Sunday, 11 March 2012

Task 19 Sounds in games

After having a little tinker in UDK, adding sounds to the groups level a few things appeared to me that as a gamer I had often over looked, just a tad. Games are not just a visual experience but also reach out for the other senses also, which studios have been trying to enhance ever more for a good while now, but sound is one that can add just about any mood they are after.

For example, in Team Tambra's group project, I added a sharp piano key at the time an eyeball fell from the ceiling. Ofcourse, eyes dont make piano noises when falling, but the jolt of sound, combined with the visual experiance, and build up from the rest of the level, really adds to the mood we were trying to convey. Not to mention I was trying to work towards a Resident Evil theme, which the use of piano is used through out their games.

When the budget is right, game studios can really go the mile when it comes to sound. Such as the Biowear's Jade Empire, who had a audio team of 6 workers, who recorded traditional chinese instruments to get a ancient chinese feel to their game. When you think about it, going that extra mile works wonders when it comes to game play. If you're playing a ancient chinese game, which has dominant western music, it wont fit the area youre trying to promote.
You could say, what about Omega Force's Dynasty Warriors?

A game set in ancient china, during times of war, surely this game should have a dominantly chinese sound track. Which, it doesnt, that time period didnt have electric guitars, unless im mistaken. So why does it work with this game? Well, there is still a chinese feel, with the occasional chinese instrument spliced in here and there, but the main thing to note the genre of game. Dynasty Warriors is a action beat em' up, which is relitivly fast pased and semi-real time stratagy. Traditional chinese music isnt as up tempo as western music, that upbeat tempo really helps the game move along, appear fast and like a battle is around the courner, if it was traditional chinese, the game would appear alot slower. Dynasty Warriors has a certain theme, now in its 7th series, its had a rock/chinese theme running throughout every one of their games, if the game were to change its sound track now, it wouldnt fit within the feel of the game.

I probably wouldnt enjoy Time Splitters 2's Anaconda, if it were not for its music.
In fact, I'd pay to listen to it.
Which brings me onto my next subject of game sound tracks. The quality of music in games has soared to the point where company's can literally sell their music alone. Now the average fan can enjoy their games, when theyre not even playing, which builds stronger relationships with the game. So not only can a company make dollar from the game they produce, they can also make extra pennies from the sound tracks they create, which ofcourse are cheeper to produce on mass scale.
Just taking a look at Square Einx's sale records, its obvious their fan base is pretty damned loyal. Their music is very iconic of their games, so its obvious why sales are high. Large fan base, iconic music, theres not much else to it.

Sound in games are not only good for the ambiance, genere, immersion and gameplay of a game, but also for the companys wallet.

Medal of Honour audio team
Lord of the rings audio

Interview with Yoko Shimomura
Square Einx's album sale figures

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