Theme Types

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Any Theme is always classified as one of psai's predefined Theme Types:


1. Basic Mood

2. Basic Mood Alteration

3. Dramatic Event

4. Action

5. Shock

6. Highlight Layer


By assigning a Theme Type you control the basic playback behavior for that Theme. The set of Theme Types represents a predefined hierarchy that model the urgency of playback. E.g. your action adventure game may contain at least one certain theme to be played back during a battle. Whenever the player is attacked, you want this theme to start immediately, thereby interrupting any unobtrusive music that might be playing in the background. To achieve that, just assign type Action Event to your battle music, and Basic Mood to your background theme. These two Theme Types are the most basic ones, and are likely to be sufficient for most scenarios.

For an overview of the mutual interruption behavior of all Theme Types, please see section Table of Theme Types .



1. Basic Mood

The type Basic Mood refers to themes that define the overall vibe and atmosphere for relatively long game situations. A Base Mood could be the general background music for a certain setting, level or area of your game world, or it could refer to a certain character or dialog scene.

Once triggered, a Basic Mood lasts until the next Theme is triggered. When the intensity drops to zero, psai goes into the state of musical rest. It will later wake up with the same BasicMood.


2. Basic Mood Alteration

The Basic Mood Alteration enhances a Basic Mood theme for a relatively short amount of time.

Here's an example: A Basic Mood could be playing while the player explores a forest. As the player passes a special location like a magic tree, this event could be illustrated by playing back a Basic Mood Alteration. Then after a short while, the music changes seamlessly back to the Basic Mood.


3. Dramatic Event

This Theme Type is suited for conversations in which the player obtains important information about the further course of the game. The Dramatic Event always interrupts the Basic Mood or Basic Mood Alteration immediately, but is of lower priority compared to an Action Event. When the Dramatic Event is over, psai returns seamlessly to the Basic Mood that was triggered the last.


4. Action

An Action Themes is a Theme of high priority. It quickly responds to the action of the player and interrupts any of the previously mentioned Theme Types immediately. The intensity of an Action Theme should be set and updated according to the severity of the situation.

Sudden combat sequences are a typical case for Themes of type Action. The intensity of the music can be linked to any variable of the game, such as the player’s health status. To update psai's intensity level, call Trigger Music Theme repeatedly on the Action Theme, thereby passing the new intensity value. A triggering frequency of once per second is sufficient.

Like with every other Theme, once you stop triggering, psai's intensity level will drop to zero within the authored time period (Theme duration).

When the intensity has dropped to zero, psai will continue with the Theme of the highest priority, that has been triggered the last. If no Theme has been triggered, psai will let the music rest for an arbitrary period of time (Rest Mode). When this time has passed, psai will wake up automatically with the last Basic Mood.


5. Shock

The Shock event has the highest priority of all Theme Types and willl interrupt any other Theme immediately. Use Shock for sudden attacks, dramatic turnarounds of the plot, or death of the player.

When the intensity has dropped to zero, psai will continue by playing the Theme of the highest priority that has been triggered most recently. If no Theme has been triggered, psai will go to Rest Mode, (as explained above in the Action Theme).

A Shock generally behaves a any other Theme Type and may consist of an arbitrary number of Start-, Middle- and End-Segments. You may also choose to use a Shock as a rather short independent effect, like an orchestra stab. In this case, set the Theme Duration in the Editor to zero. This will make sure that the Shock will end directly after the first Segment. You still can add any number of Segments to your Shock Theme, for more variety. In this case, make sure that each Segment has the START-suitability assigned.


6. Highlight Layer

A Highlight Layer is a special type of Theme, which does not interrupt the Theme currently playing. Instead, it is played back instantly as an additional layer of sound, much like a sound effect. The difference to a simple sound effect is that your Highlight Layer will always choose a Segment for playback that has been marked to sound harmonical to the Segment that is currently playing. These compatibilities can be defined within the psai Editor.

Use Highlight Layers for situations f battle, or when (s)he accidentally finds a treasure while escaping a dungeon.