AI-generated soundtracks

Amidst all of the talk about the use of AI/Machine Learning to generate content for RPGs, I’ve only ever heard two forms of media discussed: words, and pictures. Of course, these are the things that RPG books and supplements are made up of, and so it seems obvious to talk about them. But they are not the only form of medium.

Some people set their games to music and sound-effects. Not me, and I’ve never been sure whether I would want to (background music is such a ubiquitous distraction nowadays, and I think that it detracts from the act of actually sitting down to appreciate good music) and, even so, I imagine it would take an awfully long time to pick out and compile a suitable soundtrack (especially if you are as fussy as me). However, there is clearly a demand for it, and some supplements I have downloaded from even come with their own soundtracks.

There is a precedent for music set to accompany perilous adventure, and it’s in film and TV. It ought to be possible, although not trivial, to train an AI using scripts and soundtracks from the last hundred years of moving pictures, so that it can generate music appropriate to, say, yomping through the mountains, listening carefully at a door, tiptoeing into a darkened room, or fighting with a sodding great dragon. How this is integrated into the game presents another challenge, but it’s a challenge similar to that already faced by anyone using music and sound effects to enhance their game: essentially, do you have a backing-track running throughout the whole thing, or do you press the “dragon fight” button to switch on the dragon fight music the instant the party starts to fight the dragon. Again, this problem isn’t insurmountable.

So I wonder… is there anyone out there teaching computers to set roleplaying sessions to music?

By the way, I am in the process of writing a book “King Arthur vs Devil Kitteh”, and if you could visit the Kickstarter page and sign up to be notified on launch, that would help me an awful lot, thanks! 







5 responses to “AI-generated soundtracks”

  1. Theo Thaconatos Avatar

    It occurs to me that used correctly you could use AI generated music to, rather than provide pure atmosphere, (semi) directly communicate information about the environment.

    Use, for example, the Holmes wandering monster table (2nd printing used for simplicity’s sake) for LEVEL 1 BELOW GROUND gives you 12 inputs (really weighted 10 with Orcs and Bandits accounted for twice)

    Gelatinous Cube

    If each type of monster has some sort of sonic fingerprint, then whatever garble the computer spit out could metagaming wise give a clue as to what is bopping about down there by feel.

  2. Theo Thaconatos Avatar


    Kobolds (per False Machine, “Trap-Dogs”) so Atlanta Hip Hop, lots of electronic snare drums and double-timed hi hats)

    Goblins 80s Bowie, Labyrinth OST in particular, artificial yet lush. Probably could just as well be Danny Elfman.

    Bandits High Hollywood sweeping strings. The Godfather. Alternatively, Sinbad the Sailor pseudo- orientalism.

    Orcs Drums, Horns and Bagpipes. Corvus Crovax? or Taiko drumming?

    Skeletons/Zombies Can only be Goblin – Prog Rock. Dawn of the Dead soundtrack, Susperia, whatever. Obviously, it hurts my head a little bit for Goblin (the band) to not correspond to Goblin (the species), but what can a poor boy do.

    Berserkers Gotta be Viking Metal doesn’t it. Bathory – Hammerheart or whatever. Or go blacker – Enslaved.

    Stirges Pan Pip Free Jazz. Or failing that, Ornette Coleman – Dancing in Your Head.

    Dwarves The Complete works of Leslie Fish. Or I hear 50s do-wop for some reason.

    Elves Choral music, Motets and such.

    Gelatinous Cube Drone and Minimalism. Music for Airports.

  3. Blackout Avatar

    Wonderful ideas, and huge thumbs up for suggesting Goblin (the band) – was lucky enough to see them live a while back.

  4. dansumption Avatar

    Theo, this is fucking genius, but you've got to be careful talking about Ornette Coleman around me or I will drone on forever. Especially that one album – Ronald Shannon Jackson was the greatest drummer of all time; fight me!

    For some reason gelatinous cubes strike me as almost the opposite to ambient. I'm hearing Cecil Taylor or Conlon Nancarrow.

    I'm now worried that I'm going to be sat up all night writing free-jazz encounter tables music.

  5. Theo Thaconatos Avatar

    I believe you are correct about the Cubes – what from a distance I mistook for tranquil scavenging is up close of course but a frenetic engine of blind aggregation – encompassed perfectly by said pianos, man-played and mechanical both.

    The visuals of course must be silky, silky slow. Cut back at intervals to monitor the entity's progress through the hallway.

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