Dev Week 3: Sound Design pt. 2

In the past week, this time around I completed a set of sounds for the Heresy level following a similar process to last week’s effect-based sounds. In addition to this, I also finished scoring the Treachery and Heresy themes, as well as started mixing the sound balances for each of the tracks.

The work breakdown for the week was as follows:

Task Time Spent (hours)
Sound-related tasks Planning what kinds of noise should be expected of each sound for the Heresy boss. 0.5h
Sourcing royalty-free effects to mix into original sounds for the game. 1h
Research techniques in Audacity for more complex sound manipulation. High/low pass filter, partial frequency drop, and waveform shaping. 2h
Mixing 11 effect based sounds individually.
Includes experimentation time.
7h
Playing with animalese.js for a rescripting of Lil’ Lucifer’s dialogue sounds. Experiment with making dialogue less pronounced. 1.5h
Documenting processes for mixing sounds and listing sources in spreadsheet. 1h
Making showcase video. 1h
Music-related tasks Finish scoring Treachery and Heresy themes in Ableton Live. 4h
EQ and mixing for Treachery theme. 2h
Brainstorming melody, feel and form for Greed theme. 1h
21 hours

Last week, I learned the hard way that if a plan is made for the ambience of each level before sourcing effects and mixing the sounds, it greatly increases the efficiency of the mixing process itself. Despite not doing this last week, I followed the principle this week and the process had the following benefits:

  • Streamlining and increasing the speed of mixing and experimentation in Audacity, with a tangible goal in mind.
  • Knowing what the sound should sound close to when finished reduces the trial and error when sourcing new effects.
  • Having a strongly-defined set of notes for the ambience of each sound helps with designing the other aspects of level ambience later on (such as lighting, etc.)

Apart from this, during the mixing process itself in order to improve my versatility, I spent some time this week learning more advanced features of Audacity, such as:

  • Noise isolation using high and low pass filters
  • Waveform shaping to provide more flexibility with changing the amplitude at certain parts of a sound, bringing out more subtle qualities while reducing excessive other noise
  • Partial frequency drop at the start of a sound, to provide heavier impacts if the effect requires one.

Probably the most interesting of these was experimenting with a partial frequency drop, shown in the following example:

Step 1: Working on the shockwave impact with player sound, select the light “whoosh” sample leading into the louder, explosive impact sample.

 

 

 

Step 2: Change the speed (affecting tempo and pitch) by a sizable negative amount, to provide a more distinct, juxtaposed transition into the higher-pitched, louder impact sound.

 

 

 

Result: The sound has now been transformed to use a lower frequency whoosh to accentuate the sound of the impact.

 

 

The shockwave impact sound mentioned above, included in a 2nd compilation of all the other sounds created this week for the Heresy level can be viewed in the video below:

 

Apart from this, the other tasks this week related to music production in Ableton Live, something which has been on the backburner for a while. This week I finished scoring all the MIDI parts for the Treachery and Heresy background music.

Currently I am working on balancing the EQ of the different tracks, as well as creating a slight delay between instruments, in order to create an effect called musical “glue”. The goal of this is generate the illusion that the viewer is placed in the middle of the music, rather than “viewing” it from an outside perspective. This is crucial for player immersion in the game, otherwise the background music may sound out of place while playing the game.

Finally, I have brainstormed the ideal feel and structure for the Greed theme this week, so hopefully next week I can get to scoring some of it. In addition to this, some of the other tasks for next week are as follows:

  • Importing and testing the sounds created so far in Unreal Engine (in my own Git Branch)
  • Implementing the sounds for the player character and complete Heresy level
  • Return to Lil’ Lucifer’s dialogue, make it less pronounced, find best practice generator for raw speech
    • Mix raw speech once complete.
  • Follow the sound design process of Week 1 and Week 2 to design the full sound set for the Greed level
  • Finish mixing Treachery and Heresy themes.
  • Commence scoring for Greed background music theme.

Probably the most important 2 task groups for next week involve completing the Greed sounds and implementing the player character and Heresy sounds in the game, ready to be included in the build for next week. As such, this week I will be placing priority on these.

 

 

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