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  • Resequencing And Dynamic Transitions For Game Music Composers

    [09.23.21]
    - Winifred Phillips

  • But what if that isn't the goal? What if we want the horizontal resequencing system to completely hide its dynamic transitions? To get a taste of how that approach would work, let's look at one of the original tracks I composed for Sackboy: A Big Adventure: "Shoo-Bee-Doo Hullabaloo."

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    This is the boss battle music at the end of the awesome "Thar She Blows Up" level. Like Material Girl, this boss battle track is structured in horizontal segments - in this case, three progressively more dramatic chunks of music. But the implementation strives towards a seamless experience, with the goal of hiding the dynamic transitions rather than showing them.

    So let's see how that worked.

    As you can see - pure horizontal resequencing can be a very flexible approach to injecting interactivity into our game music, and there's more than one way to use it. We can aim to make our music feel seamless, or we can present our music segments in an overt way. And both approaches can be effective.

    So now we've explored how these two games have adapted the pure horizontal resequencing technique in different ways. In the third article of this series, we'll approach the next item in our list of dynamic music techniques:

    When we resume our discussion, we'll be exploring how pure vertical layering can be adapted to gameplay circumstances, using several examples to demonstrate how this dynamic technique can be molded and shaped to accomplish different tasks. Until then, thanks for reading!

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    About the author

    Winifred Phillips is a BAFTA-nominated video game composer whose whose most recent project is the music of the latest blockbuster release in the Lineage series - one of the highest-grossing video game franchises of all time. Popular music from Phillips' award-winning Assassin's Creed Liberation score is featured in the performance repertoire of the Assassin's Creed Symphony World Tour, which made its Paris debut in 2019 with an 80-piece orchestra and choir. As an accomplished video game composer, Phillips is best known for composing music for games in five of the most famous and popular franchises in gaming: Lineage, Assassin's Creed, God of War, Total War, The Sims, and Sackboy / LittleBigPlanet. Phillips has received numerous awards, including an Interactive Achievement Award / D.I.C.E. Award from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, six Game Audio Network Guild Awards (including Music of the Year), and three Hollywood Music in Media Awards. She is the author of the award-winning bestseller A COMPOSER'S GUIDE TO GAME MUSIC, published by the MIT Press. As one of the foremost authorities on music for interactive entertainment, Winifred Phillips has given lectures at the Library of Congress in Washington DC, the Society of Composers and Lyricists, the Game Developers Conference, the Audio Engineering Society, and many more. Phillips' enthusiastic fans showered her with questions during a Reddit Ask-Me-Anything session that went viral, hit the Reddit front page, received 14.9 thousand upvotes, and became one of the most popular gaming AMAs ever hosted on Reddit. An interview with her will soon be published as a part of the Routledge text, Women's Music for the Screen: Diverse Narratives in Sound, which collects the viewpoints of the most esteemed female composers in film, television, and games. Follow her on Twitter @winphillips.

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