Game Development Reference
Music has similar drawbacks to facial expression. Music is complex and dynamic
and hard to describe, but people almost innately respond to it. That is to say,
critical listeners are far more common than skilled practitioners. Skilled game
musicians are rarer still, but they exist, and the industry is growing. Designers will
want to place certain demands on music. The AI programmer should be part of
the process—and the earlier, the better. Because music is such a powerful tool,
the designer may demand total control of all music changes. AI programmers
might think that this takes them out of the loop, but they may be the people
tasked with translating the designer's demands into code. As the designer's vision
expands beyond the simplest triggers, the need for code to reason and react will
increase. A holistic approach that includes considering ''music AI'' ensures that
even if the music only has the simplest of changes, no creative capability was
unintentionally excluded because no one thought about designing it in.
Mood here is a catch-all intended to pick up static elements, usually of a visual
nature, that need not be static. Consider the possibilities when AI controls
clothing, lighting, and even the very basic texture maps on the objects in the
world. These are virtual worlds, after all, and the game studio has control over
every bit of it. Mood elements easily play to fear, relief, wonder, and occasionally
to surprise. They provide subtle support to the bold dramatic elements of the
Clothing can be under AI control if there are sufficient art assets to support it.
Dress for Success was originally published in 1975, but wardrobe designers for
theatre have long used costuming as visual shorthand to communicate unspoken
information to the audience. People are used to thinking about facial expres-
sions, but wardrobe expression shows at longer ranges and uses less detail. By
using a consistent wardrobe palette, especially one that is well understood by the
public, the game designer can communicate information to the player in more
subtle ways than facial expression, dialog, or music. That information can carry
emotional content or evoke an emotional response. Players who are less tuned in
can be clued in via dialog. Consider the following exchange:
''Uh, oh, this is going to be bad. He's wearing his black pin-stripe power suit.''
''What do you mean?''