Jurassic World Evolution: Behind the Music

Paul_Crowther

Community Manager
Frontier
Greetings Park Managers,

Jurassic World Evolution is a major production with input from talented teams and individuals from all across Frontier. One of the most magical aspects of the game is its soundtrack, created by composer Jeremiah Pena and our amazing audio team. To give you an insight into the creativity involved in putting together a musical masterpiece, we asked Technical Audio Designer Stephen Hollis and our audio team to share some behind the scenes details on the process.

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Planning the Music of Jurassic World Evolution
There's certainly a lot of planning involved in the early stages of development. Once the game features have been envisioned, we begin to take a look at the big picture and try to theorise what places will need music, and what kind of mood pallet we're going for. Early on we identified things like wonder, tension, dinosaur cinematics, and the three divisions as areas/tones we would like to score. That's the point where we got our composer Jeremiah Pena involved. We brainstorm ideas and create a lot of music that describes these moods, or even the dinosaurs we know will be in the game. This goes on until we settle on the sonic style of the game, at which point the process becomes a lot quicker. As the game gets further into development we begin to hook up the music, find out what does and doesn't work, and also find holes in the score where a part of the game is not covered. We iterate, iterate, and iterate again until we end up with the final soundtrack!

We absolutely wanted to stay true to the style of the original Williams score, but also wanted to create something new. So while areas of the score were certainly inspired by Williams, we were careful not to "rip it off". Luckily for us, Jeremiah is very well versed in what made Williams' music so good, and got down to creating his own themes and sonic identity that were inspired by the films. He was hugely influenced by Williams as a youngster, particularly by the original Jurassic Park score. It felt very natural for him to extrapolate in the same stylistic space. The process of finding your first big break as a composer can often seem like there must be a huge number of hoops to jump through, connections to make, and some secret process you must do before you can get noticed. For us however, Lead Audio Designer Matthew Florianz just happened to stumble across Jeremiah's Sound Cloud one day when we were working on Planet Coaster, and we decided to ask if he would like to write for us. Sometimes the simplest avenues of uploading your music to the internet can work!

Another interesting tidbit is that many of the musical ambiences within the game are constructed almost entirely from the original score. We take Jeremiah's music, stretch it out, mangle it, and put it back together in a different order to create something new, but that still holds the sonic identity of the original score. Next time you pause the game, have a listen to the ambience and try to guess what pieces of the main score have gone into it!

Creating music in games
The biggest difference between creating music for games compared to something like film or TV is that you have to be mindful of the fact that games are interactive. For us, this can become quite challenging given the amount of freedom the player has - the camera is free-moving and can go from focusing on a dinosaur, looking close up at all the details, to a wide shot of the entire park in a matter of moments. There are also missions that can trigger at any time, cinematics, dinosaurs breaking loose, storms approaching, etc. There is a huge amount of information that is constantly evolving all the time, and to try and score all that with music without the soundtrack jumping continually between moods can be quite tricky. To combat this we try to take a step back . We need to ask ourselves "What would be the most satisfying behaviour for the player?" instead of "Action A happened, so let's transition to Music B". And what we're aiming for is for each piece of music to have had its 'say' before moving onto the next piece. We want to let the music describe the story arc. We find this is a much less jarring way to go about it, and it allows our composers to do what they do best - create amazing music that tells its own story and can stand up on its own. It also has the additional benefit of making the soundtrack much more memorable and enjoyable in our opinion.

We're big proponents of having periods of silence, rather than just looping a background playlist. For us, this gives the moments where there is music playing, carry much more emotional weight, and also allows the general ambiance and sound design of the park take centre stage where appropriate. We're also big on not triggering background music randomly, and ensuring when we tell a piece of music to play it's because it's relevant to the player's story at that moment. So a lot of work goes into finding moments when music didn't work, finding moments where it did, and then iterating again and again until we're left with a system that is difficult to predict, but always seems to trigger music at the "right" time.

We're still supporting new features that appear in the latest updates, as well as going back and injecting new music into places we feel would benefit from it. In terms of the base game though, we kicked off the composition progress fairly early on in development.

Recording the music
It may be surprising, but the music in Jurassic World: Evolution is not a recording of a live orchestra. In fact, it's created using virtual instruments comprising of samples of real life orchestral instruments. Plug in a MIDI-keyboard to your computer and you can then play these virtual instruments, compose, record, and voila! Your own personal orchestra! To make these virtual instruments sound realistic is a bit of a dark art. It's not as simple as just playing in the notes and getting a realistic result; a lot of minor tweaking of lots of small details goes into the process. That's what makes Jeremiah so impressive: each track feels like it was performed live by a real group of musicians, which is a difficult thing to pull off. He really knows how to get the best out of sample libraries and he has a background in helping to design them.

Favourite Tracks
Tell us your favourite tracks in the thread below! Join us at 11AM UTC on Thursday 16 May over on www.twitch.tv/FrontierDevelopments for a special audio deep dive livestream with Senior Audio Designer Duncan MacKinnon.
 
You make it sound so easy. Plug in, and tadaa.
I've spent years in simulating real Guitars and orchestral instruments, it's quite fun, when people start questioning how you got a hold of a whole Orchestra ^_^
Props and Kudos to them! Great work!


PS: And please more of these Threads, this is a good one! (y)
 

Bo Marit

Lead Community Manager
Frontier
You make it sound so easy. Plug in, and tadaa.
I've spent years in simulating real Guitars and orchestral instruments, it's quite fun, when people start questioning how you got a hold of a whole Orchestra ^_^
Props and Kudos to them! Great work!


PS: And please more of these Threads, this is a good one! (y)
Thanks ArtiX, we'll do our best to write some more of them in the future!
 

Steggs

Community Manager
Frontier
what is on the screen you can see it in the window is it a clue we back to developer spotlights
While it can be fun to speculate a little, there aren't any clues in this one. This post is to celebrate our fantastic audio team and give you a little insight into how some of the music is made!

The screen you see in the image rotates through footage of all of our games. We wouldn't want anyone spending hours examining an image for clues when there aren't any!
 
Greetings Park Managers,

Jurassic World Evolution is a major production with input from talented teams and individuals from all across Frontier. One of the most magical aspects of the game is its soundtrack, created by composer Jeremiah Pena and our amazing audio team. To give you an insight into the creativity involved in putting together a musical masterpiece, we asked Technical Audio Designer Stephen Hollis and our audio team to share some behind the scenes details on the process.


Planning the Music of Jurassic World Evolution
There's certainly a lot of planning involved in the early stages of development. Once the game features have been envisioned, we begin to take a look at the big picture and try to theorise what places will need music, and what kind of mood pallet we're going for. Early on we identified things like wonder, tension, dinosaur cinematics, and the three divisions as areas/tones we would like to score. That's the point where we got our composer Jeremiah Pena involved. We brainstorm ideas and create a lot of music that describes these moods, or even the dinosaurs we know will be in the game. This goes on until we settle on the sonic style of the game, at which point the process becomes a lot quicker. As the game gets further into development we begin to hook up the music, find out what does and doesn't work, and also find holes in the score where a part of the game is not covered. We iterate, iterate, and iterate again until we end up with the final soundtrack!

We absolutely wanted to stay true to the style of the original Williams score, but also wanted to create something new. So while areas of the score were certainly inspired by Williams, we were careful not to "rip it off". Luckily for us, Jeremiah is very well versed in what made Williams' music so good, and got down to creating his own themes and sonic identity that were inspired by the films. He was hugely influenced by Williams as a youngster, particularly by the original Jurassic Park score. It felt very natural for him to extrapolate in the same stylistic space. The process of finding your first big break as a composer can often seem like there must be a huge number of hoops to jump through, connections to make, and some secret process you must do before you can get noticed. For us however, Lead Audio Designer Matthew Florianz just happened to stumble across Jeremiah's Sound Cloud one day when we were working on Planet Coaster, and we decided to ask if he would like to write for us. Sometimes the simplest avenues of uploading your music to the internet can work!

Another interesting tidbit is that many of the musical ambiences within the game are constructed almost entirely from the original score. We take Jeremiah's music, stretch it out, mangle it, and put it back together in a different order to create something new, but that still holds the sonic identity of the original score. Next time you pause the game, have a listen to the ambience and try to guess what pieces of the main score have gone into it!

Creating music in games
The biggest difference between creating music for games compared to something like film or TV is that you have to be mindful of the fact that games are interactive. For us, this can become quite challenging given the amount of freedom the player has - the camera is free-moving and can go from focusing on a dinosaur, looking close up at all the details, to a wide shot of the entire park in a matter of moments. There are also missions that can trigger at any time, cinematics, dinosaurs breaking loose, storms approaching, etc. There is a huge amount of information that is constantly evolving all the time, and to try and score all that with music without the soundtrack jumping continually between moods can be quite tricky. To combat this we try to take a step back . We need to ask ourselves "What would be the most satisfying behaviour for the player?" instead of "Action A happened, so let's transition to Music B". And what we're aiming for is for each piece of music to have had its 'say' before moving onto the next piece. We want to let the music describe the story arc. We find this is a much less jarring way to go about it, and it allows our composers to do what they do best - create amazing music that tells its own story and can stand up on its own. It also has the additional benefit of making the soundtrack much more memorable and enjoyable in our opinion.

We're big proponents of having periods of silence, rather than just looping a background playlist. For us, this gives the moments where there is music playing, carry much more emotional weight, and also allows the general ambiance and sound design of the park take centre stage where appropriate. We're also big on not triggering background music randomly, and ensuring when we tell a piece of music to play it's because it's relevant to the player's story at that moment. So a lot of work goes into finding moments when music didn't work, finding moments where it did, and then iterating again and again until we're left with a system that is difficult to predict, but always seems to trigger music at the "right" time.

We're still supporting new features that appear in the latest updates, as well as going back and injecting new music into places we feel would benefit from it. In terms of the base game though, we kicked off the composition progress fairly early on in development.

Recording the music
It may be surprising, but the music in Jurassic World: Evolution is not a recording of a live orchestra. In fact, it's created using virtual instruments comprising of samples of real life orchestral instruments. Plug in a MIDI-keyboard to your computer and you can then play these virtual instruments, compose, record, and voila! Your own personal orchestra! To make these virtual instruments sound realistic is a bit of a dark art. It's not as simple as just playing in the notes and getting a realistic result; a lot of minor tweaking of lots of small details goes into the process. That's what makes Jeremiah so impressive: each track feels like it was performed live by a real group of musicians, which is a difficult thing to pull off. He really knows how to get the best out of sample libraries and he has a background in helping to design them.

Favourite Tracks
Tell us your favourite tracks in the thread below! Join us at 11AM UTC on Thursday 16 May over on www.twitch.tv/FrontierDevelopments for a special audio deep dive livestream with Senior Audio Designer Duncan MacKinnon.
Jeremiah Pena...Isla Pena... Coincidence? I think not!
 
Hey! I saw the livestream yesterday and I was really excited seeing how the sounds for these dinosaurs would be made.

I would often work in video editing and had to rely on making my own sounds for videos, so it was mind blowing seeing how the dev team would build these sounds were similar to the way I build sounds but in a more advanced level. So it inspired me to develop in sound design even more. Thank you all for the experience 😁
 

Steggs

Community Manager
Frontier
Hey! I saw the livestream yesterday and I was really excited seeing how the sounds for these dinosaurs would be made.

I would often work in video editing and had to rely on making my own sounds for videos, so it was mind blowing seeing how the dev team would build these sounds were similar to the way I build sounds but in a more advanced level. So it inspired me to develop in sound design even more. Thank you all for the experience 😁
That's great to hear! Glad you've got a surge of inspiration from it :)
 
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