Nordic Game 2015 partner and exhibitor Elias Software has some advice for developers looking to create dynamic and adaptable game music:
Music in video games is entering a new era. It’s a field where not much progress has been made since the ’90s, and the problem is that no matter how much time and money is spent on music for a game, chances are that players will turn the music off at some point. This happens mainly for two reasons: You get tired of hearing the same loop play over and over again, and the music doesn’t really follow what’s happening in the story, therefore it’s not crucial to the immersion of the player.
Elias believes that music should take more of a front seat and heighten the gaming experience even more – just like it does in a movie, where each scene has dedicated music written for it. There’s only one problem – the story will be different each time a person plays the game, so how is that going to work?
For the last couple of years, we have been developing the Elias (Elastic Lightweight Integrated Audio System) platform in an attempt to solve the above mentioned problems. The Elias engine makes video game music as dynamic and adaptable as a film score. With Elias, you can have randomized themes with a very large number of variations, so when you’re out in an open-world game just wandering around you’ll be playing for hours before hearing the same arrangement again. At the same time, when you happen on a quest, the music will respond and interact with the storyline depending on what happens around you – incoming enemies, change in scenery, new knowledge, found items, boss fights etc. To the gamers, it will feel like an actual soundtrack accompanying their actions.
Elias comes with an authoring tool, Elias Composer’s Studio, that helps the composer to structure and manage the various themes in the game and bridges the gap between the composer and level designer to ease the music integration process.
Check out the Elias introductory video:
The Elias engine is free to download and try. No license purchase is needed until a game is ready to ship. There are also demo themes available that composers and developers can play around with to see how the engine works. For those who are in need of ready-to-use themes we can provide that too. We have many composers working on creating adaptive themes for Elias that you can purchase on our website.
The first game to use the Elias engine is Gauntlet, developed by Swedish Arrowhead Game Studios. We are now looking for other developers to collaborate with, and we’ve just released a Unity plug-in that we hope will make it easier for users to get started. Elias Software will be present on the Expo floor at Nordic Game 2015, and we look forward to meeting developers to explore possibilities of collaboration.
Featured image above from Gauntlet, developed by Arrowhead Game Studios