (Sorry I can't fetch any names here, it was in New
Scientist a few months ago; maybe someone else can help me out) - in that
case the program is a considerable database, probably can't do it real
time (I think it takes rather a long while) and still needs a human ear at
the other end to say, "no, not those ten compositions, yes that one, no
not those seven, yes, that one...."

Could be done, but it wouldn't be easy and I doubt that today it would be
very satisfactory.

--
Den


Andrew Plotkin

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Nov 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/26/97
to

Branko Collin (col...@xs4all.nl) wrote:

> You could use a program that writes its own music, like AlgoMusic for
> the Amiga. That might also get annoying after a while, depending on the
> type of music the program is composing, but a sufficiently creative
> program should be able to avoid this problem most of the time.

I tried this once. (Yes, I've tried all *sorts* of things once.)

I didn't get very far, but it was mostly for lack of effort. I did get
something that would make an okay bass-line -- variations on a fixed chord
progression.

Damn, now I'm thinking about the problem again. No! Back! I've got too
much to do already! (Pentatonic scale... use Hofstadter's coderack
structure to assemble notes into chords, chords into phrases...)

Dan Schmidt

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Nov 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/26/97
to

erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) writes:

| Branko Collin (col...@xs4all.nl) wrote:
|
| > You could use a program that writes its own music, like AlgoMusic for
| > the Amiga. That might also get annoying after a while, depending on the
| > type of music the program is composing, but a sufficiently creative
| > program should be able to avoid this problem most of the time.
|
| I tried this once. (Yes, I've tried all *sorts* of things once.)
|
| I didn't get very far, but it was mostly for lack of effort. I did get
| something that would make an okay bass-line -- variations on a fixed chord
| progression.

I work on music-generation software in real life. Our current engine
takes a backing track and lets the user play a lead instrument over
it. S/he uses a joystick to control things like pitch and rhythmic
activity, and we turn that input into something that makes syntactic
sense. The idea is that people with no musical training can play
music this way, by controlling the "creative part" and letting us take
care of the syntax.

Anyway, it's pretty nifty. See <http://www.harmonixmusic.com> if
you're interested.

The IF relevance is that our new VP of Marketing is Mike Dornbrook. :)

--
Dan Schmidt -> df...@alum.mit.edu, df...@thecia.net
Honest Bob & the http://www2.thecia.net/users/dfan/
Factory-to-Dealer Incentives -> http://www2.thecia.net/users/dfan/hbob/
Gamelan Galak Tika -> http://web.mit.edu/galak-tika/www/

Stuart Adair

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Nov 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/26/97
to

Den of Iniquity wrote in message ...


>What I'd have thought of as the big catch is the use of 'sub-songs' - some
>people want the music to change in different sections of the game - and
>sub-songs is better than loading a new module. Firstly, I'm not aware of a
>universally accepted .MOD format (is there one? out amongst all the
>soundtracker clones?) and secondly sub-song formats within .MOD formats
>are rare things indeed. An iota of a glimmer or a hint of a fraction of a
>percentage of the billions of mods, surely?

A universally-accepted .MOD format would be, well, .MODs! Although there
have been 3 main versions (Soundtracker, Noisetracker, and Protracker) with
the .MOD extension, I think the Protracker one is the most common these
days. I don't know if it supports subsongs though. Does anyone know if it
supports songs (rather than modules)? Songs were part of the origianl
Soundtracker, and seem to have died a death now. Basically, when
Soundtracker came out there were a number of sample disks (ST-01, ST-02,
ST-03...), and Soundtracker songs relied on the fact that the first few at
least were fairly standard. This meant that only the music data could be
provided, and the samples loaded off the ST-xx disks. Of course, most people
used modules instead because it meant they could use non-standard samples.
Anyway, if Protracker is compatible with songs (or Noisetracker, at a push),
maybe this would be an effective way of storing them? On the other hand,
there's always the OctaMED format, which allows subsongs. However, it's
Amiga-only at the moment, although there is a PC version in development
(http://www.octamed.co.uk).

Stuart


--
_______________________
|____ .:stuart adair:. /______ dubstar:moby:scrawn&lard::..:::
/ / stu...@bigfoot.com \___________ ::interactivefiction
/ / stuart...@stud.umist.ac.uk _____) bigbeat::drum&bass:
\ \/\ http://cfloor.home.ml.org (__ /\ :quake:fatboyslim:
\__/ [under construction] [______)/ \_ ::.....::[frenzi]

Den of Iniquity

unread,
Nov 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/27/97
to

On Wed, 26 Nov 1997, Stuart Adair wrote:
>A universally-accepted .MOD format would be, well, .MODs! Although there
>have been 3 main versions (Soundtracker, Noisetracker, and Protracker) with
>the .MOD extension, I think the Protracker one is the most common

The format has quite a few variations, and unfortunately they use the same
codes to mean different things. The basic stuff is the same, layout of
notes in tracks, volume and so on, but the special effects like pitch
bending and so on vary from format to format, and then there's the use of
either CIA or VBL timing. However if one identifiable format is decided on
then there isn't a problem so long as people stick to it - authors will
know whether or not their module is compatible simply by trying it out.

>Basically, when Soundtracker came out there were a number of sample
>disks (ST-01, ST-02, ST-03...), and Soundtracker songs relied on the fact
>that the first few at least were fairly standard.

An idea that quickly went out the window! :) I think there are
Protracker-esque formats that do support subsongs - I wonder if we ought
to look to a format that also allows more than four tracks. A rigidly
defined format that allows only four tracks could become very constraining
especially as sound cards become better and cheaper. Poor old PAULA (sound
chip) on a half-meg A500 might struggle but then it would also struggle
with playing .z8 INFORM games or the larger TADS games and that's not a
good excuse for limiting all IF to a certain size from now on.

--
Den


HairBrain

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Nov 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/27/97
to

Dan Schmidt <df...@thecia.net> wrote...

>
> I work on music-generation software in real life. Our current engine
> takes a backing track and lets the user play a lead instrument over
> it. S/he uses a joystick to control things like pitch and rhythmic
> activity, and we turn that input into something that makes syntactic
> sense. The idea is that people with no musical training can play
> music this way, by controlling the "creative part" and letting us take
> care of the syntax.

Thought about implementing this in a game, making the user's input controlling
the character/aircraft/whatever vary the music as well?

Or was that what this discussion was all about? Oh well, no occasion too small
to ask a Lame Question(tm)...

HairBrain
o...@bu.telia.no
http://w1.2327.telia.com/~u232700165/

Branko Collin

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Nov 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/28/97
to

On Tue, 25 Nov 1997 22:33:13 +0000, Den of Iniquity <dms...@york.ac.uk> wrote
>On 25 Nov 1997, Branko Collin wrote:
>>You could use a program that writes its own music, like AlgoMusic for
>>the Amiga. That might also get annoying after a while, depending on the
>>type of music the program is composing, but a sufficiently creative
>>program should be able to avoid this problem most of the time.
>
>Funky as it is, I should think that Algomusic would irritate almost
>everybody...

[Yeah, I know, _like_ AlgoMusic.]
[dice-driven piano pieces like the Mozart ones]
[bloke with a complex music system]

>Could be done, but it wouldn't be easy and I doubt that today it would be
>very satisfactory.

I was thinking of a system that could be used instead of playing the same
song over and over. Of course it wouldn't be as good as having your own
record collection playing in the background, but I think that computer
composed music might be better than the same song over and over.

Den of Iniquity

unread,
Nov 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/28/97
to

On 28 Nov 1997, Branko Collin wrote:
>I was thinking of a system that could be used instead of playing the same
>song over and over. Of course it wouldn't be as good as having your own
>record collection playing in the background, but I think that computer
>composed music might be better than the same song over and over.

Cogitating a little longer on the subject, I think there are computer
compositions which could work quite nicely - provided it fitted in with
the theme of the game. Quiet pieces which are more atmosphere than musical
composition could be randomly generated - sounds of wind blowing through
trees, gentle melodic chords, the odd windchime, a barely perceptible
heartbeat, lots of silence in between. Well, I hear it in my mind's ear
anyway and I think it wouldn't be too hard to come up with a pretty
pleasant effect which could go on for donkeys' years.

I'm put in mind of the musical composition put together for the C64
version of Tetris, which played repetitively but not annoyingly despite
being fixed (mercifully about 15 minutes long, though). I'd proffer a URL
for the SID tune but frodo.hiof.no won't let me in at the moment.
(Somewhere in pub/c64...)

--
Den

Matthew Miller

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Nov 29, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/29/97
to

Stuart Adair (stuart...@stud.umist.ac.uk.NOSPAM) wrote:

: Den of Iniquity wrote in message ...


: >What I'd have thought of as the big catch is the use of 'sub-songs' - some
: >people want the music to change in different sections of the game - and
: >sub-songs is better than loading a new module.

: Anyway, if Protracker is compatible with songs (or Noisetracker, at a push),


: maybe this would be an effective way of storing them?

Yeah, you can store multiple `songs' in one music MODule, though it's a
bit tedious. A MODule is split into sections called "orders", and
presumably a "good" MODule player will let you dictate which order to
start with. Plenty of demoes do this; the Future Crew's Unreal and
Second Reality come to mind.

: there's always the OctaMED format, which allows subsongs. However, it's


: Amiga-only at the moment, although there is a PC version in development
: (http://www.octamed.co.uk).

Another group of dudes with their verrrrrrrry own web site? Stop the
madness! ;)

--
Matthew Miller -- mattm (at) infinet (dot) com

Terence Fergusson

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Dec 1, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/1/97
to

In article <65oahl$nrc$1...@campus1.mtu.edu>, Matthew Miller
<ma...@infinet.com> scribed:

>Stuart Adair (stuart...@stud.umist.ac.uk.NOSPAM) wrote:
>
>: Den of Iniquity wrote in message ...
>: >What I'd have thought of as the big catch is the use of 'sub-songs' - some
>: >people want the music to change in different sections of the game - and
>: >sub-songs is better than loading a new module.
>: Anyway, if Protracker is compatible with songs (or Noisetracker, at a push),
>: maybe this would be an effective way of storing them?
>
>Yeah, you can store multiple `songs' in one music MODule, though it's a
>bit tedious. A MODule is split into sections called "orders", and
>presumably a "good" MODule player will let you dictate which order to
>start with. Plenty of demoes do this; the Future Crew's Unreal and
>Second Reality come to mind.

Being at least a little bit familiar with Trackers, I thought I'd supply
a little information....

The three trackers that have been mentioned are pretty old.... I
remember them from when I used to have an Amiga (I still miss Deluxe
Paint 4.... <sigh>). However, there are extremely good alternatives on
the PC now. One of the best, has to be FastTracker.

It's pretty recent, compared to the others, and it can load up almost
any module from any other tracker. I've noticed a few problems with
ScreamTracker modules (especially since ScreamTracker has the option to
have Adlib instruments), but overall, it's extremely good.

Also, for compatability sakes, people might be interested in ModPlug; a
plug-in for browsers (Netscape and Explorer compatable) that allows
Modules to be played on HTML. It understands almost the entire range of
module formats currently available. Worth a look.... I guess it shows
that what we're looking for in this thread isn't all that impossible ^_^
If you're interested, go to www.castlex.com (if I remembered it
right....)

As for sub-songs, well, yes, it's 'possible' to do that with any module.
The tricky part is to configure the player so that you can start at any
'pattern' in the module at any time. Modules are created out of set
patterns, which are called from an order list. It's possible to have
unused patterns which aren't called from the main song, but reference
each other; a sub-song could just be ten or twenty patterns after the
first song. Basically, all we want to do is to be able to load in
different order lists.

However, a module is loaded into memory all in one go. So, you've got
to be careful here. But then, I suspect that that's already been
established....

>: there's always the OctaMED format, which allows subsongs. However, it's
>: Amiga-only at the moment, although there is a PC version in development
>: (http://www.octamed.co.uk).

Really? I'll have to check that out. I like OctaMED, but I hope
they've improved it since; OctaMED 4 currently isn't a patch on
FastTracker (which can handle up to 32 different channels, has differing
sized patterns, and other features that I can't remember at the mo....)

Hope that helps.

Ciao,
Terence Fergusson
-- Student of Advanced Murphodynamics

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Yes, yes, I *know* that, Sidney... *Every*body knows *that*... But look:
Four wrongs *squared*, minus two wrongs to the fourth power, divided by this
formula, *do* make a right!"
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Branko Collin

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Dec 3, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/3/97
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On Mon, 1 Dec 1997 00:17:11 +0000, Terence Fergusson <t...@isla-mia.demon.co.uk> wrote

>
>The three trackers that have been mentioned are pretty old.... I
>remember them from when I used to have an Amiga (I still miss Deluxe
>Paint 4.... <sigh>).

There is an official emulator now, based on UAE (actually, it is UAE,
bundled with a license for the ROM images). It's called Amiga Forever
and it is being made by Cloanto (http://www.cloanto.com/).

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