What Adaptive Audio can do for gamers.
By Matthias Wagner
Puccini knew it. Coppola knows it. Music that fits a scenic plot precisely will exponentially increase the dramatic effect of any story. And this doesn't only apply to the opera or the movies, of course. Concerning computer games, studies have shown that gamers will experience their adventures way more intensively if music and sound ambience fit the gaming situation and location.
Raising the game
For example, a 2017 study conducted by Andrew Elmsley, Ryan Groves, and Valerio Velardo researched perceived immersion in a video game setting related to different musical underscores: Three different test groups each walked through the same VR environment, experiencing different soundtrack settings. While group 1 heard no in-game music at all, group 2 heard a looped soundtrack with linear music – and group 3 experienced adaptive music that changed according to the game locations they stayed in.
None of the test subjects had prior knowledge of what the experiment was designed to test, but the result was more than clear: Data showed that adaptive music significantly improved the player’s reported feeling of immersion, while linear music or no music at all did a far poorer job in keeping players engaged and interested. Afterwards, 90 percent of the test subjects agreed that the music was a very important component when it came to feeling immersed in the gaming experience.
As the study’s co-author Valerio Velardo puts it:
“In other words, a significant increase in players’ engagement is not automatically granted by having (any type of) music, but having the right type of music, i.e. music highly synchronized with other game components.”
Welcome to the real world
What works for computer games will also work for real-world games: that´s what the team at WLA assumed some time ago, and we decided to make this the next target for our adaptive audio engine. The result is TableTone, an application that works on any smartphone or computer. It’s for table top role playing games (TTRPG), especially for game masters; a highly flexible, completely interactive and automated soundscape and music solution.
When TableTone releases in 2023, TTRPG game masters and players will be able to create their personalized immersive gaming soundtrack in real-time. One feature will, of course, be all kinds of sound effects and flexible and interactively-controllable location ambiences – think of dungeons, forests, spaceships, weather – anything we need for the most immersive adventures ever.
The other feature will be music – automatically controlled and adapted to perfectly complement the game narrative. Players can change the game’s locations, moods, player's situations, and overall intensity with the touch of a button.
Plus: users will be able to choose from different musical styles according to their personal preferences. Over the last years, we have composed and recorded hundreds of complex musical pieces from all kinds of different genres: cinematic orchestral music, electronic music, bluesy guitar tunes, heavy guitar rock, synth wave, medieval music, oriental, ambient, beats, and more.
Our mastermind for this universe of music is composer/musician Denovaire, who is also one of the founders of WLA. Denovaire has been working on our adaptive soundtrack for years now, co-producing with dozens of selected international artists from various genres. With the high-end-equipped Green Lobster Studios as their base and by fusing analogue with digital elements, they have created – and will continue to create – an incredibly rich catalogue to fit not only any possible gaming genre/situation but also meet a wide spectrum of music tastes amongst gamers.