C.P.U Bach isn’t a game.
February 26, 2013 7:08 PM   Subscribe

C.P.U. Bach was an interactive music program released by MicroProse in 1993 for the 3DO. Designed by Sid Meier and Jeff Briggs, it generated Baroque pieces in the style of Bach along with accompanying visuals.
posted by griphus (12 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Phenomenal. I've often wondered why procedurally generated music isn't the standard for games...
posted by Sedition at 7:56 PM on February 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

This is really cool, I had no idea it existed. I wonder how much, if any, of their inspiration was drawn from David Cope's experiments with algorithmic generation of idiomatic "classical" music.

On a side note, I don't mean to impugn this program at all when I say that Bach could never make a modulation to the subdominant sound as nasty as the one in the "chorale" in that video.
posted by invitapriore at 8:09 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's primitive, but I liked the procedurally generated music in the Atari 800 game Necromancer.
posted by moonmilk at 8:20 PM on February 26, 2013

This game was one of my fondest memories of the 3DO, it and 'Crash n Burn' were the first... and best games i had for the system. I still think about it and wonder if it was really as awesome as my memory would have me believe.

On that note, do 3DO emulators exist?
posted by phylum sinter at 8:28 PM on February 26, 2013

On that note, do 3DO emulators exist?

Yes. Notably, Crash n Burn is fully playable on FourDO as of a few versions ago, apparently.
posted by jedicus at 9:00 PM on February 26, 2013

I remember wanting this program so bad as a kid, because it sounded like pure computer magic! Thanks for reminding me of it, time to go down the rabbithole.

Sedition, I've wondered the same thing. About the closest I'm familiar with, off the top of my head, is the work LucasArts did for the Xwing and TIE fighter games. Well, okay, technically it wasn't procedural in that the music wasn't composed on-the-fly as you played, but it adapted itself to the action going on around you so that you didn't have lulls in the gameplay (e.g., waiting for a damned shuttle to dock before the baddies arraived) with up-tempo Danger! music.

Ah, apparently it was iMuse. Someone should do an FPP on that.

But, yes, procedural music seems to be a frontier few people are really tackling in the game world. I suppose it's because it comes at the potentially rare intersection of deep music theory knowledge and software development skills.
posted by barnacles at 9:30 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

It was such a disappointment when the CD-ROM versions of X-Wing and TIE Fighter came out and replaced the sweet iMuse soundtrack with the CD audio. Graphical upgrade, musical downgrade.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:38 PM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Rez kind of had procedural music. Although I guess you could more accurately say that it was procedural music, so it probably doesn't count. Vib-Ribbon, now there's one that should have had a procedural soundtrack.
posted by hades at 10:26 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Proteus could be considered to have procedural music, though it's sample-based, not note-based. While it was not received especially warmly previously on Metafilter, I think it's a brilliant game.
posted by speicus at 10:32 PM on February 26, 2013

It's also fun to look at more recent attempts at style modeling like OMax! I do wish something like this would be employed in a game but people tend to want their game music to be more... reliable.
posted by speicus at 10:38 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

God, I loved my 3DO. They really made some strange, experimental games for that thing.
posted by jbickers at 6:27 AM on February 27, 2013

Hilarious name. Thanks for the post!
posted by ersatz at 8:56 AM on February 27, 2013

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