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Dev Week 12: Website Building

This week I finished off the remaining sounds that were added to the specification as missing from the game. I then completed some work in Unreal implementing them.

Task Time Spent (hours)
Sound-related tasks Planning suitable design for website. Building from scratch. 4h
Building prototype of website on local XAMPP server 11h
Setup for some integrated services such as MailChimp + embedding correctly in website prototype 4h
Unreal + other tasks Fixing a github branch mixup which pulled very old files into current build 2h
Implementing interactive main menu and pause menu; interact states + sound 3h
24 hours

This week the majority of the work that I completed was on a website prototype for our game. Despite suggestions from my team and other people to use WordPress to do this, I was getting a bit sick of WordPress (case in point: this blog) and so I decided to design and build it from the ground up, using HTML/CSS and a bit of JS running on a local XAMPP Apache server on my machine for now.

I used Visual Studio Code mainly as my IDE whilst building this website as it is flexible and versatile as an editor.

I managed to get the website up to a standard where it looks presentable as a splash page, seen below. Worth noting is that I built this site to be entirely responsive design, meaning it can be viewed correctly on almost any existing mobile, tablet or desktop device.

More work is required, for example I plan to put a drop down menu between the banner section and the text.

You may also notice the subscribe link. Although this is a prototype site, that link is fully functional and puts your name on a MailChimp mailing list that I set up and integrated with this site, which was a bit of a pain; especially to get it formatting correctly.

Apart from that, the other work that I completed this week was rather mind numbing but with a satisfying result. Below is a small snippet of the code required in UE4’s Widget Blueprint Event Graphs to use button events to make interactive menus. This code allowed the buttons to change state on hover, click, release etc. Sounds were also implemented.

Despite not wanting to do it again, the result was rather satisfying as the sounds and reactive buttons make our game’s menus feel more arcade-style. I was also glad to get a nice-looking pause menu background designed by Lexi into the game finally:

It’s such a relief to finally have a fully functional menu system which is also satisfying to use.

Tasks for next week:

  • Finishing off website prototype
  • Looking into domain and hosting options (still haven’t done this!)
  • Implementing fonts and death screens.
  • Recreating the sound work that was lost last week due to the incident with our GitHub.
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Dev Week 11: Remaining Sounds

This week I finished off the remaining sounds that were added to the specification as missing from the game. I then completed some work in Unreal implementing them.

Task Time Spent (hours)
Sound-related tasks Sourcing new base content for set of remaining sounds missing from game. 3h
Mixing list of remaining sounds featured in blog post below. 10h
Tasks in engine Implementing missing sounds in engine. Adjusting balance of in-level sounds, especially in Greed level. 1h
Creating sounds switchers for alternating sounds on the same action. 2h
16 hours

As I have explained a lot about the processes I use to create sounds in previous blog posts, I will keep it simple this time and just import the sounds created below. I ran into some issues with my video editing software this week so instead to showcase the remaining sounds I created a SoundCloud using the team’s Google account, and uploaded the remaining sounds there.

“Pop” sound in the Treachery level when Lucifer transforms:

 

Assortment of new, higher quality pain sounds (linked to sound switcher in engine)

 

Assortment of rock crumbling sounds for more variety in Treachery level (linked to sound switcher in engine)

 

Greater variety of empowered scythe impact sounds (linked to sound switcher in engine). In the Greed level, this layered with the additional teddy hit and death sounds will yield a wide variety of combat sounds.

 

Finally, another type of teddy hit sound (non-squeak) in addition to the current hit squeak and death squeak.  A sound switcher will be created for this.

Tasks for next week:

  • Building a splash page promotional website on local XAMPP server.
  • Looking into domain and hosting options and bringing it up with team.
  • Font, death screen and overall UX work which has been improperly delegated up until now.

Dev Week 10: Finishing off music

Fairly short blog post this week, as I’ve detailed a lot of the processes I’ve used for my sound in music design in previous blog posts. I will aim to just show the fruits of my labour 🙂 Here’s the work breakdown for this week:

Task Time Spent (hours)
Music-related tasks Planning, writing and producing Greed theme to completion 17h
Planning, writing and producing Hellevator level theme to completion 22h
Planning, writing and producing Main Menu theme to completion 9h
Tasks in engine Adjusting balance of various sounds in-game. 2h
Implementing all music in levels and balancing with level sounds. 1h
Sound-related tasks Work completed on sounds in missing asset list 4h
55 hours

The unusally high amount of hours logged is because this is actually 2 weeks’ worth of work; as we had a mid-semester break and our team has not had individual critiques of our work on this game for a fortnight.

So without further ado, here are links to the remaining planned music tracks for the game, which have now all been completed! 🙂


Theme for the Greed level. Since the lead instrument is a music box, it was challenging to find the right balance between variety and the expected repetitiveness, but the end result was fittingly chilling.


“Elevator music” theme for the Hellevator area itself! The coolest thing about this track is that it uses the same melodic idea as Treachery (Lucifer’s theme). [Listen to the Treachery theme here]
Out of all the tracks in Hellevator, this one was the most fun, and I invested a lot of time in this one making sure it was extra polished. 😉


Theme for the Main Menu. This one is a super simple loop. It’s no Dearly Beloved, but I hope it captures the dark fantasy and cutesy elements of the game simultaneously without sounding too much like Runescape, either. ^^”


I also did a tiny bit of work in engine implementing this track as well as adjusting its balance with the rest of the sound profile for the Heresy level. I’ll be able to show another extra sound showcase next week as the culmination of the small amount of work I did on it this week, and the probably large amount next week.

Tasks for next week:

  • Finish and implement sounds in missing asset list
  • Make a plan for creating a web presence with an independent website at the centre
  • Research and make initial steps towards logging transmittable game data in Unreal

Dev Week 9: Heresy Theme (BGM)

I spent nearly all of my time this week completing the background theme for the Heresy level. I also spent a bit of time adjusting its balance with other sounds during gameplay after it was implemented.

Task Time Spent (hours)
Music-related tasks Bulk work on Heresy theme recording MIDI inputs, determining chord progression and how individual melodies interconnect. 12h
Finding the appropriate sound for each instrument through experimenting with VST settings. Mixing, normalising, compressing and exporting Master track. 9h
Tasks in engine + playtesting Implementing Heresy BGM. 0.5h
Adjusting the volume of music and sound balance with other sounds in the game for high, mid and low frequency sounds. 0.5h
22 hours

For the Heresy theme, I was going after designing something fast-paced, horror-themed and sciency, but not too heavy; thus I decided to go fairly light on the percussion, opting for a deep wooden bass sound accompanied by a very fast electric kick which forms the backbone of the song.

After this I started mapping out the individual midi charts for each instrument with a voice in the song.

I prefer to get the melodies into the song first, before determining what kinds of instruments each one is sung by ; I find this an easier design process as normally I compose for solo piano. Naturally the first step in designing the music for this game was creating the melodies on my piano, and then recording them through MIDI input into the DAW before quantising and adjusting velocities.

After that, I spent some time searching for a good set of instruments to harmonise and set the feel of the Heresy level. This took quite some time, but as it is akin to the color scheme of the piece I felt it was necessary to invest time in making sure I was working with the right instruments for this piece.

Even after I had picked my ideal arrangement, I went even further and adjusted different audio components in the virtual interfaces for each instrument that I selected. This also took time, but it was well worth it.

Finally, I applied some reverb and compression on individual instruments followed by the master track. I then exported and reimported into our Unreal Engine project. A SoundCloud link for the final track is also shown below. So far I’ve received comments from the team that it is of a similar feel to Ratchet and Clank style music, which is a huge compliment as I realised afterward that it’s exactly the style I was going for. 🙂

I also did a tiny bit of work in engine implementing this track as well as adjusting its balance with the rest of the sound profile for the Heresy level.

Tasks for next week:

  • Working on Greed background theme to completion.
  • Making a start on the design process for the Main Menu and Hellevator background music.
  • Contributing to a better UX for the main menu.
  • Mixing some more sounds that I feel are currently missing from the game although not in the original specification.

Dev Week 8: BGM First Implementation, Other Mechanics

This week my main focus was getting some music into the game as this had been put off longer that other tasks. I also managed to complete some other tasks in engine as well as assist with playtesting.

Task Time Spent (hours)
Music-related tasks Finish Treachery theme and export for inclusion in game. 10h
Work completed on Heresy theme. 4h
Brainstorming melody, feel and form for main menu theme and Hellevator theme. 1h
Tasks in engine + playtesting Implementing dialogue sound switcher for Big Lucifer and Lil’ Lucifer in Treachery level + implementing completed BGM. 2h
Making Lil’ Lucifer’s speech cut off correctly in Hellevator sequences. Fixed Heresy boss dealing damage to player after death. 0.5h
Implementing reactive health bar in such a way that does not have to be triggered by individual damage events across the game. 2.5h
Adjusting the volume balance of different sounds in Treachery level and for player character. 1h
Assisting with notetaking on player experience during playtesting. 3h
24 hours

Completing the music for the Treachery theme was a long stretch but was fairly straightforward. Although the piano is the main focus of the piece, I layered some eerily distorted, otherworldly choral voices around it along with a simple, muffled kick and hit beat, to give a retro feel to what would otherwise seem like a dark, religious theme. In order to get the sound of the kick and voices right I had to do a fair bit of tweaking different attributes of each sound, but the final result sounds pretty good:

Given the time, I would like to tidy the sound for this track up a bit more in coming weeks. I also worked towards completion of the Heresy theme as well as planning the composition style and feel for the main menu theme and Hellevator theme, which are technically filler but still very important in their own right as they highly contribute to the titular image of the game.

The work that I did in Unreal Engine this week includes:

  • Implementing finished BGM for Treachery
  • Dialogue sound switcher structs (try saying say that 20 times fastfor all dialogue in the Treachery level
  • Fixing speech cutoff in Hellevator sequences
  • Adjusting sound volume balance for Treachery and general actions for the player character

Aside from these, one of the main undertakings of this week was adding code to make the health bar widget reactive to taking damage and also display health state as below:

The good thing about this code is that it is entirely self sufficient; rather than having to add a cue or variable to any other actor blueprints that deal damage to the player character, this completely circumvents that by taking only the current health state of the player character as well as keeping the value from the previous tick for a reference. Then when a change is detected, the code is locked for half a second while the “take damage” red-tinted avatar is displayed, before unlocked. This collapses down to continually checking the fixed state of the player’s health and showing the corresponding avatar of Lil’ Death. A demo of this in gameplay is shown below:

Finally, I sat in on our team’s playtesting session on Monday and assisted with taking notes on player experience which I hope will be useful in addition to the other notes taken.

Tasks for next week:

  • Working on Heresy theme to (hopefully) the point of completion.
  • Record melodies in Ableton for Main Menu and Hellevator themes
  • Complete in-level Lil Lucifer dialogue for other levels apart from Treachery.
  • Implement death overlay animation and fonts if available, other UI tasks
  • Pull other tasks from backlog if time

Dev Week 7: Minor Fixes and BGM revisit

This week consisted of various tasks including mechanic fixes, sound bug fixing and a return to music work.

Task Time Spent (hours)
Implementation of UI elements 3h
Experimentation with dodge roll, trying to achieve balance for fair play 3h
Work done on Greed music theme 6h
Time spent changing the feel of Heresy theme according to completed level 4h
Fixing this week’s sound bugs in Heresy level 4h
Assisting with playtesting on Monday the 4th – general note taking on player experience 3h
23 hours

I was tasked with fixing the speed, distance and stamina cost of the dodge roll. Some of the required changes initially were

  • Enabling the player to do this in directions independent from the camera orientation, however Jack’s changes to the player movement in relation to the camera solved this problem organically.
  • Increasing the speed and distance
  • Disabling the trip by chance mechanic, and instead having the player trip when they do not have enough stamina to roll.

The 1st and 3rd points listed above were fairly simple rearrangement of existing code, however the 2nd took a lot of trial and error to get the speed (measured in delay after the roll action itself) and the magnitude (of the player’s forward launch correct).

The animation was also too slow for what I wanted it to be so I had to jump into the Lil Death dodge animation and speed it up to match the amount of delay that I set.

After feedback from the team that the dodge was now overpowered, I then played with the 3 variables of post-dodge delay, launch magnitude, and animation speed to find a dodge which would be satisfying to use without being overpowered.

Because it was hard to strike this balance, the final suggestion which proved to do the job was to increase the stamina cost of the dodge rather than decrease the effectiveness. This also meant that players would have to rely on the now quick-activated block to manage their stamina effectively while fighting each boss.

Another thing that would be nice to fix in future is the amount of clipping into the ground that Lil’ Death’s dodge animation suffers from, however for now it is not a priority.

As sound bugs were found in the levels this week surfaced (especially Heresy with sound activation in different phases) I also jumped in to fix them. This was also an opportunity in the Heresy level to arrange the sound cues in a way that made more sense, such as:

  • Having the frog babble to warn of a special attack pattern.
  • Saving the frog’s normal pain sound for when it runs into a pool of acid.
    • This was commented on positively in playtesting this week as it made it more obvious that the frog could be damaged after running into a pool of acid (although Lucifer’s dialogue already clearly states it to the player).

Finally, I spent the rest of my time reworking the scores for Heresy to match the finished level, as with Greed. I had not touched music for a while but it has become much more of a priority in recent (later) weeks now that playtester’s feedback is turning towards the emptiness that a lack of music creates in the levels.

Finally, I assisted with note taking for the playtesting session held yesterday (Monday the 4th), taking notes on our playtesters’ general experience with gameplay. Hopefully this can augment the in game mechanics-based observation Alex was conducting, as well as the player behaviour observation done by Bob.

Tasks for next week:

  • Getting my music in some shape or form into the game!! I haven’t had a chance to focus on it for a while, but the goal is to get the bulk melodies out and into the game without too much polish (which does take time).
    • This may take research on how to loop tracks in-game cleanly.
  • Finally implement the sounds for Treachery now that the level has been completed.
  • Muffled dialogue in-level for lil lucifer
  • Interactive UI elements such as
    • Dialogue box display
    • Death overlay animation
    • Health state image for Lil Death’s avatar

Dev Week 6: UI and Minor Fixes

This week I focused on fixing sound bugs and also first stages of implementing the UI elements from graphics that Lexi provided.

Task Time Spent (hours)
Sound-related tasks Diagnosis and fixing of minor sound bugs in Treachery and removing player character sounds with negative feedback in playtesting. 4h
Adding missing sounds and diagnosis/fixing sound bugs in Greed level. 3h
Creating dialogue sound switchers to accompany character dialogue for Lil’ Lucifer and (big) Lucifer. 4h
UI-related tasks Sourcing appropriate fonts to use for the game. 2h
Time spent learning about UMG layouts for UI manipulation. 2h
Modifying resources supplied by Lexi to fit in-game. 1h
Redesign start menu and pause menu with updated UI graphics. 2h
Implementing custom player HUD and starting work on interactive triggers for display (depending on player’s current health). 3h
21 hours

 

I started my work this week with implementing a dialogue switcher for Lucifer’s dialogue sound effects.

This is simply an array of Sound References, one for each of the dialogue sound clips I made for Lucifer. The implementation here was for the Hellevator sequences, so I used his longer collection of vocal sounds that I synthesized. This array was connected to a random integer generator in order to set the sound of an Audio Component in game to a random sound in the array. This audio would then be played; this struct was designed to trigger on activating Lucifer’s dialogue when standing in the Hellevator.

 

Another task for this week was tracking sound bugs in the Heresy and Greed level. The majority of sound bugs that occur in both levels relate to sounds that should only play once looping because they are initiated every tick of the Heresy blueprint. These bugs could be fixed with a well placed “DoOnce” command which resets and allows the sound to be played again after a secondary condition is met. However, it was quite time consuming monitoring the event graph while conducting test runs of the game so as to know where exactly to place the DoOnce commands.

 

Finally, I started putting together the UI graphics that Lexi provided this week and implementing them. This was also after spending some time sourcing potential fonts for use in the game, as well as cutting Lexi’s graphics down to size where necessary so that they would work in the game.

I had to learn a bit about how Widget and UMG layouts in Unreal Engine are put together and what components to use to achieve various effects such as overlays, image backgrounds etc.

Once I had got the hang of this, this week I focused on the Title Menu, Pause Menu and the Player avatar managing the Health and Stamina bars in game. I also started working towards implementing the code to make this interactive (so that I can show different avatars when the player is at different levels of health, etc.)

 

The tasks for next week are as follows:

  • Implementing Treachery sounds when free to do this
  • Upgrade the Dodge roll to be directional and thus work with strafing
  • Lil’ Lucifer’s real time dialogue sounds (matching a new system proposed by the team)
  • Implementing remaining UI elements
  • Other doable tasks from backlog if time.

 

 

Dev Week 5: Sound Implementation and Ambience

As of this week, the sounds for the game have been finished, and raw implementation of sounds in-game is approximately 70% finished.

Task Time Spent (hours)
Sound-related tasks Total time spent implementing sounds for player character. 4h
Total time spent implementing sounds for Greed. 3h
Identifying currently missing sounds in-game 1h
Sourcing royalty-free effects to mix into original sounds for the game. 1h
Mixing remaining auxiliary / missing sounds. 4h
Creating a python script to generate gibberish to suit Lil’ Lucifer. 2h
Sourcing a suitable speech synthesiser, using gibberish text dialogue as input and converting this to (non-emotive) audio dialogue.
Experimentation with pitch and speed; preparing sounds for Audacity import
2h
Mixing Lil’ Lucifer’s voice and splitting all samples into individual dialogue files. 4h
Making showcase video for remaining sounds, including missing, auxiliary and Lucifer’s audio dialogue. 1h
22 hours

A large part of the work this week was sound implementation in the engine. Last week I first touched on this through completion of sounds related to the Heresy boss and level, however this week this line of work expanded into getting the raw sounds in for the player character (essential as Lil’ Death’s base sounds are applicable to all playable levels), as well as the Greed level as the mechanics were complete enough to import sound into before this week’s critique.

Implementing the player mechanics for basic character controls such as jumping was quite straightforward, however when activating and deactivating loops based on a “hold” command, it was found to be easier to make the persistence of the sound depend on the existence of the blocking field object itself.

The successful and failed dodges were also implemented:

And finally, the 3 hit combo for the player character. The left event graph segment bases which slash sound to play on whether or not the player character is being empowered by Lucifer. On the right, the different grunts for the 3 hit combo were added to this segment to complete the attack sound for the player.

Implementation for the Greed level included working on the following:

  • The Greed Baby
  • Normal teddy
  • Stuffing projectile (one-armed) teddy
  • Running charge (headless) teddy
  • Sub-objects such as projectiles, etc.
  • The level blueprint (for sounds related to teddy round/wave flow control)

Despite the wide range of blueprints used in this level, the implementation for these sounds was quite similar to the Heresy boss and thus screenshots have not been included in this blog post.

Apart from this, I spent some time identifying and creating any sounds missing from the game. These only consisted of a few sounds (for teddy actions) in the Greed level, as well as some auxiliary menu sounds which will be implemented in the future.

Along with these sounds, a task that had been in the backlog for a long time that I managed to complete this week was completing the synthesized dialogue from Lil’ Lucifer.  The problems with last week’s dialogue was that it was too verbose, so I started by writing a simple script to generate one-syllable gibberish words in order to avoid Lucifer having an accent like last time.

The next step was to curate these words and split them into chunks of dialogue, before inputting them into a speech synthesizer called Balabolka where I could adjust various aspects such as pitch and speed.

Finally, I mixed these sounds in Audacity to come up with a range of short and long dialogue samples. Some of these, along with the other sounds designed this week, are featured in the video below:

The tasks for next week are as follows:

  • Implementing remaining level sounds (Treachery level)
  • Creating a dialogue switcher for characters with vocal dialogue.
  • Fix bugs in Greed and Heresy related to sound.
  • Tweaking volumes and implementing spatial, 3D sound for the sounds already implemented in Heresy.
  • Start planning other level aesthetic aspects such as lighting / mood

 

 

Dev Week 4: Sound Design and First Sound Implementations

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 Greed boss. 1.5h
Sourcing royalty-free effects to mix into original sounds for the game. Appropriate baby sounds for the Greed boss were particularly challenging to find. 2h
Making showcase video for Greed sounds. 1h
Mixing 11 effect based sounds individually.
Includes experimentation time.
7.5h
Learning about / experimenting with sound implementation best practice in Unreal (different triggers, pitfalls etc.) 6h
Implementing sounds for the Heresy boss in UE4. Can only implement sounds on blueprints that aren’t being modified by other team members. 3h
20 hours

This week I accomplished less than the previous 2 weeks, and the tasks that I wasn’t able to focus on were:

  • Music related tasks, such as scoring the Greed theme and completing mixing for the Treachery and Heresy theme.
    • I had a bit of composer’s block this week, however at the end of the week I managed to record some melodic ideas to flesh out Greed.
  • Finding an alternative (high quality) text to speech generator for Lil’ Lucifer.

However with that said, I didn’t have an unproductive week as I finished the set of sounds for Greed, the last of the 3 levels that our team will be developing as part of this year’s project. This means that all important sounds for the game have been implemented, and from here on only the menu and other auxiliary sounds need to be completed. A (rather large) QA will also need to be undertaken for all the sounds I have created; even I acknowledge myself that I would like to improve the quality and balance of some.

With that said, here is the showcase for the sounds that were created this week:

Apart from this, I spent a lot of time experimenting and attempting to learn the best practice for importing sounds into Unreal Engine. Actually getting the sounds in as uasset files is the simple part, but I found that it’s the way you choose to manipulate them in-game which makes a big difference. This is complicated by the fact that Unreal, in all of its comprehensiveness, offers many possible ways to do this.

Naturally the first approach I took was the simple one; in the Heresy Boss blueprint I would input the sound cues directly as events. However, I found that this was a poor approach as it did not give me very much control over the sounds that I implemented in the game; so in order to take a more object oriented approach, if I wanted to give ownership of a sound to any blueprint I would create a “Audio Component” within the blueprint. This is configurable like a proper object, and allows you to set the sound clip that it holds at any time, as well as being able to change this setting during run time. Audio components’ set sounds can share the sound clip with other similar Audio Components in other blueprints, giving you the ability to integrate a sound with a blueprint in the context of that blueprint. The main advantage of this over hardcoding sound cues into a blueprint’s Event Graph is that it exposes key events related to the playing of the sound, and gives you much more control over how sounds are controlled in Unreal.

One pitfall I ran into with this, however, was that when you bind a sound to an blueprint in such a way, if the actor representing that blueprint in game is destroyed then the sound cuts off even if it hasn’t finished playing. The solution to this, especially for projectiles which only play their sound at the point they are destroyed, was to simply disable the actor by making it hidden while disabling collisions and tick for the object. When the sound is activated as the projectile is destroyed, it is picked up by a custom event (which using an audio component allows you to do) that triggers when the sound is finished. This would give me a code path to destroy the object after the sound had finished playing.

Another time sink this week was trying to use trial and error to time the looping of my sounds to match the walking or other looping animations. Bob showed me a much more efficient way to do this by actually attaching a “notify” flag to the animation itself, which could then be set to play a sound. I am a bit disappointed with myself for not finding a solution this effective, but I suppose it is all part of the journey of developing best practice for sound implementation, similar to how I did the same thing with the sound design process for this game.

 

 

 

 

 

The tasks for next week are as follows:

  • Importing all created sounds
  • Implementing the sounds for the player character.
  • Tweaking volumes and implementing spatial, 3D sound for the sounds already implemented in Heresy.
  • Return to Lil’ Lucifer’s dialogue, make it less pronounced, find best practice generator for raw speech
  • Follow the sound design process of Week 1 and Week 2 to design the remaining auxiliary sounds.
  • Finish mixing Treachery and Heresy themes.
  • Scoring for Greed background music theme.

Next week I will be placing priority on importing Lil’ Death’s sound set, as well as tweaking and implementing spatial sound for the currently implemented sounds in order to achieve a best practice model.

 

 

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.