Audio Design and Music Demos

EDIT: This blog post once had links to vocaroo tracks, but it looks like those links have expired, so you can no longer listen to the test tracks that were made for this game.

It’s been two weeks since the last update, so I’d like to post something cool to let you know that this project is still alive.

I was fortunate enough to be contacted by a very talented musician who has produced some tracks that closely match my ideas for the game’s soundtrack. The idea is that we only hear one melody during gameplay, but depending on the player’s actions, that melody is altered to sound soothing, unsettling, or outright horrifying. Here are some music samples that, hopefully, convey what I’m talking about:

Peaceful Music: Broken link

Doing-Something-Suspicious Music: Broken link (The same track as above, but edited to sound more creepy)

In addition to using one melody that sounds progressively more disturbing depending on the player’s actions, we might completely change to a new track once the player has been spotted, or has limited time to perform an urgent task.

Endangered Music: Broken link (Too dramatic? Better suited for a battle in a Final Fantasy game?)

Here’s another track that I feel would be right at home during an especially creepy moment; when Yandere-chan opens an envelope that says “I know what you did”, or when Yandere-chan or has a subtley threatening conversation with a girl, or when she arranges pictures of Senpai-kun in her room. It might also be appropriate gameplay background music for certain situations, such as trespassing in the school after midnight.

Creepy Music: Broken link

The last track I’d like to share with you is a “concept” track created by another musician. It’s not a track that would actually appear in the game, this track is only meant to demonstrates how the tone of the music might change throughout gameplay depending on the player’s actions. Be sure to listen to it all the way through, because it changes significantly after the halfway point.

Concept Demo: Broken link

What kind of soundtrack do you think the game should have? A generic slice-of-life high-school anime soundtrack, with “disturbing” and “horrifying” versions of each track, depending on the player’s actions? Or something else entirely?

27 thoughts on “Audio Design and Music Demos

  1. I like what I’m hearing so far. My only complaint is that I can barely tell the difference between Peaceful and Suspicious. Also the creepy music is very low volume. but when i turn it up i like it.

  2. I agree. I like what I hear as well, just need to mix it better so volume/parts come out more.

    I think the “Danger/Got Caught” music should be more urgent actually. It has good instrumentation but if I just got caught I’m going to want to rush the fuck out of there or finish the job as quickly as possible with my heart pacing.

    Since this game reminds me of Hitman: Blood Money in design a bit, I’d get audio design/cues from there. One thing that I love about the game is after you kill a target, a dark brooding choral piece usually starts playing and it really changes the mood for awhile. There are so many different audio changes from getting caught, being under alert, suspicions being raised, walking around peacefully with no suspicions raised, etc. that I could see this game benefiting from. Hope you guys finish this someday!

  3. I’m loving it. However, the Peaceful and Suspicious tracks are nearly identical – and you need a good ear to even tell the difference. And even then, it’s hard to hear.

    Concept Demo is good. Looks like someone took to heart my mention of Naughty Bear, it seems. Who did these, because they are pretty good.

  4. The concept demo is the most pleasing-sounding one, it has an original style, and relaxing vibes that turn sour in your mouth when it starts to change in the middle. The other demos sound too much like cliche anime production music, which clearly may be something to strive for, but they still leave something to be desired.
    The last one is way cool though, I hope you consider using it.

  5. I like the sound of the first half of the concept demo, but I think the second half is overdoing it a bit. The distorted sounds don’t sound particularly good, in a sense of something you need to listen to, but the bit towards the end where presumably a murder occurred and the music changes again; that was good.

    There are pros and cons to both methods of providing the soundtrack, really. Like the others said the tracks from the other musician sound a bit bland and there’s barely any difference between the normal and suspicious versions.

    I’ll touch on that endangered music for a bit first, and get back to the rest later. It’s an alright sound, but I don’t think it has quite the effect going for it. Compare it to the alert theme in MGS:

    It immediately kicks off with a loud start, which is designed to give you a shock. The ever memorable ! sound and alert effect tie into it. Then one of the key parts of the song is how it’s got the quieter backing being constantly punctuated by louder sounds, which hits at the player’s nerves.
    The endangered music on the other hand has a much more constant sound, which I think is where it loses impact. It also builds up somewhat slower, which won’t give as much of a feeling of pressure as it “eases you in” to the song. In a sense, it sounds more like a battle theme than a “panic” theme.

    Now, back to the normal and suspicious music; I think the main problem is that they’re too similar. It doesn’t need to be the same tune with additional effects on it, and it doesn’t need to be so subtle. MGS is a good example again, because of how it transitions between phases.

    The evasion phase is a more subdued version of the alert phase, while the caution phase has its own sound. The thing here is that each phase has a clearly distinct sound, but they still transition into each other well.
    Basically, I think the different phases of music should have more distinct changes between them. In that regard I don’t think such a piano-focused base fits well for this purpose.

    Another problem with this system would be the music getting repetitive, but a simple way to solve it would be to have different music sets for different times of the day (morning, afternoon, night), and then unique songs for other areas that don’t need phases (in class, cutscenes, at home).

    The creepy music I kind of like and kind of don’t. This piece in particular I don’t think could apply to that many situations. For finding out that someone knows what you did, or having a threatening conversation with a girl, I don’t think the music itself is threatening enough for those situations.
    As for arranging Senpai’s pictures, I think that should have a more cheery tune for it, since that’s supposed to be calming Yandere down. But if the game changes as time goes on, then arranging pictures later in the game when Yandere’s sanity is lower, this kind of music could be good then.
    With the last note on it though, I agree that it would be a good base theme for night-time exploration.

    I think that’s about it, really. I don’t mean to sound hugely discouraging at this point; I’d like to see the composer take this feedback and see what they can come up with next.

  6. Creepy music is perfect, the first two are difficult to distinguish from one another and I’m not quite sure they fit the context.

  7. The endangered music is awesome although it doesn’t really fit. Love the creepy music (besides it being quiet. Peaceful and suspicious are virtually indistinguishable.

  8. I actually think that having a barely noticeable distinction between normal and suspicious is a good thing. It’s not something you actually notice, but it sets the mood at a subconscious level.
    Then again, the normal / suspicious tracks have a very distinct theme that sounds like it’ll start to get on your nerves after a while of listening to it on a loop. But still, for a goddamn CONCEPT PHASE that’s a fantastic start. I wish you could see the grin on my face when I was listening to it.

  9. Next blog entry:
    Oh hey guys, I was taking a little break from the Yandere Sim and made this small rhythm game called Yandere: Stabbing All Night, where you have to stab people to the rhythm of the music, there are powerups like Yangire Time and lots different handles to customise your knife with. That doesn’t mean the actual game is cancelled, it’s still absolutely totally honestly in the works.

    • Features:

      * Enter the TV world to solve murder mysteries!
      * Date your classmates to power-up your dance moves!
      * Meet an adorable little girl whose only joy in life is a department store!
      * With music by Shoji Meguro!
      * Featuring Dante from the Devil May Cry series!

      Pre-order now or sign up for the Early Access Demo for Knife Handle DLC that increases your combo multiplier!

  10. These sound good, but we need to see them in tandem with the gameplay. We need to see if they fit with the setting. Listening to them on here is good and all, and like I said, I like them, but we need to see if they are compatible with the actual game.

  11. Reading your concept for a melody that changes with your actions made me think about Banjo-Kazooie and how the melody changed with the different locations. It’s a fantastic way to do music and I’m not sure why more games haven’t tried that.

    I have to disagree with some of the others on here, I LOVED the subtle differences between “Peaceful” and “Suspicious”. I think it’s way too easy to be too “heavy handed” with the creep factor. It should be extremely subtle to start.

    On a side note, the scream in the concept music legit startled me, haha. Really great stuff – keep up the exciting work, man!

  12. When I read you’ve received something from another “talented” person I expected to end up hearing wubeth, but this is okay I guess.

  13. Good to see progress on this, the music is fantastic so far. As long as we’re talking examples, I think you should check out Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee and Exoddus. GREAT danger/suspense/alert music and musical transitions in both. Keep it up!

  14. Peaceful Music:
    I fear the soundtrack might be little repetitive. Maybe divide different areas into different soundtracks? Great nonetheless. Has that stereotypical VN feel.

    Dynamic Creepiness:
    Great idea. Thinking of something in the lines of this.

    Endangered Music:
    Stuck out like a sore thumb. From what I heard from the rest of the soundtrack, it has a revolving theme centering around “romance visual novel gone wrong”. This doesn’t fit the bill.

    Creepy Music:
    Great! I think I can pick up a part of the Westminster school bell chime in the 30 second mark.

    Concept Music:
    Go with this! Use it!

    • Capon, that is AWESOME. I want something like THAT in the game. Dynamic music makes everything better!

  15. ZHNIGO: “the normal / suspicious tracks have a very distinct theme that sounds like itโ€™ll start to get on your nerves after a while of listening to it on a loop”
    I agree, I think it’s important that the bgm stays unobtrusive. Having situation dependent music sounds like a good idea though.

  16. As a sort of concept reference for feeling or mood of the soundtrack, I’d like to submit Mujun Rasen – Magician from Kara no Kyoukai (couldn’t find a youtube link, they’ve all been deleted).

    After the first minute, it begins to change from a strange, mischievous bordering on humorous tune to something undeniably out of place and sinister, and by two minutes it’s become manic, maddening, insane, yet immensely satisfying or pleasing in some way. It’s disturbing throughout, but manages to be subtle in the beginning. If you’ve seen the show, you may remember this playing whilst an insane character builds up to monologue and loses it completely, beating someone’s head against a wall. It was tailored for that scene, and I love the welling horror and eventual violent madness it portrays without resorting to ‘scary’ sound effects, chanting, or any jump-scare horror flick tropes. Conveying this mood whilst cornering and butchering a trembling, struggling girl who has come between me and Senpai could add something very special to the player experience. The end bits of the song aren’t really relevant, as the mood rapidly changes away from this around 2:30.

    While almost certainly too dramatic to do something exactly like this, I found it extremely memorable in the music-to-go-insane-to category. Music makes a tremendous difference. I also very much agree the game should go for that VN style of sound, and I prefer the samples you plan to go with over the concept link, with my only suggestion being that the suspicious/first tier of music that indicates something is amiss is not quite different enough from the original track.

  17. I’m the composer of these tracks (except the Concept Demo), and I thought I should answer some questions and feedback:

    1. Subtle differences between Peaceful and Suspicious

    I can see what you mean with the differences being too subtle. My vision was that this would be some sort of less sane version of the normal soundtrack. While having a really jarring effect (second half of Concept Demo) works in short bursts, it gets old quick.

    2. Repetitiveness/blandness

    In this very early phase I chose to simply churn out tracks whenever I have time, short themes with the general “feeling” that I’m looking for, in different styles. When I know for sure what style and direction is desired, I’ll spend more time refining them.

    3. Dynamic music

    This is exactly what I’ve been wanting the game to do, and I’m keeping it in mind when I write the music. There are several knobs you could twist to interpolate between the Peaceful and Suspicious, and you could of course take it to the next step after that as well.

    Thanks for all the feedback, I’m listening.

    • You are a good composer. I would love to see it working in a demo, the dynamic soundtrack, especially since Capone showed how it could be utilized. Good work man.

  18. At first, I thought I didn’t hear the difference between Peaceful and Suspicious until I replay them again and I could hear the creepy sounds in the Suspicious one like when someone enters the abandoned place or when something paranormal is about to happen. ๐Ÿ˜€ I really like it.
    The creepy music is kind of low volume, but I still like it and the urgent music!
    As for the concept demo, I think it would suit the situation for when you saw a girl talking to your senpai, but it’s just my opinion. ๐Ÿ™‚ Keep up the great work!

  19. I think that the game should have only one dynamic track that changes depending on the actions and surroundings.

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