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First post, by Muz

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Jane's USAF, or Jane's IAF for example, the game has no in-game music at all. For atmosphere purposes?

Reply 1 of 27, by cyclone3d

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Actually.. they were made this way specifically because the programmers knew you would ask this question in the future.

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Reply 3 of 27, by j^aws

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Muz wrote on 2021-05-08, 18:36:

Jane's USAF, or Jane's IAF for example, the game has no in-game music at all. For atmosphere purposes?

They're meant to be simulators, and plenty lacked in-game music from that era. Last time I climbed into a fighter jet, I too was disappointed by the lack of in-flight entertainment. Probably for the best, as I may have been shot down by a pesky MIG.

Reply 4 of 27, by Hezus

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I could name a few reasons:
Making good soundtracks isn't easy. Back then games were not made by miltimillion dollar companies, but often by just a few people or sometimes just one. If no one was a musical talent then there wasn't any money to simply hire a pro to do it.

Music also takes up disk space. If you had to distribute your game on 1.4, 0.7 or even o.3 mb floppies, you might have to make the choice not to create music for it in favour of production cost.

Lastly, having music in a game wasn't a given in the early days. For a lot of 80s and early 90s games it was pretty normal not to have any music but just some pc speaker sound effects. Probably for the better since the speaker is very limited in what it can do and it could not play sound fx and music at the same time.

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Reply 5 of 27, by dr_st

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Hezus wrote on 2021-05-09, 06:01:

Probably for the better since the speaker is very limited in what it can do and it could not play sound fx and music at the same time.

Bah. Even Paratrooper for DOS had music.
Plam-Plim-Plom-Plum-Plam-Plim-Plom-Plum-Plam-Plim-Plom-Plum-Plam-Plim-Plom-Plum-
Plam-Plam-Plum-Plum-Plim-Plim-Plum-Plum-Plom-Plom-Plum-Plum-Plum.

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Reply 6 of 27, by BardBun

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I always thought Half-Life didn't have music until I got the Steam version many years later.
For some reason the CD music never played and I thought the game was just silent for the atmosphere. Nowadays I can't even stand playing it with the music on, it feels so off.

Reply 7 of 27, by Hezus

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dr_st wrote on 2021-05-09, 11:50:
Bah. Even Paratrooper for DOS had music. Plam-Plim-Plom-Plum-Plam-Plim-Plom-Plum-Plam-Plim-Plom-Plum-Plam-Plim-Plom-Plum- Plam-P […]
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Hezus wrote on 2021-05-09, 06:01:

Probably for the better since the speaker is very limited in what it can do and it could not play sound fx and music at the same time.

Bah. Even Paratrooper for DOS had music.
Plam-Plim-Plom-Plum-Plam-Plim-Plom-Plum-Plam-Plim-Plom-Plum-Plam-Plim-Plom-Plum-
Plam-Plam-Plum-Plum-Plim-Plim-Plum-Plum-Plom-Plom-Plum-Plum-Plum.

🤣. It's more of an opening tune than a soundtrack.

While on the topic: Alley Cat probably has my favourite PC Speaker music!

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Reply 8 of 27, by Errius

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The first Tomb Raider game is interesting because although the CD contains audio tracks, they're of ambient sounds, not music.

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Reply 9 of 27, by MrFlibble

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Never actually thought of this before, but I just had an idea: maybe it was ultimately demo scene people who started adding music in their games? Or is this too far fetched?

The first games that I played had little more than intro music (F-19, Prince of Persia), likely in part because I only had PC Speaker sounds and with this device you'd probably have to choose to either have in-game sound effects or in-game music, but not both. And even with more advanced sound devices like Adlib a game could still be either music or sound effects, for similar reasons.

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Reply 12 of 27, by jheronimus

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MrFlibble wrote on 2021-05-10, 13:13:

Never actually thought of this before, but I just had an idea: maybe it was ultimately demo scene people who started adding music in their games? Or is this too far fetched?

Yeah, it’s not really related. I mean, you have to keep in mind that music wasn’t that rare on other platforms in the 80s (C64, NES, the arcade machines). It’s just that PC didn’t have a default sound device for too long (well, except for Tandy/PCJr).

So ultimately it was Sierra who started writing music for the MT-32 (because an executive for the American branch of Roland was on Sierra’s board of directors) and AdLib (after the inventor of AdLib was introduced to them and they convinced him to drop the software bundle from the AdLib and lower the price).

It took a couple of years for others to take notice, so that’s why game music really becomes a thing on PC around 1988-1989.

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Reply 13 of 27, by chinny22

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MrFlibble wrote on 2021-05-10, 13:13:

The first games that I played had little more than intro music (F-19, Prince of Persia), likely in part because I only had PC Speaker sounds and with this device you'd probably have to choose to either have in-game sound effects or in-game music, but not both. And even with more advanced sound devices like Adlib a game could still be either music or sound effects, for similar reasons.

Prince of Persia is due to resources. Remember this first stared as an Apple II game.
Shadow man was created out of necessity as no more memory existed to create enemy's, Instead bit shift the code 1 pixel over and Shadow man is born!
(the other enemies only came about when they "found" some extra memory right at the end)
Music was always in the game but knew they wouldn't be able to have a soundtrack so came up with the work around of music cue's at key events as used in movies.

I cant remember where I read it but was a really good article on the making of POP and all the limitations, this would be the reason for a lot of other early games as well.

Reply 14 of 27, by chrismeyer6

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maestro wrote on 2021-05-10, 19:51:

Wasted effort, studies found that armchair pilots are just gonna put on Danger Zone anyway.

That made me laugh really hard.

Reply 16 of 27, by Caluser2000

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Errius wrote on 2021-05-12, 02:21:

Flying Corps has hilariously inappropriate oompah music, IIRC.

Was it about zombies with wings....

There's a glitch in the matrix.

Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.

Reply 17 of 27, by vad4r

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Mortville Manor from Lankhur has digital speech and digital music over the PC speaker - sometimes it´s better without sound 😁
https://youtu.be/wPQEE9HKSuU

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Reply 18 of 27, by Art

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I remember TFX, where its music started to be annoying after 20 minutes of repeating during flight, especially during dogfights, but fortunately it can be switched off. I think that some games don't need any music.