View Full Version : The music of Drox Operative

05-05-2012, 12:09 PM
For me, music is always a very important part of the atmosphere in a game of space exploration. Solemn, orchestral tunes work very well to get across that certain air of vastness,
the inconceivable scale of the distance travelled on a faster-than-light voyage.

What is the approach in Drox Operative? I assume there will be some kind of background music, since there's usually not much in the way of ambient sounds in open space;
as well as a few tracks of music that play during combat.

05-05-2012, 05:29 PM
Hi Valgor,
Thanks for bringing up music!

As per Shadow's specs, there is actually going to be a great deal of music in the game. Essentially each race is going to get their own track to reflect their personalities, which will play in certain situations, whether in combat with them, or perhaps in the midst of diplomacy.

I don't want to spill too many beans, but there will definitely be races that you will be in conflict with quite a bit, and for those I made much more active combat tracks. However, for those guys, I added a bit of variety to the tracks as well, so that there will be different arrangements that play for them so as to decrease song playback fatigue--so you don't get sick of it :)

The music tends to be a blend of electronic, and more organic live instruments. However, I have gone to great lengths to ensure that the tracks sound quite different from each other (while still sounding like they are part of the same game), and that you won't experience the "techno effect", as I like to call it. And by that I mean straight up techno music is great for clubs, but wears on the listener very quickly in a game setting. So you won't be getting any "boom-chee, boom-chee, boom-chee, boom-chee" type tracks.

There will actually also be a great deal of ambient audio as well, to give distinct areas their own personality.

More to come soon! :)

05-05-2012, 06:28 PM
Thanks for your detailed reply! I was going to ask if you would reprise your role as composer for Drox Operative.

Each race having their own distinct theme in and out of combat is more than I had hoped for, and it's definitely something I'm looking forward to hear.
You talk about giving distinct areas their own feeling by means of ambient sound; does that mean there'll be different musical cues for certain special phenomena, such as black holes or nebulae?

05-05-2012, 08:50 PM
So the ambient audio tracks would be more tied to the art of a particular "map" if you will, so as you travel to different areas, you'll get different visual and aural textures. This should help to make it feel like you are traveling to different and varied regions of space. I really hope you guys will dig it (I think you will!)

05-05-2012, 10:21 PM
I really hope you guys will dig it (I think you will!)

I do, too. That sounds exactly like I was hoping for. Thanks for sharing the details with us.

05-06-2012, 06:07 PM
Oh, it's my pleasure. I am crazy about anything audio, so I'll babble on about it whenever I get the chance. That being said, I'm always learning and am always looking for suggestions, so please feel free to ask or tell. Kindly of course!

05-06-2012, 07:29 PM
Hey Tori. According to the credits, you did the voice in Kivi and the sound effects and music in Din's Curse. May I ask which tracks you composed for DC?

05-07-2012, 10:04 AM
I believe in DC, Tori just created the theme music. In Demon War, he did the theme music and the music for the Vortar, Rylor, and Krall.

05-07-2012, 10:26 AM
I believe in DC, Tori just created the theme music. In Demon War, he did the theme music and the music for the Vortar, Rylor, and Krall.

Awesome! I love the DC theme and the expansion theme (and how they fit together so nicely), and I like the music in the expansion much more than most of the music inherited from Kivi (with the exception of hulk.ogg and flame.off which are pretty good).

EDIT: Seriously Tori - I kinda wish you'd done all the music for DC.

05-07-2012, 12:32 PM
The Din's curse theme is wonderful. It fits the game quite well.

05-07-2012, 03:10 PM
To go into a little more depth, the theme music for DC feels rustic and yet run down to me, like a backwater town that's seen better days, which describes most towns in DC. You really nailed the feeling of DC with that one IMO. It's also a track that's subtle, and I really like that.

The tracks inherited from Kivi are mostly not so great (IMO) because they are all variations on the same thing. Since every track is associated to a monster and every monster is a threat, the whole soundtrack is threatening. It's like 'on no, here come the dark elves, and they're baaaad!' and then 'Egads! It's the orcs! They're even worse!' Each track makes too much use of dramatic instruments (mostly heavy wind instruments of various forms) and dissonance to convey a level of threat to the player. Rather than picking up on a certain property of the monster and playing with it to create a theme that could carry a whole scene in the game, they're almost all equivalent to the buzzing of an alarm.

The 2 exceptions I mentioned above are more like the conventional tracks used in fantasy games to build up excitement - something that would fit in a daring escape scene - and as such they work well. They're also the tracks featured in the DC trailers.

Anyway Tori, there's a lot more subtlety to play with in Drox, and I'm sure you'll do a great job.

05-08-2012, 12:56 PM
Hey, thanks a bunch for the support and kind words, folks! I've had an absolute blast working on these games and I've really tried to do the best I can to tailor the sounds and music to the games.

I also try to push the boundaries a little bit, so while I know not everything I do is going to be a winner, I like to make sure that I am always learning and trying new stuff. So like I said before--please feel free to let me know what you think about the sounds and music, and I absolutely appreciate critical feedback as well as positive. If a majority of folks don't like something, then it probably should be fixed (time allowing).

Also, a huge shout out has to go to Steven (Shadow) and the rest of Soldak, for allowing me to work in an environment that allows me so much artistic freedom, as well as the greatly appreciated opportunity for continued work on these amazing projects.

And of course, a massive thanks to the truly dedicated fans and players out there for your continued support through feedback, word of mouth, and most importantly, playing our games!

05-08-2012, 01:03 PM
Thanks again for your feedback on the theme to Din's Curse!

I'm very visual, so I always try to find images or stories to compose my music to. That way I feel like I can do a better job of fitting the music to the subject, and I find that they aural and visual ideas tend to interplay better that way.