The patent, which was first discovered by eXputer over the weekend, focuses on “dynamically generating and modulating music based on gaming events, player profiles, and/or player reactions.” One part of the system would use machine learning algorithms to gather the information upon which each soundtrack would be based. This information would then feed into another component, called the dynamic music generation module, which would be responsible for producing music specifically for the player in question.
Activision’s patent says the factors involved in customization would include a player’s profile, performance, and play patterns, meaning it’s likely that an experienced player with quick, calculated movements and a long history of playing a particular franchise would receive a different soundtrack from a newbie who takes a bit more time to reach certain milestones. Event data (AKA context) would also be considered, which makes sense because an essential character’s tragic death deserves a starkly different ambience than a joyful reunion or major victory.
The generated music would even be designed to “boost the player’s performance.” A carefully calculated, quick-paced soundtrack could help a player better time their strikes against a difficult boss, while calmer music might improve a player’s ability to locate the last clue they need to solve a puzzle. Based on a chart attached to the patent, Activision would achieve this by overlapping one of eight emotional states with different levels of intensity, timbre, pitch, and rhythm.
“While many features of video games have become highly customizable, musical elements tend to be standardized across all players. For example, a player can customize the aesthetic look of his or her avatar or customize team members in a multiplayer game but, conventionally, is not able to customize musical elements for different gaming events,” the patent reads. “Music and audio are another area of video game features that may be highly customizable in an automated and personalized fashion so that each individual player has a unique experience.”
There’s no question that music makes or breaks the level of immersion experienced during gameplay. Given that Activision plans to take each scene’s intended mood into account, players might indeed benefit from an ever-changing soundtrack. That said, companies often patent technologies that end up never seeing the light of day, so don’t expect your own custom score anytime soon.