Music in Gaming Over the Years

Just found this article on the BBC website. It tells how music in video games has developed over the decades. Given how much we’re enjoying Skewsound’s contributions to GD I thought y’all might like to read it to see how things have changed.

Interesting article indeed, thanks for posting.

I think the first game music that really impressed me was Loom by Lucasfilm Games. Music is an essential part of the gameplay too, as you interact with stuff in the world by playing different melodies, each melody has a different purpose.

Then came Doom (1993) and it blew me away. Even on a Soundblaster 16 without Wavetables the soundtrack totally nailed the atmosphere. Robert Prince took inspiration from various metal and grunge bands of that time and it fits perfectly.

Other memorable soundtracks include Cold Storage’s WipeOut music and Frank Klepacki’s Command&Conquer music. Haven’t played these games as much as I’ve listened to their soundtracks, still do after all these years. Oh and of course Mark Morgan’s Fallout soundtrack (which he released for free btw, lookup Vault Archives if you’re interested). Totally different genres but equally important soundtrack.

One of the best examples of well-designed game music is Titan Quest. It has an adaptive score that consists of dozens of pieces of music that would seamlessly merge with each other and change the tone on the fly as you go back and forth between environments. Each act (Greece, Egypt, China) has it’s own distinctive style, derived from ancient music of those areas. Also TQ has probably the most epic ending sequence ever. That “Rock of Mages” song that played while the credits rolled and all the enemies in the game appeared once more, that was one of the best gaming experiences I ever had (I wish GD had something like that).

I once wrote music for a Fallout 3 mod (that unfortunately never came out), so I know it is a tough task to set the tone right for the intended atmosphere. So Kudos to Skewsound, they did an amazing job with the FG soundtrack as far as I could hear it on Grava’s last stream. Someone complained that metal guitars don’t belong in a fantasy game with sandy environment but to me it fits very well, it’s GRIM Dawn after all. :slight_smile:

imo, when gaming in arpg, music that has strong ambient element (with variation within each ambient type) is the best gameplay enhancer. in arpg, we want to prioritize hearing the sound fx of ours’ and enemies’ dances of death. environment ambient sound and music is there as toppings.

TQ has done this well. the variation in ambient track within the same regions is a nice design. And some special event (like when you enter the underworld) has very memorable short music that represent the general ambience in areas of that event.

GD is… lacking in variety of ambient musics (cave & interior levels has only 1 ambient music if i recall… sometimes you heard weird JRENG sound in that track that feels like bad jumpscare). The Gruesome Harvest is a great ambient enhancer in the infested farmland area. but its probably the only 1 in the original game. aom has put more emphasis on this kind of unique ambient musics (machinery of the damned into ugdenbog, malmouth, city of ruins) its a good change, but its not enough…

Don’t get me wrong, the long soundtracks that accompanies you in most GD overworld (and on very few boss battles… which were just krieg, log, and theodin) is nice… very grim with some sprinkles of hope. and it fits with GD Universe. However, they are not ambient music. they are full soundtracks.

Bottom line is, GD needs more ambient soundtracks (preferably follows TQ’s example).

I was impressed first by music from some turrican game, might be turrican 2 on my amiga 500 :stuck_out_tongue:

After that it was a while and aoe 1 comes to mind…and d2 to some extent…and of course morrowind!

In gd i turned music off like…2 years ago or so ^^

I cant see the vids it has it says not available in my location whats wrong with greece? o_o
Listen game over music of FF2

I agree. In current GD it feels like the same piano and guitar riff is playing over and over again with large gaps of silence in between. I’ve turned off the music a long time ago to listen to something else while playing (currently Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts I-IV, fits the grim atmosphere of the game very well), but of course I will turn it back on for the Forgotten Gods soundtrack, well at least for one playthrough. If there’s a good amount of continuous ambient background music I won’t switch it off so quickly.

Perhaps time to turn it on again then as quite a few new pieces of music have been added to areas that didn’t have them before.

Hmm, idk. For me OST / Video-Music (but also Soundeffects) are part of the Soul of Videogames. Sure there are Great Games, which still are great, even without the score, but if a imagine an The Legend of Zelda, Nier, Diablo and such without their great Music’s it wouldn’t be the same. Though it’s also an matter of Genre / how well implemented. I mean sure, i know there are some who points out how dissapointed they was with the score of Breath of the Wild, i have to say i still loved it, und while i understand the critique that it was to rare(because there are a lot of silent moments), if i imagine an Game which is that big and constantly have the open world pieces in the background, they would go fast on my nerves… (doesn’t matter how good this pieces are, if you have for 50 up to 250 Hours constantly music in the background is kinda stressfull). There are also Games where “no /rare-music” is part of the experience / atmosphere if i think about Games like Shadow of Collossus.

TBH while i like / enjoy the OST of Grim Dawn, due the longterm Nature(same goes for Diablo) i tend to mute the music after awhile and either listen to my “normal” Music on Spotify or watch Series / Movies besides that.