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So...where 're all the "Danger is near" music ?
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MrSteve Offline
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Post: #11
RE: So...where 're all the "Danger is near" music ?

Me neither.

It would certainly add a new direction to the ambience.
07-08-2015 03:08 PM
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Thomas Offline
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Post: #12
RE: So...where 're all the "Danger is near" music ?

This is a very interesting topic really and we have discussed it internally a bunch. There are two stances:

A: Music that "syncs" to creature encounters make the encounters feel better. It helps emphasize the mood and put the player in the right mind state. It is also annoying to constantly hide in the game, and if music tells you when things are starting to get dangerous you can engage in behavior only when needed. (Why annoying? Because if 99% of your hiding is not needed, it will become mundane and repetitive and the scariness is decreased).

B: That music is not realistic and makes the world feel more player-centered and therefore lose some immersion. Also, it gives a sort of 6th sense that takes away some immersion. If music tells you when a creature is near, then you will quickly learn this and you will miss out on the player imagining creatures that never existed in the first place, and some of the proper horror experience is lost.

It is possible to argue for both of these stances and what we did first in SOMA was to go with mostly B. But there was one major issue with this:

- Encounter specific music makes the game scarier!

Pretty late in development (actually just a few months back) we added some subtle low-freq music that came a little bit before a monster was near the player, and it made the experience so much better. It was a big difference. This is not really that surprising, I mean, we all know music is super important in horror movies.

But still interesting to see that having a certain kind of music that was used to highlight a certain happening could have a much bigger effect than you sorta intuitively expect. Because, we had creepy music in these encounters, it was just that the music was more global to the level and not specific to the encounter. And when we just tweaked a bit it made a lot of difference.

So, some "realism" has to go out the window. But we will had the problem of the player predicting when encounters would happen. And there are a few ways we tackle this:

- First thing to note is that monsters are not as event-based as in Amnesia. Many times creatures patrol an area and some even have dynamic appearance mechanics. So just because of this, it harder to guess when an enemy is near or not. This since the monster being simply present is not cause for the same danger as in Amnesia.

- In amnesia danger music is based purely on distance and on the monster being active or not. This makes it very clear cut. In SOMA, it depends on the state of the monster, if the player has seen it, and so forth. It is much less obvious what triggers the music. Because of this, music might not even lead to the player encountering something.

- We change this up depending on the monster and each have different ways that control how music is handled. Some even have no danger music at all. And sometimes we play danger music without there being any danger present at all. All this to mess with the player's head and avoid having recognizable patterns.

(Yikes, this got longer than what I intended. If you have more questions regarding this, ask and I might do a larger article on the subject!)
(This post was last modified: 07-09-2015 08:01 AM by Thomas.)
07-09-2015 08:00 AM
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MrSteve Offline
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Post: #13
RE: So...where 're all the "Danger is near" music ?

I think it all boils down to personal taste.

Take a game like Alien Isolation. There's a real emphasis of the horror 'music' when the Alien is upon you, when you're hiding. It gives that whole sense of 'oh crap, it's found me and there's nowhere to run'.

For me, that's how it felt. For a friend of mine, he just found it frustrating, because he said he knew when and not to make a run for it. For him, half the fun was thinking 'Am I safe now?' taking one step out of a locker and then being impaled through the stomach. We also used to make fun of each other, because I would stay put and eventually get found, because the music kept me there Smile

I can see the charm in what he's saying. To make something more real to the player; should you maintain the constant sense of danger, even when they are totally safe? This was something that was acheived in Amnesia, but like you say, people quickly adapted.

I certainly think this is a topic for larger discussion.

I guess it depends if you're a 'RUN AWAY' person or a 'HIDE IN THE CELLAR, IT'LL NEVER FIND YOU THERE!...' kind of person.
(This post was last modified: 07-09-2015 11:34 AM by MrSteve.)
07-09-2015 11:22 AM
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Damascus Rose Offline
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Post: #14
RE: So...where 're all the "Danger is near" music ?

I think it would be interesting for some encounters if the monster is there in the level, but only when you see it the music starts

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07-09-2015 02:33 PM
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Razputin Offline
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Post: #15
RE: So...where 're all the "Danger is near" music ?

Thanks Thomas you did point out some really decent points. I think I 'll have to enjoy the game myself when it 's released and see how I feel with it Big Grin

It truly does give you some sort of unfair 6th sense. But oh god please tell me that in my first playthrough of Amnesia and Penumbra...It was too tense to even think about that haha, hence that was my best horror experience I 'd ever had in gaming, it 's so great to a point that I feel it enjoyable afterward

The thing that bothered me the most about AMFG is actually this problem Smile and the second is the game are quite easy, that 's why i feel concerned and make my way to this forum and ask here. I feel there 's no unique taste to its 's horror aspect and my brain told me this is the case Big Grin I'm new anyway, wanna say hi to everyone Smile

"Now the problem originates here, in the area that we in the medical profession like to refer to as THE BRAIN!"
(This post was last modified: 07-10-2015 03:38 AM by Razputin.)
07-10-2015 03:20 AM
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MrSteve Offline
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Post: #16
RE: So...where 're all the "Danger is near" music ?

I was thinking more about this, and something came to mind.

It also depends on the direction of where you want the player to be in the game.

If the game has music and more specifically 'Monster' music, you're telling a story to the player. What I mean by this, is you have predetermined what they player should experience, or at least predict what the player will experience. There's almost this removal of the free will aspect at that point in the game. We want you to know this portion is danger and thus you're feeding them the environment.

If you have a situation with no music, you are not leading the player to a situation. Yes, you could argue that said monster showing up at a timed point is also telling the game as a sort of story, but at least with no music the reaction would be up to the player to experience at whatever point of discovery.

The lack of music also leaves the player feeling exposed and less supported. There are no que's as to when they should or should not start to tense up on an impending scenario.

Surprise generates a more realistic horror.

Music starting before a baddie turns up in a game is like a horror movie where the bad guy starts stomping his feed on the floor ten seconds before turning up, to let you know they're there. It wouldn't work
07-10-2015 12:10 PM
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Razputin Offline
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Post: #17
RE: So...where 're all the "Danger is near" music ?

Suprise indeed generates a more realistic horror.

And that 's why I rate "jumpscares" a 1 cent worth style-o-horror Big Grin Since realistic scary things are quite boring to me. What interests me the most is the unknown.

The feeling when you knew you 're being hunted by a ... something (that you 're too scared to even bother peaking to see what it is) somewhere around the area you 're in ... IS one of - you know - fear of the unknown, the Lovecraft bit we all deserves. You know something wanna screw you over, but you dont know what and where exactly, you JUST KNEW it, the freaking music tells you that. And in the end music is far stronger than sex and some drugs in terms of mental manipulation Smile I know this might only works for the first time (first playthrough), but it 's totally worth it Smile

So in the end, seems like it 's just the matter of taste Big Grin

"Now the problem originates here, in the area that we in the medical profession like to refer to as THE BRAIN!"
(This post was last modified: 07-10-2015 07:57 PM by Razputin.)
07-10-2015 07:45 PM
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Blackrobin Offline
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Post: #18
RE: So...where 're all the "Danger is near" music ?

It is the terror of anticipation preceeding the revelation of horror that gives the greatest sense of dread.
The danger music can provide that, though this can be achieved without music. Look, for example, this scene from Rear Window
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8eNpwLPwog
I think the lack of music in that scene let the audience to pay extra attention to the environmental sound and the sound of footsteps which hints the approaching danger.
07-11-2015 07:21 AM
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Gunslingerjh Offline
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Post: #19
RE: So...where 're all the "Danger is near" music ?

Sooo glad they went for choice B! The danger music is one of the major setbacks for me when i was playing amnesia. Realy curious to see how it plays out!

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07-12-2015 09:40 AM
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