Stockholm, Sweden – September 13th, 2016 – Elias Software, the Sweden-based company bringing adaptive music to the forefront of gaming has today announced the release of the much anticipated ELIAS Music Engine and ELIAS Studio version 2.0.
This update promises to be the biggest yet, with an arsenal of new features such as ”Transition Presets” and the inclusion of a mixer; improvements on older tools like the renovated track view and under the hood, the ELIAS Music Engine promises to deliver the same versatile results to the world of mobile gaming thanks to streamlining without sacrificing power.
ELIAS 2 Trailer
In the time since the last update, Elias Software has been busy listening to the feedback of its client base and implementing sought after features, enabling composers and game developers to further kick it up a notch with adaptive music.
Getting to Know ELIAS Studio 2 with Kristofer Eng
”ELIAS 1 was essentially my vision of how to make adaptive game music. With ELIAS 2 we actually complete that vision but not only that. Co-Founder Philip’s ideas have been given a lot more space and most important of all – Your ideas have come to life. Since we strive to be a company that listens and claims to be for composers by composers, this is our top priority. Finally, with the release of ELIAS 2, the journey to the perfect platform for music in games can continue…” – Kristofer Eng, CEO
The first improvements will be immediately visible upon first starting ELIAS Studio 2 – the entire GUI has had an overhaul. With a context sensitive Inspector and customizable layout of windows, users will have everything at their fingertips, especially with the ELIAS Player now always accessible, allowing for a more effective and controlled workflow.
There is now a Stinger level slider which enables a more fine-tuned approach to creating dynamic adaptive music. ”Multi-Themes” make it possible to transition musically between several Themes while level variations offer a new way to follow in game events and narratives with deeper customization thanks to the new segment tool.
Users will be happy to know that ELIAS Studio 2 includes a mixer, giving them the option to create their final mix within the program, plus the ability to modulate and sweep in real-time together with Action Presets. This updated version of the Composer’s Studio also comes complete with a basic reverb tool.
And the enhancements certainly don’t stop there. Within the ELIAS Music Engine, performance has seen a boost. Reading from disk is now much more efficient, meaning that mobile developers can more easily implement adaptive music into their next project.
”ELIAS 2.0 is a complete rewrite of the engine, and is far more modular and extendable than version 1 as we intend to support this version for a long time. We’ve also put a lot of effort into optimizing everything to run well in environments where performance requirements are especially tight.” – Philip Bennefall, Lead Developer
ELIAS Studio 2 Pro is available now at a 30% introductory discount price. ELIAS Studio 1.7 will remain as a free download for a limited time.
Interview with CEO Kristofer Eng, and Lead Developer Philip Bennefall
I had the chance to sit down with Kristofer and Philip and conducted this brief interview:
Designing Music NOW: Tell us about ELIAS 2 in your own words, what was the inspiration for the new version?
Kristofer Eng: Since my original vision wasn’t complete in ELIAS 1, and since we have gotten tremendous feedback since the launch of that version, ELIAS 2 is a quantum leap towards fulfilling that vision. ELIAS 2 is a platform for all of the collective ideas in adaptive game music and is a launchpad to add new features and even third party plugins to be integrated with us. ELIAS 2 is mobile focused and has new features that make it more efficient in terms of CPU and memory usage. Finally, E2 as we call it, allows us to integrate more easily with Unity, Unreal and existing engines such as FMOD, Fabric and WWISE. Of course, our core engine is written in C and can be used standalone or with any existing game engine as well!
Philip Bennefall: From an implementation perspective, ELIAS 1 actually started out as a prototype. We just wanted to try out the concepts and see if they worked as well in practice as they did on paper. We were happy with the results, and we ended up going with the existing codebase – expanding and tweaking things as needed. After a while we realized that the engine would greatly benefit from a rewrite, and ELIAS 2 is the result of that endeavor. I worked hard trying to make ELIAS 2 as modular as possible, so that I can plug new components into the framework down the road without having to rip up fundamental infrastructure. Also I know a lot more about the performance requirements that our clients have, so I had those in mind throughout the entire implementation process.
DMN: What is essential about ELIAS 2 and what makes it different from other solutions?
KE: It is musical. It is made for composers by composers and uses musical terms everywhere when possible.
DMN: Tell us about the most significant features in the new version
KE: To be able to have musical transitions between totally different music (multi-themes) is the biggest new feature in ELIAS 2. The second most exciting new feature is the Mixer. To be able to combine DAW like features with a musical system like ELIAS 2 is very powerful, and the parameters in the mixer, including its plugins, can be controlled by the game! The third most exciting feature is the new Mobile focused features of ELIAS 2 such as the ability to save disk space while at the same time gaining CPU efficiency because of a totally rehauled engine.
DMN: Tell us what the process is like to create this software from concept through delivery
KE: I’m a composer and I approach the design of ELIAS from a very high level . I just try to design what is the perfect musical solution for me then it’s up to Philip and our programmers to make it happen. The minus side of this is that it’s hard for me to estimate how much time things are going to take and we suffered from delays this time. On the plus side we have the only engine/authoring tool out there that is made for composers by composers.
PB: When we made the decision to rewrite ELIAS 2 from scratch, we sat down and planned every feature that we wanted to include in the initial 2.0 release. The idea was to avoid expanding the list of initial requirements mid-crunch, so we had to try to think of everything from the get go. We kept to that, so the planning was significantly easier than for ELIAS 1 where features sort of crept in along the way. The result of this is a much more streamlined API, because I was able to plan how the different components should fit together from a higher level perspective. Then it was just a matter of getting down to the grind, trying to get everything ready on time. It took a lot of late nights and countless cups of coffee, but we got there.
DMN: What can we look forward to in future versions of the software?
KE: ELIAS is a journey and now’s the time to hop on. We will be adding awesome new features all the time and one or two things coming up will actually change how we use music in games totally or in some cases combine the great solutions from the early days with the power of today. We will be able to announce those things when the time is right. Other things that I can talk about are new plugins like compressor/limiter, filters, delay etc. Visual waveforms and other UI features will be released next. One last thing I would like to ensure – We are going to have variable tempi and time signatures soon.
DMN: What is the best feedback you have gotten from composers, audio directors and programmers?
KE: I get great feedback every day from composers everywhere. In ELIAS 2 we integrated all the feedback we received from ELIAS 1. Even though ELIAS 2 just released, the inbox is getting full again! That’s great. Although praise is nice, the requests and suggestions are the best feedback we can get. When it comes to the most positive feedback so far it is from the pioneers at the 90’s working with iMuse, Direct Music and other great adaptive solutions telling me they feel that ELIAS picked up the torch and is bringing adaptive game music to everyone’s attention again. That’s the feedback I’m most proud of and for me there is only adaptive game music since there are no non-adaptive games. Those are called films.
PB: The team at one studio who had an early chance to integrate the new codebase managed to do it in a few days with next to no documentation, as that had not been written at the time. It plugs easily into sound engines such as FMOD, Fabric, and WWISE.
DMN: Although it is a nominal price, tell us about the new fee structure for the Studio.
KE: One problem we have had is that we’ve been a small company trying to change the way adaptive music is made in games. With ELIAS 1.x we felt that the authoring tool should be free since it was just a tool for the engine which was licensed. ELIAS 2 is a monster that is growing. Yes, it’s still the tool for the engine but it can do so much more. I’ve even gotten feedback from film composers using it for film scoring. Others are using it for adaptive music for the stage/theaters and live performances. We plan to invest that money directly back into the tool to continue to add new features!