Driftmoon sound design


This week we've been working on adding sounds to the game. Mostly we're using sounds available at http://www.freesound.org/, they have plenty of useful free effects available. As opposed to any of my previous games, we're really putting an effort to make the soundscape believable. This means we're using multiple samples for each action, and we're trying to find sounds for most ingame actions. For example we already have over 30 footstep samples whereas the original Notrium had exactly 6.

Another useful addition compared to Notrium is that we're using different buses and different attenuations for different kinds of samples. In practice this means the sounds get bogged down a lot less, because we can dynamically reduce the range of heard footstep. In Notrium you used to hear all of the aliens' footsteps at one go, producing a terrible mass of sounds where you only wished to kill the aliens to quiet them down.

For modders I'm trying to make a lot of things automatic unless otherwise specified. An example, you can drag many objects in the game with your mouse. Dragging a large cupboard produces a lower sound than dragging a chair. I've automated the pitch changing to depend on the mass of the object being dragged, so you don't have to specify a drag sound for each and every different kind of chair you make.

Another helpful feature is that actual sound files are no longer used in any of the game scripts. They're just referenced with cues. For example my script could say playSound("eat") and I would have a cue in my sounds.ini file like this: [eat] soundFiles=crunch.wav, gulp.wav.

Well you may wonder where's the use in that? Simply put, you can now change any of the actual sound files in one place, you don't have to go into a dozen scripts to hunt them down. And you can have some definitions for each sound, like minimum and maximum randomization volume, plus pitch. Not to mention that you can define any number of actual sound files, and the game will choose one to play at random.

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