• Register
  • Help
Results 1 to 10 of 10

Topic: How to handle transitions between tracks

Share/Bookmark
  1. #1

    How to handle transitions between tracks

    Hi,

    I was wondering how you guys handle transitions between different tracks of music in games (assuming tonal music), when because of programming you don't necessarily know what track will come next due to mood changes etc.. Do you make sure that you have the keys for all pieces of music in the game being closely related (i.e. no more than a sharp or flat different in the key signature) and then you don't have to worry about transitions (as those transitions would simply be phrase modulations) or do you actually write transitional material between pieces of music to bring you to the new key?

    I've looked up info on this before but nothing really seems to provide it on a theoretical level..

    Thanks much

  2. #2

    Re: How to handle transitions between tracks

    I have used both approaches you mention. It really depends on the audio system the game uses and how much programming involvement you'll get from the team. If they don't have a system for transitions in place already, it will take quite a bit of time and effort to get one in. If they do have one, they'll tell you how it works. If all they do is stream audio tracks, matching up keys is usually the best you can do.

    Playing transitions can require a pretty complex matrix depending on how many different possibilities you have. Directmusic had a very deep and complicated setup for chord paths and transitions.

  3. #3

    Re: How to handle transitions between tracks

    Hi,

    It's for an open-source game which has about 10-15 amateur composers contributing to it.. it uses mp3s for music playback and simply has playlists configured so there's no transition system.. currently the music situation is not the greatest because the compositions clash terribly due to different styles, key differences, lack of common themes and motives, instrumentation differences etc.. as I have more theory/harmony/orchestration knowledge than most of the composers currently working on it I've been trying to develop a series of guidelies and requirements for composers working on the game to follow to try to get the music sounding more cohesive even though its from 10 different sources..

    I would appreciate any advice you could provide though as this is a medium I haven't composed for previously.. very little helpful feedback is available from the other composers working on the game (most do not even have any theory knowledge and compose entirely by ear)..

    Thanks!

  4. #4

    Re: How to handle transitions between tracks

    On a related note:

    " It's for an open-source game which has about 10-15 amateur composers contributing to it.. it uses mp3s for music playback..."

    Distributing MP3's, or using an MP3 decoder requires a license, does it not?

    I'd go for Ogg Vorbis if you're really sticking with the open-source mindset...

  5. #5

    Question Re: How to handle transitions between tracks

    All the music is Ogg Vorbis, all are in M3U playlists. I said MP3 becuase people in here may not know what Ogg Vorbis is as I don't know if it's used in any commercial games and I figured if I said Ogg Vorbis to someone who wasn't an open source nut they would think I made a big typo or was on crack. However I do not really see how that is relevant to the issue at hand..

  6. #6

    Re: How to handle transitions between tracks

    I'd say your only option is to attempt strict guidelines for the composers so the tracks will have any semblance of coherence. I wish you luck in getting everyone to follow them.

  7. #7

    Question Re: How to handle transitions between tracks

    Quote Originally Posted by Will Loconto
    I'd say your only option is to attempt strict guidelines for the composers so the tracks will have any semblance of coherence. I wish you luck in getting everyone to follow them.
    Thank you very much for your helpful replies

    If they don't follow them their music won't be included ! It's gotten to a point where the developers were about ready to replace all the existing orchestral music with no-royalty library techno/electronica music. I want to try to keep orchestral music in there and put in standards to fix these coherence issues.

    So, how much freedom should I allow in regards to keys? I was thinking of saying that all music tracks in the game have to start and end in one of 6 closely related keys that will be listed in a master document, with free modulation allowed during the piece.. Of course if the piece gets cut off part-way through if it's in some remote key at the time when the new piece starts up that may not work too well.. On the other hand I'm afraid that restricting it too much may stifle innovation and creativity.. Thoughts??

  8. #8

    Re: How to handle transitions between tracks

    Honestly, composing for games is usually an exercise in being creative inside of restrictions or technical limitations. Rarely do you get to "just write music" that feels right. On a commercial project, you might get a lot more restrictions than making sure all the keys match for transitions, so I don't think it's too much to ask.

    As a last resort, you can always fade out one track, then start the next after a short pause. That takes a little bit of the edge off the clashing of the tracks.

  9. #9

    Re: How to handle transitions between tracks

    It sounds like the developers are giving you a sort of audio-director type role. If that is the case, I'd agree with the above - by setting forth some simple to follow guidelines regarding length, key, modulation, and perhaps even intro/outro structure, you should be able to resolve this issue without stifling creativity. Any composer who is unable to follow a simple set of rules and still remain creative probably isn't going to produce anything better by NOT following rules...(if that makes sense).

    As Will also notes, setting up fades in between tracks will ease the transitions as well, but it sounds like the playback engine isn't all that sophisticated. So best to prepare the source material as though there will be no engine transitions.

  10. #10

    Re: How to handle transitions between tracks

    Thank you very much.. your replies fill in exactly what I needed to know!

    I'm not specifically being put in an audio director role.. I'm facilitating the creation and management of a music committee on the open-source project that will be creating and enforcing these rules and assisting the composers with creating their music.. While I intend to be involved heavily in the entire process I want it to be an initiative that would continue if I disappeared off the face of the earth, hence why I'm working to create the committee..

    Thanks again

    Mike

Go Back to forum

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •