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Interactive Music In Slot Games

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As I’m sure you’ve noticed, slots have a lot of different sounds going on all over the place, and it can start sounding crazy and disjointed very quickly. Sometimes this chaos is desired, but if not, you can employ some cool tactics to smooth things out.

Interactive music is a relatively simple concept that can do this, and will also help glue together the soundscape of your game.
The idea is that you split the background music into multiple layers that work together, and then choose which layers to fade in and out for different features throughout the game. Here we’ll have a look at some of the ways you can use this technique.

– Spin layers. Rather than a fully fleshed out piece of music looping constantly while the game is running, you can just use a sparse, simplified background track with the more intense instruments joining in just when the reels are spinning.

Some developers opt to then fade that second layer out instantly, while others prefer to let it continue for up to ten more seconds.The player is likely to spin again in that time so it’s like the music is more upbeat while the player is active, and chilled out when they’re taking a break.

– Win layers. You can have multiple extra layers joining in on top of the base track whenever a win is triggered. These layers need to be constantly high energy to work this way, as you can’t guarantee it’ll always kick in at the most exciting section of the track. This is a very effective way to combat the clashing win sounds issue, and will smooth over those jagged, abrupt moments between events.

– Feature layers. Most games will have a base background track plus a completely new track for free spins, bonus or whatever features the game has. An option is to just save a layer of instruments that only play over the background track during these features. It can tie everything together and help with the transitions, as well as reducing the risk of a completely new track breaking immersion.

– Anticipation layers. If the player has to collect a certain amount of something to activate a feature, interactive music can be used to help build the anticipation. For example if they need to collect a golden symbol in 5 consecutive spins to trigger a bonus game, you could add a new layer of instruments joining in as each of the first four are triggered, and then your “bonus win” sound when the fifth is achieved.

The player will probably manage to get to two or three golden symbols pretty regularly, so you’ll always have movement going on in the music. It’s a great way to avoid getting bored of the same repeating loop.

There are many more ways to add excitement to your games with dynamic music like this, and individual games can provide unique opportunities for it too. If your game’s size budget has room for it, it’s almost always worth doing, but it might be worth avoiding on a particularly¬†tight schedule. This is partly¬†due to the extra creative work it entails, and partly due to the extra QA testing it requires. If anything in the game is causing any of the layers to go out of sync by even a fraction of a second, you can end up with a big mess on your hands!

Check out our showreel and see if you can spot the games that used interactive music:

We also have some demos on our Soundcloud page that ramp up and down through the layers.

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