A tale of ambient music, and why dynamically setting the mood is so important.
Of course I was playing some Eve Online again today. Why wouldn’t I? I’d been fiddling around with some game settings, among which a checkbox labelled “Use classic EVE music instead of dynamic music”, or something along those lines. Getting tired of the slightly monotone electronic grunts that are Wormhole Space background music, I enabled the option, just to hear what it was like. After a while, a different tune starts playing in the background. Slightly higher pitched, and a bit more interesting to listen to.
I proceed to go about my business as usual, until I notice a couple of ships have appeared close by. They’re closing in on me, and target my ship. Shit. Tension rises, but the same almost mellow background music keeps playing. I scurry to make my way out, to not get caught, but the difference between the ambience and the actual situation is jarringly present.
It didn’t throw me off, it never really broke my focus, but the mismatching of the audio against the level of danger I was facing made for an odd feel to the whole deal. Comparing this to the dynamic audio system, where tenser music starts playing as soon as combat-related events happen around you, it’s definitely an unpolished experience.
The topic of dynamic background music is actually something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit, but I don’t have the musical knowledge and skills to test things out.