February 20, 2008
GDC08: Liveblogging "Procedural Music in Spore"
11:57 - Just ran from the Microsoft keynote -- biggest news was Gears of War 2 announced for release this November 2008. Also ran into Caryl Shaw who is giving a Spore speech at 2:30 PM PST. She said to me that she was "going to be showing a lot, I should be really happy with what I see." Can't wait.
12:02 - Still waiting for the talk to start, the lots of people still walking over from the Keynote no doubt.
12:02 - Kent Jolly began his talk, started to talk about the background of procedural music in Spore.
12:04 - At first they didn't think they were going to do procedural music as it was going to be a huge undertaking on top of an already huge project.
12:06 - The other issue was making sure that procedural music didn't take up too much CPU-wise. So far this is a very hardcore developer lecture where they appear to be talking about the real background info on making a system rather than gameplay elements so far...
12:07 - Big turning point was Brain Eno and when he joined the team to develop the music.
12:14 - Kent demoed very simple drum sounds being created using a simple procedural tool. Mostly just demoing very simple sounds, very hardcore development talk right now.
12:17 - Yeah! Jumping into the game and the creator editor!
12:18 - Slight detour, showing Brain Eno's thoughts on how to make the music and it looks insanely complex, sounds it too and they dropped his tool from the game. Still waiting to see the music in the game.
12:20 - Finally jumped into the game and the creator editor.
12:24 - Sorry for the delay, just recorded several minutes of creating a creator. Each section of the editor will cause a different type of sound. Also depending upon the "type" of creator you create will change the music type. Create a create with a lot of weapons and the music will be much darker. The music will try to reflect the "feel" of your creature AS you create it.
12:27 - Aaron McLeran started to talk and is now speaking about the spaceship editor.
12:28 - Main goals was to create music which never repeats, is always interesting and fun to listen to, the music is playful, and that the music responds to the user.
12:29 - In the UFO editor it will be more "futuristic" while the creator editor had more "tribal" music.
12:32 - Now showing the Air Vehicle editor.
12:33 - The music will also change depending upon the "type" of society you build. If you build a religious society your music will have a more "religious" feel with pipe organs and such. The music will reflect the type of game you are playing as well as the society you are building.
12:35 - Wow, I just looked behind me (I'm in the front row) and the room is freaking packed. Who would think that a talk about music would get sold out?
12:36 - Each and every aspect of the various editors will play music and beats. You can actually create a song just by building a creator. Aaron actually created a small song while creating a UFO while he was painting it, very cool.
12:39 - Back into the programming tool and back to hardcore development talking.
12:45 - Hardcore music theory going on right now, showing how they managed to take classic pieces of music and had it procedurally generated within their tool.
12:47 - More talk, starting to upload the videos I took from the editors for you to see these editors and music in action...
12:50 - About to start taking questions, still demoing the music tool and how simple beats can be created. Interesting but really high level that people within the game itself wouldn't care anything out.
12:51 - Wrapping up, whoa, just went back into the game.
12:52 - Showing where you can customize the music yourself. You can do it within the Civ game and we're seeing the city music planner.
12:55 - You can create the beat, anthem, and ambiance sounds within the City planner. The music creator works very much like the other editors within the game -- very simple to use yet amazingly complex.
12:56 - You can save your music and trade it just like anything else within the game.
12:59 - Q&A time, nearly all of the music within the game is created procedurally. Another person asked that if you create music within the game and then want to release it who gets the royalty checks. Kent joked that EA would get those.
1:02 - The talk is over, I'm uploading the videos and I'll post those as soon as they're ready. Also the program they were using to create the music was MAX/MSP and PD ... probably should have mentioned that earlier.