Music is an incredibly important aspect of any game, but for a game with music as a foundation for our mechanics, we have to carefully design it in such a way that complements our gameplay. Overworld music must follow these rules:
Four separate audio tracks of equal length, one for each character, all audible and distinguishable at any given point
Every instrument track must not only sound good alone, but also sound harmonious with every combination of other instruments that the player can use
Consistent tempo at a BPM number that, when 60 is divided into it, has a finite number of decimal places
Any external environment tracks, jingles, etc., must be in the same key and tempo as the music preceding it
Simply put, feeling fit within the environment the player sees
These constraints, while certainly difficult to compose with at times, are completely necessary to not distract from the game’s experience and use of music. In fact, with these rules unlocks many music-related feedback elements otherwise impossible, such as a specific character’s instrument track slowing to a stop when they die.
We really want players to enjoy experimenting with instrument combinations, and, in a way, simulate how it feels to actually be in a band. Soon I’ll be adding music flourishes that react to your attacks as a player, which I am very excited about!
A screenshot of the music project file. Made in Cubase.