Today we’re treated to two more posts on sound design—one from Drew Cady and another from James Boer. We’ll start with Drew’s.
The Hidden Complexity of Sound Design
Drew Cady gives us the nerdy details about sound mixing and processing. Not holding back on the technical goodies, he describes how their methods have developed and how they’ve come to master the software.
What we are striving for is a hand-crafted sound using the speed of batch processing. Here are some examples of parallel processing in Guild Wars 2 sound design:
- Charr with dynamic plug-ins: We may lower the pitch 2 semitones, add some bass expansion on the quiet spots, and only distort and amplitude modulate the loud peaks. This makes for a more natural sound because it’s following the voice instead of applying the same parameters across the whole waveform. We also have a lot more control over variance between races and roles.
- Ghosts with dynamic loops: Ghosts are a little different, as we mix other sounds in with the original voice. A pre-delayed impulse reverb is used as well as whisper and moan loops. The looping whisper track is dynamically controlled, peak following the original voice. With this approach, the voice is still legible, but it has a unique, otherworldy feel.
James Boer Talks GW2 Audio Design
James Boer speaks a little broader in this post. He describes how sounds, voice, and music some together into the greater experience of the game. He pays some attention to Jeremy Soule’s music and tells us about how it ties to dynamic events. Yay indeed. And for anyone who might want to listen to something other than Soule’s soundtrack (why?!):
Finally, no matter how fantastic a game’s music is, when you hear the same music for the thousandth time, you start wanting to change things up a bit. Many players will simply turn the game music off and play their own collections. The problem is that an external music player has no context as to what’s going on in-game. Guild Wars 2will offer a solution for this as well. We’re giving players the option of choosing external music playlists that the game’s audio engine will use as a replacement for the default in-game music. Players can choose different playlists for background ambience and battle music, for instance. Additionally, when appropriate, such as during cinematics, the game can revert back to in-game music temporarily to give the best possible cinematic experience, then resume the custom playlist when it’s done.
Sources: http://www.arena.net/blog/the-hidden-complexity-of-sound-design & http://www.arena.net/blog/james-boer-talks-gw2-audio-design