AAAI Publications, Eighth Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference

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Mezzo: An Adaptive, Real-Time Composition Program for Game Soundtracks
Daniel Lankford Brown

Last modified: 2012-10-07


Mezzo is a computer program designed that procedurally writes Romantic-Era style music in real-time to accompany computer games. Leitmotivs are associated with game characters and elements, and mapped into various musical forms.  These forms are distinguished by different amounts of harmonic tension and formal regularity, which lets them musically convey various states of markedness which correspond to states in the game story. Because the program is not currently attached to any game or game engine, “virtual” gameplays were been used to explore the capabilities of the program; that is, videos of various game traces were used as proxy examples.  For each game trace, Leitmotivs were input to be associated with characters and game elements, and a set of ‘cues’ was written, consisting of a set of time points at which a new set of game data would be passed to Mezzo to reflect the action of the game trace.  Examples of music composed for one such game trace, a scene from Red Dead Redemption, are given to illustrate the various ways the program maps Leitmotivs into different levels of musical markedness that correspond with the game state.


music; game; procedural; adaptive; computer-composed

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