Kameleon is a small Flash game that demonstrates a few of the possibilities of adaptive music.

I suggest you just try it out for yourself. Go play it now!
You want some background on the whole concept? Then keep reading...

What is NOT adaptive music?

In many video games, different levels or parts of the game world each have their own background music, and to switch between them, one track simply stops or fades out, and the new track starts playing or fades in. Such a transition happens abruptly and is often easily noticable.

While that music may be providing an excellent, appropriate mood, it's still not much more than "wallpaper" music. Key events may take place during gameplay, but it's not reflected in the music.

What IS adaptive music?

A composer for film often tries to support, or even "underscore" key events in a scene. Because movies are a "linear" format, the composer knows exactly at what point what's happening and they can compose the music accordingly. In an interactive medium like video games, the composer doesn't have this luxury, since they don't know when the player is going to trigger such key events, or move from a safe area into the danger zone.

Adaptive music is a concept that's been growing more popular over the last few years -- mostly in bigger games -- and provides a way for the composer to produce a score that, just like film music, adapts in real-time to the action in the game. This way, rather than distracting the player, the music is capable of enhancing the gaming experience and seamlessly support dramatic developments.

The result is a score that sounds like it is written exactly for the unique gameplay experience of every player. And in a sense, it is.


This small game is a simple application of a few of the possibilities of adaptive music. By no means does it completely cover everything that the power of adaptive music has to offer, but I hope it at least gives you an idea of what it can do. Hope you enjoy!


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