Cipher Prime Studios（游戏邦注：这家开发商位于美国费城）程序员和音频设计师Dain Saint表示，这是一种行业惯例。他说道：“你经常会看到AAA游戏的开发者用音乐来让玩家明白正在发生什么事情。比如，好莱坞电影人可能会有‘这是个悲伤的场景，配上段悲伤的音乐’之类的做法。他们在使用的是背景情绪控制。因为我们做的是音乐游戏，所以在《Pulse》和其他游戏中，我们就尝试将情感链接提到前景处，而不是将其作为背景音乐。”
据Cipher Prime联合创始人及首席执行官Will Stallwood所述，iPad游戏《Pulse》是款简单的音乐游戏，其设计目标是成为互动音乐集。
Cipher Prime的开发团队也在《Pulse》中运用无声来营造情感氛围。但其目标不是让玩家感到恐惧，而是间或用无声让玩家有喘息的机会。Dain Saint解释道：“我觉得游戏对音效的运用与其他媒介并无差别。《Pulse》的菜单处并非无声，菜单处的音乐好似管弦乐队正在调音，它让玩家为游戏做好准备。当你选择一首歌曲后，会暂时无声一段时间。当歌曲结束后，游戏又会有一段无声的时间。我们在游戏中运用无声来提供现场演奏的真实感。”
Puppet Masters: How Game Musicians Manipulate You
Games control us. Like it or not, we’re being manipulated each time we boot up our consoles. When I started the rhythm game Pulse on my iPad, sitting on my bed, listening to the music and tapping the dots in tune to the rhythm, I was acutely aware of how the game and its soundtrack were affecting me. As I started the game, I couldn’t help but feel as if the music was affecting the tone of each level, and controlling my emotions in turn.
This is a standard industry practice, says Dain Saint, a programmer and audio-designer at Cipher Prime Studios, a developer based out of Philadelphia. “In general, you’ll normally see in AAA titles people using music to try and tell the player exactly what is going on,” he says. “So for example, in a Hollywood movie they’ll say, ‘Ok, this is a sad scene. Bring up the sad music.’ They’re using those kinds of background emotional controls. With Pulse and the rest of our games — since we do music games — we try to bring that emotional connection to the foreground instead of leaving it in the background.”
It’s an effect that works because of close proximity players have to the game, Saint says. “In Pulse, the design is very minimal so we try to take away as many barriers between the player and the music as possible.”
Developed for the iPad, Pulse is a simple music game designed to be an interactive album, according to Will Stallwood, CEO and co-founder of Cipher Prime.
“You’re learning the second you get into the game. We’re all really big fans of teaching here, and on all of our games we don’t have tutorials. So when you first get into the game, you’re presented with a problem. The problem is, ‘How the f*** do I start the game?’” he says.
“Before you even get into the game you’ve already learned the basic mechanic — you have to touch circles. You’re getting taught before you even get into the menu to get into the game.”
“We went through a lot of testing,” says Saint. “We took it to GDC, we took it around Philadelphia, we took it out to bars and actually had quite a few drunk people sit down with Pulse and figure out how to play it. We would take notes and if somebody couldn’t get it, then we would make note. The thing was, that by the end, even drunk people could play it, and for us that was a win. We were able to make something that was that intuitive.”
The music of Pulse communicates the tone of each level to the player. Sparsely relying on visuals, the developers at Cipher Prime are able to let the music become the central character and source of atmosphere in each level.
“With each track we communicate a very different sort of feel; a very different sort of emotion. And I think that it does that really well,” explains Saint.
Kerry Gilbert, level and co-audio designer on Pulse, shares his opinions about the abilities music has in their game: “It sort of guides, for lack of a better term, the emotional journey. You know, you’re going through each song and they each have their own feeling and song takes you up and takes you back down. It speeds you up and then slows you down, and then you finish with a big finale with Cinder and then you’re done. It feels very linear to me, in a way.”
Both sound and music have multiple different properties and uses. Besides using these aspects as a means to educate players, they can also be used to create ambience and tone (or lack thereof) in games. However, in a very different vein than Pulse, Dead Space 2, the latest production from Visceral Games, uses ambience and tone to create a very different sort of atmosphere for the player.
Part of what makes Dead Space 2 so scary is its use of a tense orchestral score to heighten tension. This is exactly what Sound Producer Andrew Boyd, and his team at Visceral were looking to accomplish.
“I think [that music] is pretty important in Dead Space,” remarks Boyd. “I think it’s important in all games, but in Dead Space it’s really a key component. We’re very interested in the psychology of the character — Isaac’s character — and we want to put the player through some of those same kinds of experiences. So, as a player, you’re sitting on your couch, you’re not actually walking down some deserted hallway. How do we make you feel like you are? How do we play with that?
“Music works on this great unconscious level…if you’re doing it right, people don’t recognize what’s happening necessarily. But we use the music in Dead Space to create that sense of loneliness and isolation and dread — and we’ve got a million techniques for doing it.”
“We want to play with a sense of uneasiness. Constant uneasiness kind of dulls its edge, so we want to modulate the experience for you. Dead Space is obviously a very dark place to spend time, and you know, that’s part of the goal.”
One aspect players frequently overlook is the seamless integration of sound effects into the atmosphere. They are such a basic component of every game, yet most players don’t even notice them — it’s natural. If the sound effects were missing, of course, that would be another story.
“[Dead Space] actually has the sliders in it so you can adjust sound effects and music separately. It’s kind of interesting to turn the music off and play through it. Or vice versa — turn the sound effects off and play with the just the music. You’ll see immediately how much less effective it is,” states Boyd. “In this case, there’s a synergistic relationship between the sound effects and the music. Taking either one away doesn’t let you have the experience; it makes it significantly less.”
When creating Dead Space 2, Boyd and his team made sure that the line between these two aspects would become blurred for the player. He also remarks at how both the music and sound effects are tied together as one unit: “[They] work really closely together in Dead Space. Sometimes the line is really blurry between what you’re hearing — are you hearing music, or are you hearing sound effects? A lot of the environmental sounds of the world have a tonal element to them. It all becomes part of the psychology of the presentation.”
“Often the music will just trail off and disappear completely, and we use that as an effect as well. Sometimes the scariest thing we can do, the best mood we can set, is just silence.”
In Pulse, the team at Cipher Prime also uses silence to set the mood. However, instead of scaring the player, the game uses silence sparingly, as a way of giving the player time to breath. “I think that sound is appropriate in a game in the same places that it’s appropriate in another medium,” Dain Saint explains.
“The Pulse menu isn’t exactly silent; it just has this sort of ambient feeling where it has this sound that is similar to an orchestra tuning up. It prepares you. But when you are going into a song, the game becomes silent. When the track is finished, the game is silent again. We use silence in the game to give the feeling of performance.”
“It’s kind of that calm before the storm,” says Kerry Gilbert. “You’re getting ramped up and you’re ready, and this is right before the curtain opens.”
However, in Dead Space, the use of silence is an interesting gameplay element that almost always changes.
“The airless sections are, if not unique, certainly signature elements for Dead Space. It’s a different sound; it’s a very unusual sound,” states Boyd. “If you haven’t heard it, then the first time you do it’s quite surprising to have all of the sound sucked away and to just be left with your heartbeat and breath. I don’t know if a lot of games are doing that.”
Audio design changes drastically from game to game; objectives are different, atmosphere is different, and every team has different ideas of what they want to create with their games.
“I went to a talk at GDC, not this year but the year prior, and there was a big talk from a lot of the audio designers,” recalls Dain Saint. “They said, ‘Hey, guess what? People are shutting off your music because your music sucks.’ And it’s not that your music is bad, it’s just that if you’re playing something like Red Dead Redemption, and every time you go into this town the exact same song plays on loop, eventually you don’t want to hear it any more. You have to design your music more intelligently so that people don’t shut it off.”
“You have to be smart; you have to figure out ways to have the game dynamically change the music and generate and synthesize, and do everything you can do to avoid the pattern detection algorithm that humans have where somebody says, ‘Oh, that music just looped. That’s the beginning of the song again.’ If you can avoid that, then you can get a lot more mileage out of the same music. It’s just a matter of intelligent audio design, not just necessarily subtle design.” (Source: 1UP)