Would music add to, or detract from, immersion?


junaid_hussain

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What are your thoughts on this? Do you think it would add to immersion or remove you from it? Hearing ambient, eerie or epic music may take away from the immersion of the experience for me? I think perhaps the game should focus on ambient sound and environmental sounds rather than having a soundtrack. It's not a deal breaker for me if it does have music, just that I think being in that situation having music appear out of nowhere might detract from the immersion. Possibly.

If music was to be in the game, what they could do is include a portable radio device, which plays the soundtrack to the game as different radio channels. That way it doesn't break immersion, but adds to it as the music won't be appearing out of "thin air" so to speak.

On the other hand, if it's an ambient soundtrack, it may add to the emotive aspects of having moving music, which encapsulates the situation you're in. For example, sorrowful music when you look at the locket.

Thoughts, and opinions on this?

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I have to say that the right music could definitely add to the immersion as it can help set the mood for the game, the right kind of music and audio can get your heart racing and increase those feelings of anxiety which may come with impending doom/death or bring a feeling of relief with the survival of yet another freezing black night all alone in the wilderness.

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@Junaid_Hussain: ambient music does make a difference in gameplay [as long as it's done properly to fit the mood]... as an example, watch just about any movie now -- they rely on the music to set the tone even if you don't always notice it.

I figure there will be a volume control or mute option for those who prefer to play game areas without it though, so you should be able to turn it off if that's your preference.

Myself, I'm looking forward to hearing more based on the small sample we got a sneak listen to in the quote video

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While cool, I think the radio idea is too much like Fallout 3's interface. But also, if this were something that you carried on your person, I Would expect it to have game impacting effects! Like folks being attracted to the sound and stuff. or it not easily being heard over the whistling of the wind!

Overall, I think music Would only add rather than detract from the game. ^^

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I think the music, if done, should be along similar lines to the music integration of Minecraft. It's a largely silent game apart from ambient noise that is made by you or the environment, but at random points music will slowly come into the speakers. It isn't ever in a sudden, boom here's the music, thing. To me, I hardly notice the music sometimes until the song is almost over. Then I'm just like, "Oh, hey. Music started. That's cool."

But just because you don't notice it doesn't mean it has no effect on immersion.

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I really can’t decide right now. The right song(s) can be a huge support for the atmosphere but also can destroy a lot. I am shure the Hinterlanders will make the right decision.

Just a thought: I love the idea that some "fanart" music (songs) plays in the end while the credits are shown. Or maybe we could make a fan made soundtrack, couldn’t we?

Shout out to every member of the forum: Where are the musicians in the fan base of TLD? (I am more a writer [books and walls] than a musician... but I am working on something.)

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I definitely think music would add to the game. I find that in most movies or games it helps define a moment and provide the right emotions.

I recently saw a video where they removed the laughter from The Big Bang Theory and it wasn't nearly as funny. That audio cue to let your brain know how to feel about a situation is pretty important, in my opinion. (I am sure there is science behind it, but that is beyond my brain.)

The dramatic moment in a movie or that moment of impending danger in some games wouldn't have nearly the same impact without the music.

Granted, I think it should be done sparingly. I feel like TLD will be a game where you will want to enjoy the sounds of nature, the crunch of snow beneath your feet, a branch snapping or the sound of your breath to remind you if you are exerting to much energy and exhausting yourself. I am excited to see how they incorporate it all together.

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Minecraft has music?

Sure does. A guy named C418. Nice chill ambient music. They randomly play when you are in the game and you can also find records (each has a single track) that you can play in the jukebox you can craft.

Truth be told, I listen to the soundtrack at work. I find it calming when things get hectic.

Now that I think about it, Bastion also has a fantastic soundtrack worth listening to if you have the time.

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The right music could really help add to a situation.

Make a silent feel either relaxing or sad, or give a sense of fear while being stalked by a wolf or something.

If someone doesn't like it they can always lower it to 0 in the options.

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  • 1 month later...

The strongest answer here seems to be "the right music can really aid immersion", and while I totally agree with this, you guys really got me thinkin'!

For example, Skyrim has a brilliant soundtrack, a sound for every moment. Honestly, I simply can't imagine Skyrim without thinking of "Far Horizons" as I emerge from a treeline to a vast, lush landscape.

Skyrim - Far Horizons - [bBvideo 560,340:tunvagel]

[/bBvideo]

But of the ~three hours of OST Skyrim can offer, I can only drum up about 10-15 miunutes examples where the music truly fits the bill. However, we need to remember that Skyrim takes place in a world with dragons, magic and Elder Scrolls - it's providing a very broad sense of escapism for its audience, and that's what the music is tailored to do.

Use of music is also very prevalent in Red Dead Redemption. The difference here is that the music appears sporadically, mostly in missions and in snippets while free roaming. Nonetheless, the music is totally atmospheric, and works wonders when setting the mood for the game.

Red Dead Redemption (Free roam exapmples)- [bBvideo 560,340:tunvagel]

[/bBvideo]

Here, the composers have a well trodden path to follow - a spaghetti western. This is theme has already embedded itself in our culture for the past half a century, so allowing Ennio Morricone-inspired music help immerse the player... isn't quite reinventing the wheel in this regard. Still unquestionably badass though.

Then we move to Fallout 3, where the only music is attainable through the radio interface on the Pip-Boy, otherwise, you are left in the cold, post nuclear silence.

Fallout 3 (skip to about an hour in) - [bBvideo 560,340:tunvagel]

[/bBvideo]

I think that the lack of prompted music in this game is just a signpost to how Fallout's world got to that point, another reminder of the form human conflict can take. In a nuclear wasteland, there is no music, and the Capital Wastes are no exception. A picture paints a thousand words, but all the guitars were destroyed in the blast.

The use of music in Left 4 Dead was interesting, whilst there wasn't any overarching themed music - there were motifs to announce the arrival of foe. I feel that this diluted the feeling of isolation in a zombie apocalypse somewhat, but this could also be because the player must work with 3 others.

L4D - No Mercy play through - [bBvideo 560,340:tunvagel]

[/bBvideo]

When those three allies perish, the story is very different - those motifs become the soundtrack to your own demise. I do wonder what it would be like if L4D was single player (as in no allies to help you either) - with no music at all.

I believe the Long Dark has a brilliant opportunity to make use of music. Since realism is the name of the game here, I can't see much Skyrim/Red Dead-esque soundtracks on the game. The term "ambient" is used a lot when describing the scoring to The Long Dark, and I think we're certainly in the right ball park there. One thing is for sure, we should never underestimate the effect music can have on the playing experience;

Skip to about 5 minutes in - [bBvideo 560,340:tunvagel]

[/bBvideo] - I literally shed a tear when this happened.

The idea of throwing the player into an immediate post-electricity world is a path not yet trodden by composers or writers; so Cris and Sascha have a blank canvas to work and experiment on. This is a fantastic opportunity to see the effect of music on game immersion and I honestly can't wait to see what happens with this.

Best wishes to all involved!

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I would like subtle ambient music, instrumental though. But it would also be interesting if the character could play some kind of music to pass the time while sitting at a campfire after eating. Maybe you can find a harmonica, or an acoustic guitar? At first the character sucks, but as time goes by, gets better and better (or maybe as part of the back story, the character knows how to play the guitar and thus is even more happy to have found one?). This would really help moral, but maybe as a drawback, it attracts predators? Mind you, it may just help keep them away. Just a thought..

Cor

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This game has 2 different modes and I think that they would have different effects with music. The story line driven episodic aspect to the game would certainly add a level of immersion to the game. Music definitely helps to set the mood, and I think the devs would do well to set the mood in the story they are telling.

The survival sandbox aspect to the game is one where I could see the music being distracting. I personally wouldn't mind it, but I could see it being annoying if I didn't hear the wolf coming because some music event started when I created a fire.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ambient music while exploring, especially at night could be detrimental. When I imagine drudging through the snow at night or waiting while camped out, I hear the whistling of the wind, the rustling of the trees, the howls of the wildlife. That's what really sets the tone of isolation and solitude when exploring.

However, music could be implemented using the northern lights. The colours could coincide with minute ambient music to convey different moods and threat levels in the area.

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We actually plan on having two kinds of music. One will be obvious and more traditional. The other is a more ambient style. We haven't tested it yet, but plan to soon. We believe that less is more so don't worry that we'll have constant or distracting music.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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