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Old February 25, 2000, 19:52   #1
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EC3 Fix #20 - An Age-Relevant, Immersive Soundtrack
by Slingshot <center><table width=80%><tr><td><font color=000080 face="Verdana" size=2><font size="1">quote:
<img src="/images/blue1.gif" width=100% height=1>
</font>RE: A Killer Soundtrack

Above all, Civ is the very best game because it is so immersive. Immersion comes from the addictive story line, the ability to see something worthwhile come from your troubles, and a medium that is appealing to the senses.

But graphics - even wonderful, rich, soul-wrenching graphics can only do part of the job. Probably the best example is Myst and Riven. Both games were primarily visual, and yet the designers felt the experience would be lacking without a soundtrack. For mnay, the music was so good that Cyan even sold the soundtrack on CD!

Here are some other reasons:
- Music is an excellent way to suggest theme. Think of movies like Crimson Tide, the Hunt for Red October, Star Wars, Star Trek, etc. Consider how razing the Death Star would feel if there was no music in the background.
- Music can help a Civ player experience that civ's culture, by listening to special tracks "written" by admiring citizens or during a parade in his/her honour.
- A frantic score can emphasize the feeling that you're behind on the powergraph. If another player is fast approaching, the music can foreshadow the struggle to come.

Many themes are age-specific. For example:
- In the beginning, life is lonely .. haunting, dark .. ominous. Players are fighting for knowledge of techs and landscape. There is a lot of music that generates this sort of mood. Eg. celtic (Enya's song "Hymn" comes to mind, or Enya's sister, Marie Brennan's "Gra De")
- During the renaisance, there is are more cavalier themes, including a whole new way to look at exploitation: Imperialism.
- After Imperialism came great conflicts and war on a global scale. As I suggested, works like Gustav Holst's "Mars" is a fitting score.

But there can be problems. BAD music is worse than no music at all! Music is bad when:
- it is overly repititous, or it overstates a theme.
- it is played at the wrong time. Once in CTP I was pummeling the last Viking city after a Blitzkreig-style war. Then came the bzzzt! Hoy Ya! Bong bong Tribal Drum song... That sure killed the mood...

- it is too removed from what the average gamer can stomach. Eg. The William Tell Overture (Lone Ranger Theme Song) would be silly.
<img src="/images/blue1.gif" width=100% height=1></font></td></tr></table></center>

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Old February 28, 2000, 05:34   #2
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first can you define what the problem is? is it a significant problem? how does your ideas fix that problem specifically? does your fix effect any other areas of the game? if it does effect another area does it upset game balance in those other areas? is there a simpler way to fix the problem? does your idea hurt gameplay? why out of all of the ideas does your fix belong on this list?

good ideas slingshot!
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Old February 28, 2000, 19:04   #3
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Why not just a 'grow your own' option?

Just have a folder called music and let the program play any MP3s in random order.

That way they don't have to pay royalties on music (i.e they spend the Development bucks on important things) and you get exactly the music you want.
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Old February 29, 2000, 08:20   #4
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There are two types of game music, musac and normal music.

With musac everyone hates it because its just bad. With normal music you have an even greater problem, everyone has different tastes. For example a heavy metal fan is not going to like the latest dance soundtrack and vice-versa. The solution, dont waste money on a soundtrack and give me an mp3 player support instead.
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Old February 29, 2000, 16:03   #5
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A folder for mp3s isn't a bad idea. I have 2 CDRoms in my system, so I tend to pop a music CD in the other drive when playing games with crappy music.
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Old March 1, 2000, 00:14   #6
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Why not have Microprose make alternative sound tracks that can be downloaded from their or other websites?
There have been a few soundtracks that I didn't like, but by and large I've liked most of the Civ music. After playing the game for 6 months even good music can be tedious, so you should be able to replace it.
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Old March 1, 2000, 01:17   #7
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you can have a folder for mp3s... that's great. go for it.

but you can't just decide not to put any other music in. don't just say "don't bother".

actually, i hardly know why i'm posting this. there is no way that they won't include some music that they've had a decent crack at. how else will they get high ratings in those 1-hour reviews, thereby convincing the masses to buy it?
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Old March 1, 2000, 21:29   #8
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I think that having a special music folder would be a good idea. I think though that the game should come with a certain selection of music at the beginning that you can replace later on. I would also be a great idea for Firaxis to have a catalog of suitable MP3's on their website for download.

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