Music in the Creatures series of games started out in Creatures as a variety of synthesized chimes, chords, bloops and other non-specific ambient sounds, simply combined together into audio files (MU01.WAV to MU28.WAV in the Sounds folder on Windows) and played at certain points in the game or as certain applets were opened.
The Creatures music was created on a Roland JV-1080 synthesizer by Andrew Barnabas, who also made an album of computer music called Shades whle in the Cyberlife music studio - one track of this (now available for download on the Creatures Wiki) was called Creatures Montage, and contained music from the game's introductory movie. See also Andrew's wiki page, and the Bob and Barn home page.
For Creatures 2, a far more capable dynamic music system was created—MNG—and this system was also used in Creatures 3 and Docking Station. You can read about MNG files, which changed depending on factors such as location and the mood of creatures.
Creatures Adventures, Creatures Playground and Amazing Virtual Sea-Monkeys used non-dynamic MIDI music instead, which was far easier (and hence cheaper) to produce than using the complex MNG system.
Both Creatures and Creatures - Raised in Space on the Sony Playstation and Gameboy Advance simply used wave recordings for their music. Both games share the same soundtrack, most likely due to budget restrictions, and it is unknown who was responsible for composing the music, although given the nature of the games it is indeed possible that the tracks are probably royalty free and were not composed particularly for the games. Some songs are available on YouTube.
Editing and Playing Creatures Music
For games which use the MNG format, two tools are designed to edit the music, MNGPlayer and MNGPad - MNGPlayer lets you play music in the background (or foreground), while MNGPad allows you to edit existing MNG files and create your own. You will probably want to read the first part of MNG file format to see how the scripts work, although a tutorial is included with the programs.
The music of other games can be manipulated using normal audio or music editors.
Hidden within the audio directory of Creatures 2, an amusing musical track entitled 'DJ_G' is to be found, consisting of a Grendel repeatedly hitting a Norn to the sound of a techno remix of some of the sounds from the game. Upon the release of Creatures 3 a similar track was found in there. These may have been made by Mark Ashton. See also Defiant Doosers.
Docking Station events music
Admittedly, Docking Station's birth and death music was rather lacking - for the sake of size the Hub uses the same music as death (and it is annoying after a while) - the birth music was original, but not terribly good either. Gryph provides a tutorial to make Docking Station use Creatures 3's birth music instead:
- Copy ../Creatures 3/Sounds/Events.mng to your ../Docking Station/Sounds folder
- Open ../Docking Station/Bootstrap/010 Docking Station/DS life events factory - PHOTOGRAPHS THE DEAD.cos. You may want to make a backup first, but you'll only be changing a couple of lines
- Scroll down until you see the comment '* music'
*music doif va00 = 3 strk 30 "ds_music.mng\\TremeloBleep" elif va00 = 7 strk 20 "ds_music.mng\\MetallicChords"
*music doif va00 = 3 strk 30 "Events.mng\\Birth" elif va00 = 7 strk 20 "Events.mng\\Death"
Now, create a new world and Creatures 3's music should play upon birth and death events.
Editing the near death music is similar:
- Open ../Docking Station/Bootstrap/010 Docking Station/!DS_game variables.cos after doing step 1 of the previous process.
* track for near death sets game "engine_near_death_track_name" "ds_music.mng\\MetallicChords"
* track for near death sets game "engine_near_death_track_name" "events.mng\\NearDeath"
After this, create a new world and the C3 Near Death music should play whenever the situation arises.
If you're looking for musical objects, try Instrument.