This week I will start research on sound effects for the game. My tasks are as follows:
- How they can be used in games.
- Other games and how they have been used in there.
- What could influence the sound within a game?
- Forests/Mossy areas and the sounds associated
- Children’s voice
- How sound effects can be made for games e.g. foley artistry, using stock sound.
- Think of every possible noise in the game e.g. jumping onto a log or rock.
- Read through Syl’s noise essay.
How Sound Effects Can Be Used In Games
As a complete novice to sound effects in games I think that sound effects can be used to create immersion, atmosphere, tension and generally make the game more enjoyable to play. It also helps you understand whats happening within a game and what the surroundings are made of. For example if you hear a growl in the distance you might wonder if it’s an enemy that you are going to face soon and it creates tension, or if the level is very dark and you can’t see what the character is standing on, the sound of the footsteps will help you determine what material you’re standing on. You can create immersion in games by making realistic sound effects to draw you in and add to the atmosphere, sounds are very important in gaming and can change the whole mood of a game. If a game were to have a series of twinkles and happy sounding chords instead of realistic footsteps and rain it would make the game happier and a little surreal.
Sound effects can also be used as sounds of success and failure, like passing a level on an older game might get you a happy like tune and failing would get you a sad one. The same can be used for gaining new equipment, like in the Legend of Zelda games, getting a new weapon would result in a nice little exciting tune.
Sound effects can be influenced by many things in the game world, most will be caused by the protagonist moving about and interacting with the world, for example they might kick a rock which could roll down a hill and crash into a tree at the bottom creating lots of noise. However some sound will be happening regardless of whether or not the character is nearby, maybe a noise like a horn or pulse on a timer that would go off every minute or so. Other NPCs can also trigger sound effects.
Other Games – Inside
Inside, by Playdead, is an excellent example of good sound effects, every small movement is realistic and can be heard with ease, due to all of these sounds and very little music an eerie ambience is achieved. Inside is a dark game about a young boy in a dystopian future on a seemingly unknown quest, he has to evade many different deaths like men with guns, dogs and even falling, he has to solve puzzles and continue on in a line to his goal.
To make the sounds seem realistic, layers upon layers of different sounds were added on top of each other, for example, to make the young boy sound perfect they have lots of layers like clothing rustling, breathing and footsteps. These sound effects would also change depending on the situation, e.g. if the boy was running his breathing would get heavier and maybe let out a small whimper if he’s being chased, whereas if the boy is standing still his breathing is quieter and gentle. On top of all the noises in games, except breathing, if the boy is underwater everything is muffled and quieter.
The death of the boy can also provide some interesting but cringy sounds, for example, if the boy falls from a great distance you can hear a crunch as he ragdolls against the ground, or my favourite, hearing the crunching and whimpering as the boy is mauled by a dog.
Notable sounds within the game:
- Foot steps in water
- Heavy Breathing
- Dogs barking (sense of peril)
Fun Tidbit: The music for Inside was enhanced by playing it through a human skull.
Other Games – Bioshock 1 & 2
Bioshock is a game with a huge range of sound effects, most are creepy and eery with the occasional calm moment mixed in. These games are set in a massive underwater city way past its day, most of the residents are dead or mutated and insane and the city is falling apart often leading to underwater scenes. The first game is about a man caught in a plane wreck and pulled into the cause of a citizen and the second game is about one of the mutant creatures trying to find his “daughter”.
First notable sound effect in the game is one that you hear all the way through, the
footsteps, Bioshock one has the usual sound for footsteps within a game as you can here them change their sound depending on what you’re standing on, for example wood sounds different from water. However, in Bioshock 2 you play a mutated person in a massive metal diving suit so your footsteps are louder and actually sound like a very heavy object is hitting the ground.
Next are the NPC’s, in this game the enemy characters are raving lunatics that are aware their world is crumbling around them, this means they are constantly fighting amongst themselves and talking to themselves, the Splicers. Because of this you can usually hear them a mile off which gives you plenty of warning for what types of enemies are in the next room and how many of them are there, this also adds some background stories into the game and shows the struggle of the previous citizens of the city. This is also the same for the massive creatures who are considered mini bosses, The Big Daddy’s, you can hear these creatures a mile off with their whale like groaning noises and heavy footsteps, this is important because defeating these creatures provides you with the means to increase you’re abilities and powers. In the second game you play one of these creatures.
As the game is set in a decaying underwater city, water is an important part of the sound design. Water is constantly present, dripping through the ceilings or pouring through cracks, creating plenty of background noise to set the scene, it also provides an alternative for your footsteps as you wade through pools of water. In the second game, if there’s a small waterfall or water pouring through the ceiling you can stand under it and hear the water hitting the metal of your helmet which is a nice, immersive effect. In some scenes you are completely submerged under water, every sound is dimmed almost so you can’t hear it so these levels are very quiet, all but your breathing which can be herd constantly and your light footsteps.
Appropriate Noises For The Game
In this game, all of the sounds will be associated with Forests, Woodlands and Marshes.
In the background there will be quite a lot of different noises including but not limited to:
- Bug sounds
- Rustling leaves (dead leaves on the dirty ground)
- Animal noises (foxes, wolf, general creepy stuff)
- Breaking twigs
- General undergrowth disturbance
- Falling trees?
- Wind chimes (wooden or metal)
Able herself will need movement sounds:
- Footsteps (Logs, grass, stone, wooden bridge, leaves, soil, mud, moss)
- Falling and landing (same as above)
- Kicking (Wooden fence, tree, stone, rocks)
- Kicked stones hitting the ground (wood, earth/grass, stone)
- Boulder falling into ditch
- Kicking dandelion (puff/poof noise)
- Breaking branches/twigs
In the game we will have 2 NPCs, one is the Big Bad Woof and the other is a small lost child who has suffered a similar fate to Able. This child will offer a small cryptic warning and Able will be able to give them a flower, not much interaction at all.
The child will have a very synthesised voice. From our discussions so far we have figured out that it might sound something like someone saying a sentence, then reversed and electronically altered.
Finding Sound Effects
In order to find sound effects I have two options, use stock sounds online or record them myself. The first option is pretty straight forward, I can search for different sound effects on various sites but for originality I will attempt to record my own before resorting to stock sound.
I have found a few useful websites just in case I need them
The second option will include some field work, I can rent some kind of sound recorder from my Uni and head over to the nearby Moor to get the sound personally.
- Tom, continue as before, researching sound and start recording.
- Sam, finalise UI
- James, coding stuff and what not
- Rhys and Syl continued on what they’re doing