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Author Topic: a feature all future rpg's should have is.....  (Read 7919 times)
Prime Mover
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« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2007, 04:40:02 AM »

Agreed! I'm not a fan of too heavy customization (as it gets in the way of the author's storytelling), but some tasteful costume options are always welcome. Tales of Symphonia did a great job of this (I hope Abyss does this as well, I'm still in the middle, though), and I loved going out and doing the side quests to get more outfits... it was a little irritating that it effected your stat improvements, but that far along in the game, it didn't matter that much anyway.

I also love it when characters change outfits due to story elements. Suikoden V does a great job of this with the Prince. I remember FF8 having some very good timely costume changes (in fact, I think it was the first console rpg to do this very much).

I just don't want things to go overboard with customization, because costumes start to not mean anything if there are 100 options to choose from, and many have no relation to the character's personality, but a small number here and there is very much appreciated.
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« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2007, 05:46:39 AM »

I like trying out new costumes on characters.  It's a nice little distraction and I love playing with them just to see which I like looking at the best.  

Screw praticality.
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Tlonuqbar
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« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2007, 07:23:15 AM »

I think costumes are okay and all, but if I were to pick a single feature that all future RPGs should have, it HAS to be:

















multiple battle themes for regular battles!

I'm serious, nothing against the quality of the best battle themes (I'm talking music here, if you are a little slow on the uptake *smirk*), but let's face it, after 40ish hours of game, the same battle theme, no matter how good (well, I CAN think of a few exceptions...but not many) begins to wear rather thin.  On top of this, in most RPGs now we can enjoy a MINIMUM of like 3 or 4 boss themes...in ADDITION to the final boss track; why no love for the regular battles...which you have to do a heck of a lot more often.  And from a musical perspective, does it really make sense to write a piece of music that you have to hear for a total of, say, 10 hours in the course of a game (that figure may be a tad exaggerated, so sue me), when you have to write others that are barely heard at all?  If composer can write 4 CDs worth of music...you'd think that they have the knack to write more than one battle theme.

*end rant*
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« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2007, 07:40:00 AM »

Quote from: "Prime Mover"
Agreed! I'm not a fan of too heavy customization (as it gets in the way of the author's storytelling), but some tasteful costume options are always welcome. Tales of Symphonia did a great job of this (I hope Abyss does this as well, I'm still in the middle, though), and I loved going out and doing the side quests to get more outfits... it was a little irritating that it effected your stat improvements, but that far along in the game, it didn't matter that much anyway.

I also love it when characters change outfits due to story elements. Suikoden V does a great job of this with the Prince. I remember FF8 having some very good timely costume changes (in fact, I think it was the first console rpg to do this very much).

I just don't want things to go overboard with customization, because costumes start to not mean anything if there are 100 options to choose from, and many have no relation to the character's personality, but a small number here and there is very much appreciated.


excuse me while i say the authors storytelling can kiss my ass. fran might of actually spent some time in my main party if it wasnt for her awful attire.
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Prime Mover
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« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2007, 02:23:38 PM »

Quote from: "Tlonuqbar"
multiple battle themes for regular battles!

Ha Ha!!!! I got one up on you: multipul battle themes in a single battle, depending upon the context! I'd like to see this done more, although it requires a lot of extra work for the composer, since he has to come up with a million transitions between the different material. It was awesome in Skies of Arcadia, I really enjoyed how the battle theme changed from tense to triumphant when you got a boss down to low HP. It brings up a lot of interesting problems with composition for interactive media, but it can be done, and could make for a lot of interesting, ever-changing musical material.

Another possibility is instead of having one, long musical loop, is have a lot of shorter sections that can all be transitioned to and from eachother on the fly (thank god for the ever-increasing quality of synth patches), so the audience is never completely sure what's going to come next.

As a composer who's had some experience with interactive music, I've just always wanted to have the opportunity to implement some of these kinds of things.
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« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2007, 04:53:30 PM »

There is rarely dynamic music in any videogame.
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Tlonuqbar
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« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2007, 05:05:08 PM »

Amen!

You got me thinking about how good the final boss music was in Skies of Arcadia as well, when it transitions from minor key battle music into a sweeping theme that almost seems to be celebrating your future victory.

Another good example of what you were talking about is Vagrant Story, where the music loops based on whether the player has advanced the dialogue forward or not.  The real kicker is that opening scene, which on the OST is one huge track, but which is obviously composed of many smaller loops which either loop or advance to the next based on the progression of the in-game cinematic, coupled with a small introductory battle and a minor boss battle.

So yeah, dynamic music cues are something I hope more game designers experiment with in the future.  Kudos to you for thinking to bring it up!
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Prime Mover
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« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2007, 07:02:23 PM »

Quote from: "Tlonuqbar"
//lots of good things//

Alright, I may have to check out Vagrant Story. I'd been avoiding it because I really didn't care for the style of the FF12 or FFT soundtracks (a little "too" traditional for my taste), but I've heard enough good things that I may have to check it out.

Yeah, my degree is in electronic music composition. One thing that we did a lot of was writing music where different elements were triggered by different things. For instance, I had a piece for a solo drum where hitting it in different ways created various textures using a number of algorythms. I did a lot of messing around with using game controllers to play synths, flex sensors for interactive dance music, shit like that. Now days, I'm not so much into writing highly programmed kinds of things. Hell, currently I'm trying to put together a solo piano/vocal album. But I'd love to do a bit of interactive scoring. Maybe when I'm done with the art film I'm scoring, I'll do some private experimenting with interactive game soundtracks.

Skies of Arcadia really got me thinking about interactive music. Another one that's possibly even a bit more advanced is Ocarina of Time, which has a number of "transition points" in the Hyrule Field score, in which to switch into a parallel score that is a bit more tense. It's even a bit more complex than I first imagined, with alternate transitions, and different loops for different areas of the world map.

What I don't want to have happen is fully algorythmic music suddenly become the standard with game scores. It's always best to have a human pulling the strings, creating an overarching framework, allowing for tension and release at various points in the game. But for some things here and there, an interactive soundtrack is really wonderful.
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Tlonuqbar
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« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2007, 07:28:31 PM »

Prime, have you read the book This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession by Daniel Levitin?  If you haven't, I highly recommend it; it seems to be right up your alley.

Also, Vagrant Story is one of my favorite game soundtracks as well as probably one my top 10 or so favorite game storylines (the gameplay: I'm not really that big a fan of, to be honest).  You may still not much care for the music, but I still find it to be Hitoshi Sakimoto's finest work, and I think you'll at least be impressed by the looping in that opening scene I mentioned.  And, if you do bite the bullet and play through the game (trust me, there are quite a few sections, especially towards the beginning, that are just obnoxious from a gameplay perspective), I think you'll find that the game's story is very rewarding...not least because there is a lot of plot that is not explictly depicted.  You really do have to think about the story to figure out what it all means, and even then there is a lot of room for interpretation due to the deliberate ambiguity in the telling of the tale.
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Prime Mover
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« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2007, 09:47:16 PM »

Quote from: "Tlonuqbar"
Prime, have you read the book This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession by Daniel Levitin?  If you haven't, I highly recommend it; it seems to be right up your alley.


Interesting. I haven't read that particular one. I read a similar book by Robert Jourdain, "Music, the Mind, and Extacy", and it was TERRIBLE, but mostly because I thought Jourdain was a close-minded, tight assed son of a bitch. What I'm reading here on Amazon about Daniel Levitin sounds much more promising (even though amazon is selling the two books as a set). Jourdain is a preachy "anti-anything-not-traditional-western-art-music" prick. He goes as far as to make a scientific proof as to why african drumming, and jazz, is inferior to Mozart. His book was one big excuse to prove that the music he liked was better than everything else. Very euro-centeric to the point of being racist. If I met the guy myself, I'd hit him. Go on amazon, and take a look at some of the negative reviews, and you'll understand why I hate it so much.

If I remember correctly, I was so "moved", that I once quoted a line of his about the vulgarities of Schoenberg, in a piece I wrote about musical snobbery. Not that I'm a big Schoenberg fan myself, but the line was just pretentious and completely subjective.

Sorry 'bout that, you just brought back some very bad memories...

But I'll look into the Levitin, because I'd like to get some real insight into the subject, without having to wade through a bunch of subjective, close-minded bullshit.
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Tlonuqbar
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« Reply #25 on: March 29, 2007, 10:36:47 PM »

Yeah, that Jourdain guy sounds like a prick...Levitin is pretty much non-judgmental about any particular musical genre over another, and even spends a section talking about why different people prefer different types of music.

The real kicker of the book is the climax though, where he pretty much calls out Stephen Pinker.  Pinker is a pretty well-established and respected science writer, but I think that his claim that music is an evolutional fluke with no real value for the human organism whatsoever is totally wrong.  Levitin pretty much thoroughly trounces Pinker's thesis...basically showing that music, even though we don't FULLY understand it's impact on the brain yet, MUST have significance in both human evolution overall and in our individual mental development.  Definitely worth reading.
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« Reply #26 on: March 29, 2007, 10:42:06 PM »

Psst.  This would be a good time to PM your book conversation so the thread won't get derailed further. :P
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Alisha
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« Reply #27 on: March 30, 2007, 02:10:09 AM »

the last two games i've played that i can recall having dynamic music were skies of arcadia and phantasy star online.
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« Reply #28 on: April 02, 2007, 01:54:14 AM »

Shining Force EXA had quite a few costumes for each character. Actually, all of them were unique which should be in all rpgs imo. Tales of the Abyss is another one I can think of that had more than one costume for each character.
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« Reply #29 on: April 03, 2007, 01:02:30 PM »

Quote from: "Tlonuqbar"
I think costumes are okay and all, but if I were to pick a single feature that all future RPGs should have, it HAS to be:
multiple battle themes for regular battles!


I could care less about multiple costumes. Battle music is a big beef of mine.

Good call.
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