The Escapist Show: Episode 33: Sound in Games

Episode 33: Sound in Games

This week, The Escapist Show takes a look at sound in games.

This week's musical guests:

Ian Dorsch - "Escapist Show Theme"
Young Dre The Truth feat. Good Charlotte - "Workin"

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I recommend you listen to The Eminence Orchestra. It's a lot like Video Game Live, but I like their sound better.

There's more to sound design than voices and music. Think of the actual use of sound. Half-Life 2 did this excellently. You could immediately recognize what enemy was around the corner and what weapon he was holding by the sound. Radio chatter? Combine! Loud, stacatto fire? The Pulse Rifle, of course! Less loud, more continuous fire? The submachinegun.
Your suit would tell you your approximate health without you needing to look at your HUD, and a litle beep announced that you were in need of reloading.

Personally, I think a game without a good soundtrack can't function. Would you have imagined a game like Okami without the lovely Japanese music? Even if you didn't like the music, you couldn' argue that it just fit.

Sometimes the music is more subtle, as it is in The Longest Journey. It never stands out; it's just... there. But every area has its own music that sets it apart from the others. This, coupled with the best voice acting ever seen in anything animated in the history of man, make this one of my favourite games (and since the games, especially the second one, are essentially interactive movies, the voice acting needs to be excellent).

And to finish this little speech about great sound in games, I leave you with the following. The greatest song ever composed.

If you disagree, then we can never, ever be friends.

But I wanted more of Russ singing Elton John Rocket Man...:(

Clashero:
I recommend you listen to The Eminence Orchestra. It's a lot like Video Game Live, but I like their sound better.

Just so you know, the sound of Videogames Live isnt set- because they don't travel with an orchestra. They recruit local groups. I know this because I sang in the VGL choir several years ago. It was a really cool experience and I got to meet, Jack Wall, Talarico, and the guy who did Halo.

As much as I loved it- I did think thier emphasis on lightshows and bells and whistles was a little unneccisary. Let the music speak for itself.

PS- first post from a long time lurker, hi all!

oliveira8:
But I wanted more of Russ singing Elton John Rocket Man...:(

You might be the only one...

Macar:

Clashero:
I recommend you listen to The Eminence Orchestra. It's a lot like Video Game Live, but I like their sound better.

Just so you know, the sound of Videogames Live isnt set- because they don't travel with an orchestra. They recruit local groups. I know this because I sang in the VGL choir several years ago. It was a really cool experience and I got to meet, Jack Wall, Talarico, and the guy who did Halo.

As much as I loved it- I did think thier emphasis on lightshows and bells and whistles was a little unneccisary. Let the music speak for itself.

PS- first post from a long time lurker, hi all!

Glad we could create an episode to bring you out from the shadows. Welcome!

Shane Hamstra:

oliveira8:
But I wanted more of Russ singing Elton John Rocket Man...:(

You might be the only one...

You are just in denial.

It was better than the Shatner version!

Macar:

Clashero:
I recommend you listen to The Eminence Orchestra. It's a lot like Video Game Live, but I like their sound better.

Just so you know, the sound of Videogames Live isnt set- because they don't travel with an orchestra. They recruit local groups. I know this because I sang in the VGL choir several years ago. It was a really cool experience and I got to meet, Jack Wall, Talarico, and the guy who did Halo.

As much as I loved it- I did think thier emphasis on lightshows and bells and whistles was a little unneccisary. Let the music speak for itself.

PS- first post from a long time lurker, hi all!

I demand pictures Macar! Pictures of awesomeness of your experience working with VGL. Tell us a story of how you got recruited!

Also I had a change of heart of Mr.Tallarico. Apparently he was intentionally the jerk in Judgement Day and I just hated his pessimism towards all the games he "reviewed". Glad to know he is doing some good.

that was a nice vid. music can bring a lot to a game. lol, even gears 1's main menu was spiced up by music.

Tenmar:
I demand pictures Macar! Pictures of awesomeness of your experience working with VGL. Tell us a story of how you got recruited!

Well the story isn't that exciting, sadly :P They had engaged the Columbus Symphony Orchestra to play for them- and the chorus that sings with them normaly was busy that year. Our choir director was a member of said chorus and she used her connections to get us the gig.

And yes, a big thanks for this particular issue. I love videogame music and as a musician I'm always aware of it. I agree with Clashero that it would have been nice to hear more about SFX too- though the bit about vegies was very interesting (one I'll have to file away for the next time I'm recording sounds for my own mods and game eforts, hehe)

Macar:

Clashero:
I recommend you listen to The Eminence Orchestra. It's a lot like Video Game Live, but I like their sound better.

Just so you know, the sound of Videogames Live isnt set- because they don't travel with an orchestra. They recruit local groups. I know this because I sang in the VGL choir several years ago. It was a really cool experience and I got to meet, Jack Wall, Talarico, and the guy who did Halo.

As much as I loved it- I did think thier emphasis on lightshows and bells and whistles was a little unneccisary. Let the music speak for itself.

PS- first post from a long time lurker, hi all!

Ahhh, I didn't know that.
That's so great, that they recruit local groups. It gives people a chance to meet some of the greats of the industry (as much as I dislike Halo, I love the soundtrack, and I see you've met the composer. Very very interesting.)

As a huge VGM buff, I really liked this episode, particularly the first interview which gave me a new found respect for games that use licensed music.

great piece I love video game music

As another huge VGM buff, I also liked this episode very much. Wish it were longer. Even Russī monologue was kinda bearable, in its own bizarre way.

Clashero:
There's more to sound design than voices and music. Think of the actual use of sound. Half-Life 2 did this excellently. You could immediately recognize what enemy was around the corner and what weapon he was holding by the sound. Radio chatter? Combine! Loud, stacatto fire? The Pulse Rifle, of course! Less loud, more continuous fire? The submachinegun.
Your suit would tell you your approximate health without you needing to look at your HUD, and a litle beep announced that you were in need of reloading.

And if we go further back in VG history, Thief series really put sound design into good use. It became vital to sit still for a moment and listen...sshhh, you hear that; footsteps. Hide.

And to finish this little speech about great sound in games, I leave you with the following. The greatest song ever composed.
-Yay!-
If you disagree, then we can never, ever be friends.

No, I simply canīt disagree with you, although I do put several other masterpieces to the same line.

Itīs actually amazing, how well VG music can be turned into a symphonic piece. Tour de Japon is an obvious example, since Uematsuīs compositions have always been of high quality, as far as Iīm concerned. But then there are some quite unexpected interpretations, like this arrangement of Turrican II. I was positively surprised, when I found this.

I love music...loved the DDRK too

Foley is so cool. I really hope I can break into that feild.

Clashero:
There's more to sound design than voices and music. Think of the actual use of sound. Half-Life 2 did this excellently. You could immediately recognize what enemy was around the corner and what weapon he was holding by the sound. Radio chatter? Combine! Loud, stacatto fire? The Pulse Rifle, of course! Less loud, more continuous fire? The submachinegun.
Your suit would tell you your approximate health without you needing to look at your HUD, and a litle beep announced that you were in need of reloading.

Personally, I think a game without a good soundtrack can't function. Would you have imagined a game like Okami without the lovely Japanese music? Even if you didn't like the music, you couldn' argue that it just fit.

Agreed on all counts! It's the music and sound I always pay the most attention to in games and movies/TV, not the graphics. I especially loved Half-Life 2 (and additions) and the way that the action was punched into existence by music - it was always the perfect kind of music for the situation, too. Though I wish there was more subtle background music for those times between the major points of action. In fact, my ringtone on my iPhone is the Suit Song (also called Path of the Borealis or Triage at Dawn).

Now, Okami - Okami has my favourite soundtrack of all time! Oh man, the hours I've spent just sitting on the couch listening to the whole thing. Five of the most awesome CDs of all time!

Spinwhiz:
I love music...loved the DDRK too

At first, I was surprised. "What kind of treachery is this?" .. and then the real DDRK came. I was confused, but then I burst into laughter.

Yeah, this episode was something special. It seems like Russ becomes more manly with every episode. Next thing you know, he's the Russbocop, or the Russinator. Maybe even Russ Lee?

Interesting video, glad to see sound is finally beginning to be recognised as one of the main components of video games, along side the critical gameplay, and not-so-critical but important graphics.

The puppies tried to take control but their silly, premature attempts at a coup failed miserably. THE DDKR REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE STOPPED!!

VIV LA DDKR REVOLUCION!!!

oliveira8:
But I wanted more of Russ singing Elton John Rocket Man...:(

Do I detect just a meagre hint of William Shatner?

George Palmer:
The puppies tried to take control but their silly, premature attempts at a coup failed miserably. THE DDKR REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE STOPPED!!

VIV LA DDKR REVOLUCION!!!

The Puppies are coming! To long have they lived under the Kitten oppression.

I knew this is going to be a year of protests, First in Serbia, then Moldavia, Teheran, now the puppies are rebelling! This means WAR!

Nice episode. Actually, most movie companies use the same vegetable technique for many years.

P.S: I noticed an extremely minor typo: Under the Production Coordinator, it is written Nick with capital "I"...I'm lonely :[

Nerdfury:

Clashero:
There's more to sound design than voices and music. Think of the actual use of sound. Half-Life 2 did this excellently. You could immediately recognize what enemy was around the corner and what weapon he was holding by the sound. Radio chatter? Combine! Loud, stacatto fire? The Pulse Rifle, of course! Less loud, more continuous fire? The submachinegun.
Your suit would tell you your approximate health without you needing to look at your HUD, and a litle beep announced that you were in need of reloading.

Personally, I think a game without a good soundtrack can't function. Would you have imagined a game like Okami without the lovely Japanese music? Even if you didn't like the music, you couldn' argue that it just fit.

Agreed on all counts! It's the music and sound I always pay the most attention to in games and movies/TV, not the graphics. I especially loved Half-Life 2 (and additions) and the way that the action was punched into existence by music - it was always the perfect kind of music for the situation, too. Though I wish there was more subtle background music for those times between the major points of action. In fact, my ringtone on my iPhone is the Suit Song (also called Path of the Borealis or Triage at Dawn).

Now, Okami - Okami has my favourite soundtrack of all time! Oh man, the hours I've spent just sitting on the couch listening to the whole thing. Five of the most awesome CDs of all time!

I hadn't heard the Suit Song before. I love it. It definitely feels like something by Sigur Ros.

I loved Okami's soundtrack too. I don't have the CD's, so I just listen to it on my PS2 from the DVD (when you finish the game you get to listen to any song you like). I particularly like all the shamisen-heavy songs, like the ones from the minigames and such.

Yes, the puppies are revolting. Very.

The_root_of_all_evil:

oliveira8:
But I wanted more of Russ singing Elton John Rocket Man...:(

Do I detect just a meagre hint of William Shatner?

It was better! You should start recording a record, with Russ singing famous musics adapted to video games.

oliveira8:

The_root_of_all_evil:

oliveira8:
But I wanted more of Russ singing Elton John Rocket Man...:(

Do I detect just a meagre hint of William Shatner?

It was better! You should start recording a record, with Russ singing famous musics adapted to video games.

And keeping the "Christian Bale" yelling as well. ;)

Clashero:

Nerdfury:

Clashero:
There's more to sound design than voices and music. Think of the actual use of sound. Half-Life 2 did this excellently. You could immediately recognize what enemy was around the corner and what weapon he was holding by the sound. Radio chatter? Combine! Loud, stacatto fire? The Pulse Rifle, of course! Less loud, more continuous fire? The submachinegun.
Your suit would tell you your approximate health without you needing to look at your HUD, and a litle beep announced that you were in need of reloading.

Personally, I think a game without a good soundtrack can't function. Would you have imagined a game like Okami without the lovely Japanese music? Even if you didn't like the music, you couldn' argue that it just fit.

Agreed on all counts! It's the music and sound I always pay the most attention to in games and movies/TV, not the graphics. I especially loved Half-Life 2 (and additions) and the way that the action was punched into existence by music - it was always the perfect kind of music for the situation, too. Though I wish there was more subtle background music for those times between the major points of action. In fact, my ringtone on my iPhone is the Suit Song (also called Path of the Borealis or Triage at Dawn).

Now, Okami - Okami has my favourite soundtrack of all time! Oh man, the hours I've spent just sitting on the couch listening to the whole thing. Five of the most awesome CDs of all time!

I hadn't heard the Suit Song before. I love it. It definitely feels like something by Sigur Ros.

I loved Okami's soundtrack too. I don't have the CD's, so I just listen to it on my PS2 from the DVD (when you finish the game you get to listen to any song you like). I particularly like all the shamisen-heavy songs, like the ones from the minigames and such.

Oh man, you gotta get the soundtrack! It's five CDs of bliss, with all the Okami tracks plus a heap of other promotional ones, too. At least pirate it, man - Clover's gone belly-up, so I'm pretty sure they don't need money for a sequel. ;)

The earliest game soundtrack that I enjoyed listening to separate to the game was Super Stardust (CD-ROM version obviously!). I've always loved video game msic and I'm enjoying listening to the music people have posted on here - thanks for the links!

However, that video really skirted around the depth of video game audio as far as I'm concerned. I'd like to have seen something about how a good score is tuned and changes acording to the current environment and activity. As mentioned by a previous poster there was pretty much no mention of environmental noise either which is a really immersive aspect of sound in games. Stand still in any modern video game worth it's salt and you can hear birds, distant gunfire, aeroplanes etc...

Of course occasionally there's no music, sometimes dropping the soundtrack can create a far greater emotion (the 'why's it all gone quiet' eerie moment).

Oh, and I have to admit I usually mute the music in sports games - I tend to find it not to my taste :)

 

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