Heroic journeys are usually accompanied by the thundering of trumpets and fanfare, but several hours of steadily looping brass wouldn't scale across a single piece of music. Interactive and dynamic music in games continues to evolve as an art form in its own right. Complex techniques such as authoring sync points, defining time signatures, and preserving the musical entry and exit points can now be specified from within the authoring application to create a complex fabric of composition created specifically for the medium of games. With such potential comes the ability to tailor the music to support gameplay and the player experience.

The first consideration when choosing an implementation strategy for a music system begins with matching the emotional scope and intent of the game with appropriate music. By nature, systems are adaptable and varied, but the basic thematic intent should create a seamless blend between the game and its implementation. Once the mood has been established, it's time to begin thinking about how to support gameplay and then how to shape compositional elements into building blocks that will become the emotional river running throughout the game.

This chapter will take you through the process of:

  • Starting with the Interactive Music Hierarchy

  • Preparing the content

  • Layering horizontally

  • Adding a vertical approach

  • Switching between music types

  • Defining interactive music transitions