Welcome back everyone! In todays blog, I would like to talk about the latest developments in Utangard, the Viking strategy game that we are busy working on and if everything goes according to plan, the alpha will ready by Friday! For the music, we decided to take a horizontal layering approach, the two tracks I have for a demonstration will give you an idea of the feel of the music within the game.
The placing stage of the game happens just after you choose your characters and lets the players arrange their army where they would like them on the board. This is a relatively short part of the game and the loop is composed in such a way that there are “markers” every eight seconds, which amounts to every four bars of music. These “markers” are assigned in the game engine and are a point that the music can transition into the next piece, which is the “Battle” phase. To elaborate on this, if you imagine that every 8 seconds the “Placing” music can change seamlessly to the “Battle” music, without the need of crossfades and becomes a horizontal layer, instead of the much used vertical layering technique which I have discussed in previous blogs. This seamless transition helps the flow of gameplay and must be thought of when composing the music, which is a game in itself!
Once your players have been arranged, it is time to battle! The players take turns in deciding what characters will attack and they are given a dice-roll of the chance of success. I wanted the music to aid in the gameplay and not be too overwhelming, one thing I have noticed with strategy games is that when the music is too intense at the early stages of the game, it is hard to concentrate, I believe this is due to the player still figuring out the mechanics of the game and if the music is overpowering, there is a real danger of them doing the unthinkable…turing the sound down! So with this in mind, I decided to keep the music interesting and engaging, without being to bombastic.
One problem with trying to make the music not too overwhelming is the chance of it sounding peaceful and because this is a war game, that is not the emotion we are trying to achieve. When we first started designing this game, I asked the team to think of one word that would sum-up the overall feel of the game. That word was “Glory”. So the glorious music was sounding a little un-warlike, a problem that was solved by the addition of tribal drums. The drums were instrumental (pardon the pun) in giving this piece momentum while the orchestral arrangement gave the glory, one element without the other and the music doesn’t fit the criteria or tone of the game.
The next step is to finish the different musical themes for the characters that will take over when victory is close. There needs to be a total of five different character themes, which are unique themes to each “Hero” in the game. As mentioned in earlier blogs, this is a two player game, each player has control of a Viking tribe, which is in turn led by a Hero. The music has to suit the different Heroes and is a form of positive feedback for the person who is winning the game, for when you hear your Heroes theme start to play, you know that victory is close! This is also a way to communicate to the losing player that this is their last chance to turn the game around or Glory will elude them.
Thanks for reading!