Music vs. Sound effects

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Friendbot2000
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Music vs. Sound effects

#1 Post by Friendbot2000 » Sat Apr 30, 2011 3:55 pm

I have hit an impasse in my project. My partner wants to know what kind of music we are going to have in the VN. This raises a whole bunch of questions for me because most of what I have planned/prepared are sound effects. Now when I say sound effects I don't mean "BAM" and "POW". I am talking about ambience and atmospheric sound effects like the noises you hear on a summer morning. I was planning on using this strategy for most of the game because I feel it adds more realism to the world. I do plan to add some music for the menus and stuff, but I am not sure if I want to include a lot of music.

What is your opinion on the usage of sound effects over music or vice versa?
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Re: Music vs. Sound effects

#2 Post by Aleema » Sat Apr 30, 2011 4:07 pm

I'm pro-ambience. Pro pro pro sound. I use ambience over music a lot in my own projects. I think music helps at certain times, though. Just sound might bother me. Just as it might bother me if I played any game with no music (RollerCoaster Tycooooon *shakes fist*) or if I watched a movie with no soundtrack. If it helps your narrative, that's different. But music almost always helps a narrative for clearly emotional parts. You don't necessarily need constantly playing music, maybe just an accent here or there. I think horror games can get away with just ambience, though.

As for just relying heavily on SFX with music sprinkled around, I love that. It reminds me very much of a movie. Though, we are working in a non-voiced environment, so the voices that stimulated us before are no longer there, so I suppose that's why music is more popular. It gives you something to listen to, so you don't feel lonely while playing? Haha.

As for the opposite, music and no ambience -- boo. Sound is underrated and a good ambience can really put you in a location more than a background could. (of course, an annoying ambience can drive you up the wall ...)

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Re: Music vs. Sound effects

#3 Post by Friendbot2000 » Sat Apr 30, 2011 4:31 pm

Aleema wrote:I'm pro-ambience. Pro pro pro sound. I use ambience over music a lot in my own projects. I think music helps at certain times, though. Just sound might bother me. Just as it might bother me if I played any game with no music (RollerCoaster Tycooooon *shakes fist*) or if I watched a movie with no soundtrack. If it helps your narrative, that's different. But music almost always helps a narrative for clearly emotional parts. You don't necessarily need constantly playing music, maybe just an accent here or there. I think horror games can get away with just ambience, though.

As for just relying heavily on SFX with music sprinkled around, I love that. It reminds me very much of a movie. Though, we are working in a non-voiced environment, so the voices that stimulated us before are no longer there, so I suppose that's why music is more popular. It gives you something to listen to, so you don't feel lonely while playing? Haha.

As for the opposite, music and no ambience -- boo. Sound is underrated and a good ambience can really put you in a location more than a background could. (of course, an annoying ambience can drive you up the wall ...)
Thank you Aleema, you have expressed my sentiment exactly. It is good to know I am not crazy. I am wading through free sound effects sites trying to find what I want. Some of the stuff I really like, but I would have to edit out the microphone static. Can I do that using Audacity?
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Re: Music vs. Sound effects

#4 Post by Lotus » Sat Apr 30, 2011 5:07 pm

Yes, though you need a small sample of silence from that sound sample. This thread from the VAA forums explains it pretty good, http://voiceactingalliance.com/board/sh ... h-Audacity
What you want is the "noise removal" section.

Edit: On topic, I think ambiance vs. music depends on the story/game, and what types of ambiance/music you use. Mostly ambiance would work with a calm, slice-of-life story or horror story, music would work with most fantasy and sci-fi stories, etc.

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Re: Music vs. Sound effects

#5 Post by LVUER » Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:31 pm

I think you could use both, I mean both ambience's sound effect and music... as long as the music is not loud enough to cover the sound effects. Perhaps you could set so when the sound effects is being played, the game will turn down the music volume.
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Re: Music vs. Sound effects

#6 Post by flowerthief » Mon May 02, 2011 1:36 am

I think I'm more of a music guy myself, which probably derives from my taste in games.

Off-topic.... Do you know what the best music track to ever appear in a game is? Answer: the Terran theme in the original Starcraft. Because after hours upon hours upon hours upon hours of hearing it I never found myself annoyed at it. And that is really quite amazing for a video game. I still am not sure how they pulled that off. Maybe because the volume is low compared to the sound of overlords squishing, seige tanks booming, etc?
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Re: Music vs. Sound effects

#7 Post by yummy » Tue May 10, 2011 4:15 pm

The only difference between ambiance sounds and ambiance music is the feelings they convey.
Ambiance sound tend to add some scene events, associated with a specific action or a set background.

Ambiance music convey a specific tone to a text being displayed. You might want to try this for example:

"- She said she couldn't live without you.
- But...!"

Then use different kind of music to make it sound merry, sad, horrific...

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Re: Music vs. Sound effects

#8 Post by Blue Lemma » Wed May 11, 2011 4:35 am

For a long game, music is almost a must! Unless the idea is to have people listening to their own tunes while they play (flash games, anyone?), but that would detract from the atmosphere, obviously. Music is very tied to emotion, so I think you should definitely have some where appropriate.
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Re: Music vs. Sound effects

#9 Post by Greeny » Thu May 12, 2011 11:51 am

Personally I'm thinking of getting a sound director for my project when I finish the graphics phase...
Someone who understands music and sound better than I do.
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