Music in Video Games

Adaptive Audio tools also provide advanced music creation possibilities that are different from the features found in more traditional DAWs. Here is the theme for one of the monster encounters (cf. sound in video games). It is a collage I created form a Donizetti opera1 recorded in 1911, Omnisphere synth sounds and the preceding page’s soundscape. Some sonic elements as well as the volume balance is adapted dynamically during gameplay.

Adaptive Audio for a Platform Game

For the next example I have used only Tempest, a drum computer designed by Roger Linn to create a groove with different drum and synth layers. The feeling of the main groove uses the Batá rhythm Olokun as a template.





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Drag and release the slider to start the percussion playback on 1 and increase the volume on 2 and 3. Slide back to 0 to mute the percussion instruments. Notice that the percussion loop will only start every 2 bars due to it's quantisation settings. The only random element is a 3 bar section of the main loop that has 2 alternatives. Channel count increaes to 2 when the Batá drums are playing.

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I simplified this example and made 3 videos to illustrate the different adaptive layers and random features. An easy way to imagine the use of fmod is to think of having a scaled down version of Ableton Live that can be hidden (in a game, an app or like here on a website):

Intro, single loop and 3 bar random versions:

Percussion track triggered with a 2 bar quantised setting:

One beat quantised jump to end of tune if player fails:

Complex example with changing song structure and randomly triggered percussive instruments.

Similarities and Differences with DAWs

These examples only scratch the surface of the possible in an audio game engine. To understand the full potential of FMOD one can imagine have a compact DAW hidden in a game or a multimedia installation. Real-time effects as well as interactive mixing further extend the possibilities for The Aquatic Museum app.


  1. Una furtiva lagrima (L’elisir d’amore, Act 2) - Gaetano Donizetti - performed by Enrico Caruso (public domain). ↩︎