A golden oldie that was pending for quite some time in my drafts posts…
Videos of designers explaining their interactive music systems in games are not quite abundantly available. In the case of Crysis 2 (2011), the composers have explained their way of working, collaborating and more. Especially the large amount of interactive material – 5 hours!  – made this a monster job.
I found some theory about interactive, adaptive, nonlinear game music that hasn’t been posted on Captivating Sound yet. It’s an oldie from 2011 by Than van Nispen tot Pannerden, Sander Huiberts, Sebastiaan Donders and Stan Koch.
Interactive music, in e.g. video games, often tends to be complex both in the creative and the technological part. Video games, that have any interactivity connected to the music, often have simplistic music and music technology. The sounding results vary greatly in quality, both in musical aesthetics and in interactive meaningfulness.
One of the interactive music strategies available is horizontal re-sequencing. In this paper experiences with a simple nonlinear music player (the nln-player), using this strategy, are being presented.
van Nispen tot Pannerden, T., Huiberts, S., Donders, S., & Koch, S. 2011, The nln-player: A system for nonlinear music in games. Paper presented at Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference 2011, University of Huddersfield, England.
At the Utrecht School of the Arts, the adaptive music systems research group investigates the design of music for non-linear contexts. Post-graduates that conducted research in this group have formed a company – GreenCouch – and recently they’ve sent me an example movie of one of their projects.
The example movie contains an explanation of the music system used in the Xbox-game Shortburst. It’s pretty self explanatory and shows the flexible system in real-time.
In 2007, I supervised an internship for the Adaptive Music Systems Research group under Jan IJzermans. The group  researched adaptive sound design and composition for games and developed the Adeptive toolkit, which helps composing in nonlinear settings.
To make things clear: we’re not talking about composing a song from the beginning to the end (linear music); the composer makes a large amount of musical ‘cells’ and the system selects new cells based on the rules of the composer (nonlinear music). Such an approach can be highly suitable for games, that mostly have a nonlinear character, as the music is able to correspond with the narrative or the presupposed experience of the player. And at least, we’re preventing the repetitive background track that drives players crazy.