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Default Baldur's Gate - Enhanced Edition: Interview @ RPGFan

October 25th, 2012, 01:54
Sam Hulick, the composer of the music in Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, has been interviewed by RPGFan on what he did for the game.
RPGFan: Somewhat related to my previous question, did you try to "mimic" the spirit of the original music, or did you feel comfortable going off and blazing your own trail?
Sam Hulick: I wanted to ease people into the new music gently. It would have been in bad taste, I think, to just write whatever I felt like without thinking of the audience. This is a franchise that's been around for nearly fifteen years now, and especially since I'm writing new music that's going to be used for new quests within Baldur's Gate 1, veering off in a new direction would have been jarring. So, for the new content in BG1 and especially The Black Pits, I stuck fairly closely to Hoenig's style by using some of his orchestration techniques so that the music would sound true to the original soundtrack. With any new content going into the existing games, my goal is consistency. Once the Overhaul Games team ventures into new territory, then I'll put my own personal spin on things.
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October 25th, 2012, 01:54
I'm surprised by the number of people that actually care about the music in games. I typically turn it down so I can just barely hear it. I don't like it interfering with the ambient sounds.
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October 25th, 2012, 02:45
Originally Posted by sakichop View Post
I'm surprised by the number of people that actually care about the music in games. I typically turn it down so I can just barely hear it. I don't like it interfering with the ambient sounds.
Proper music can enhance ambience, not distract from it.
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October 25th, 2012, 07:45
My first action after installing a game…..disable all sound. When games start using music as good as Lacuna Coil, Type 0 Negative and Tool, I'll start listening. Special shoutout for VtM, left that music on =p. Heck, I bet companies could get some solid rock music at a fraction of what they pay for what passes on most games these days for sound.



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October 25th, 2012, 07:59
Good music only makes a game better. I never completely disable music unless it's truly bad, and I can't think of a game where it was that bad.

I don't like to be overpowered by it either though. I'll normally adjust the music volume to around 20-30% while leaving everything else at 100%.
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October 25th, 2012, 08:31
Originally Posted by Carnifex View Post
My first action after installing a game…..disable all sound. When games start using music as good as Lacuna Coil, Type 0 Negative and Tool, I'll start listening. Special shoutout for VtM, left that music on =p. Heck, I bet companies could get some solid rock music at a fraction of what they pay for what passes on most games these days for sound.



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The reason why that doesn't work for me is that I only want instrumental and ambient music in my games. I don't want lyrics. The music should just enhance the atmosphere and make for an emotional response. I couldn't imagine playing Gothic 1 without the amazing music it had. Or Icewind Dale without the golden touch of Jeremy Soule. It makes my hair standup just by thinking about the awesome music some games have.

Music in movies on the other hand is a lot more important. Some director said that music makes up for 50% or more of the emotion a film conveys. And I agree.

The only games where I can listen to music with lyrics are GTA games because that just makes the experience more authentic. Or when I used to grind for gear in Diablo 2 a long time ago.
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October 25th, 2012, 10:03
Morrowind without its music wouldn't be Morrowind.
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October 25th, 2012, 10:09
Originally Posted by danutz_plusplus View Post
The reason why that doesn't work for me is that I only want instrumental and ambient music in my games. I don't want lyrics. The music should just enhance the atmosphere and make for an emotional response. I couldn't imagine playing Gothic 1 without the amazing music it had. Or Icewind Dale without the golden touch of Jeremy Soule. It makes my hair standup just by thinking about the awesome music some games have.
I just started IWD for my first time, excellent music!

I prefer ambient and instrumental music as well in games, it enhances my experience a couple of levels.

Game and movie music shares a lot of similarities

C
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October 25th, 2012, 10:46
I could probably count games with good music on one, maybe two, hands. It's usually much more of an annoyance than anything that enhances. Music works a lot better for movies, because you dont have to hear the same tune maybe 200+ times in a relatively short period of time (it's a well known torture method..). But at least it's one of very few things that has gotten better with games, there's now a lot more space for music and many games uses it more sparsely than before.

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October 25th, 2012, 10:52
Music is integral to the experience, in my opinion. It adds greatly to the immersion when it's done well - and there are countless examples of fantastic music that has enhanced the experience significantly.

Whenever people tell me they turn off the music, I just feel bad for them for missing out.
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October 25th, 2012, 14:03
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Music is integral to the experience, in my opinion. It adds greatly to the immersion when it's done well - and there are countless examples of fantastic music that has enhanced the experience significantly.

Whenever people tell me they turn off the music, I just feel bad for them for missing out.
Exactly. I mean what games have you people been playing??
I can't imagine playing Heroes of Might and Magic, X, Elder Scrolls, Galactic Civilizations, Starcraft without music.
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October 25th, 2012, 14:08
Originally Posted by Crilloan View Post
I just started IWD for my first time, excellent music!
C
The theme song of Kuldahar is nothing short of godly.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9y96Y2JE5F8
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October 25th, 2012, 14:51
I really don't understand the idea of turning down the music in games, unless it's unsuitable or irritating as JDR mentions.
But didn't some of you people actually experience the pure joy of old 8 or 16 bit games where sometimes the music was better than the game?

Interesting that no-one has commented on Sam Hulick's actual samples yet.

http://samhulick.com/portfolio/bgee

Not too bad; perhaps slightly too thumpingly triumphant sounding for me, (it'd be difficult to surpass Throne of Bhaal's combat themes for intensity) but the Hoenig vibe is partially there for sure. Hopefully there's one or two more serene themes as well, as I quite like both the Friendly Arms Inn and Exploring the Plains tunes from the original soundtrack.

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October 25th, 2012, 15:18
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
I really don't understand the idea of turning down the music in games, unless it's unsuitable or irritating
Listening to the same tune over and over IS irritating, to any sane person. It's even a well known torture method, usually it's played extremely loud then, but it's the same idea and gives similar results = drives the person completely insane. I dont even know quality songs outside of games i'd like to listen to for any extended period of time like that

The worst example i can think of is Nintendo, they're faschists so they've removed any option to turn music off.. So if you're stuck on a level (in Mario 64 for example) you might have to listen to the same 1.5 minute tune hundreds of times. A truly horrible experience! I remember turning off the audio completely sometimes, an example of how music can ruin an otherwise good game (one of the best).

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October 25th, 2012, 15:19
Originally Posted by Drithius View Post
Proper music can enhance ambience, not distract from it.
Agreed. A game without good music feels just empty. It doesn't have to be elaborate (the music in Ultima IV and V still moves me when I play them), but it needs to be appropriate.

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October 25th, 2012, 15:23
Originally Posted by vurt View Post
Listening to the same tune over and over IS irritating, to any sane person. It's even a well known torture method, usually it's played extremely loud then, but it's the same idea and gives similar results = drives the person completely insane. I dont even know quality songs outside of games i'd like to listen to for any extended period of time like that
According to that I must be insane. I love finding one catchy song and just looping that non-stop while at work. At a certain point you don't even hear the song anymore.
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October 25th, 2012, 15:24
Originally Posted by vurt View Post
Listening to the same tune over and over IS irritating, to any sane person. It's even a well known torture method, usually it's played extremely loud then, but it's the same idea and gives similar results = drives the person completely insane. I dont even know quality songs outside of games i'd like to listen to for any extended period of time like that

The worst example i can think of is Nintendo, they're faschists so they've removed any option to turn music off.. So if you're stuck on a level (in Mario 64 for example) you might have to listen to the same 1.5 minute tune hundreds of times. A truly horrible experience! I remember turning off the audio completely sometimes, an example of how music can ruin an otherwise good game (one of the best).
It depends on the tune. Very few modern games play the exact same tune over and over again - and many have contextual music.

Usually, it's based on the area or activity - and a great recent example would be Skyrim, which has some of the best combat music of all time, as well as some magnificent "exploration" themes.

You sound like someone who doesn't realise that this kind of thing has evolved over the years - while you're still stuck in the 80s and you turn down everything just on principle

If anything strikes me as insane, it's robbing oneself of the opportunity to be moved or have an emotional reaction that can potentially enhance the combined experience.
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October 25th, 2012, 15:47
@ DArtagnan My example wasnt a modern game + you must have missed my previous post, i said this is actually one of few things that has gotten better nowadays with games. With more space we can now have more / longer songs which is awesome and game designers have understood that less is more (music is used more sparingly, but there's also more tunes).

I still turn off the music in Morrowind after 1-2h, even if the music is extremely good it ruins the songs to hear them repeated over and over, its purely annoying after a while. And yes, i would consider a person who listens to the same music over and over a bit manic, maybe not insane

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October 25th, 2012, 15:51
Originally Posted by vurt View Post
@ DArtagnan My example wasnt a modern game + you must have missed my previous post, i said this is actually one of few things that has gotten better nowadays with games. With more space we can now have more / longer songs which is awesome and game designers have understood that less is more (music is used more sparingly, but there's also more tunes).

I still turn off the music in Morrowind after 1-2h, even if the music is extremely good it ruins the songs to hear them repeated over and over, its purely annoying after a while. And yes, i would consider a person who listens to the same music over and over a bit manic, maybe not insane
You said you could count good music on 1-2 hands. Unless you have 50 fingers on each hand, then you're certainly missing some great examples.

As for Morrowind - I agree that there's a limited variety of music. But I get turned off by other things before the music gets to me
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October 25th, 2012, 15:52
Originally Posted by Drithius View Post
Proper music can enhance ambience, not distract from it.
By ambient sounds I was more referring to background sounds. Such as the crunch of grass under your feet, the howl of the wind, animals or monster in the distance or sneaking up behind me, waterfalls and rivers, rain, etc, etc.

All those sound greatly enhance immersion for me, whereas the music breaks it.

It's not like my thief is carrying an iPod after all.
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