Game Audio Gamification
Increase your immersion and gameplay by gamifying your sound.
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First paragraph of the blog:
In some of my own games we tried to implement a lot of cool audio features, linked a lot of things from the game to the sound design in an attempt to create cool audio moments or, as mentioned in Part 1 of this blog, lighten the load on the graphic saturation. At the same time, we wanted to be careful about not creating a scenario where a hearing player or the player with the sound turned on would have a significant advantage.
EVE Online is a great example from my own work, where we tried to put as much information into the sounds of guns and impacts, which made it possible to listen to a battle and theoretically hear which gun and which ammunition was used, or what type of shield the opponent’s spaceship carried. Basically, we added very direct and current informants using audio; however, all that information could still be accessed by right-clicking the opponent’s ship, or by looking up various forums, forms, plans, Excel sheets, or websites carrying the information.
So, we were not trying to change or replace how information would be relayed to the player outside of audio, we were simply trying to connect our sound design to what was already known by the game. That being said, EVE Online was a really heavy load on the audio engine, so spending 10 voices on one gunshot and one impact because of layering was simply not possible in a 1000 vs. 1000 players PvP battle, especially since they would all fire at the same time. (12)
During the early development of EVE Valkyrie and some of the prototypes we had, audio informants were a great deal of the sounds taken into consideration, especially because EVE Valkyrie is a VR game and we had to attempt to create the most ‘real person’ soundscape possible, which was very different from the ‘first person’ sound design we had done in the past for EVE Online. The sounds signaling where your opponent was or where the action was happening, such as an incoming missile or the direction of that missile, all had to be taken into consideration. We had to think about how each sound would benefit the gameplay or if it actually ruined the gameplay.
Below are a few Wwise screenshots to demonstrate various examples of applying informant audio within your sound design.