Game Design Updates #04 – Music and SFX
However creative or advanced the medium of videogames is, the reality remains that for the most of us, it relies on only two senses: vision and hearing. I’m here to talk about the latter.
What I find most interesting about soundwork in general is how it manages to be such an effective tool in compensating for the lack of all of your other senses. From the subtlest to the most abrupt and obvious, you can use sounds to trigger almost a tactile feeling in the player, or to better communicate information about their surroundings, or cue music to highlight important bits in a story.
Overstep? Overstep is not subtle. Overstep is fast, and it is bright, and it is loud!
There’s a lot of things happening on the screen at any given time. You’ve got your combo meter, your heatbar, your scoreboard, the location of the most valuable players of both your team and the enemy team! One to protect, and one to hunt down. You’ve got ammo running out of your clip and abilities to keep track of. You need to know if you’ve made that shot or missed, or whether that last hail of bullets that came your way was from behind or from above. And all the while you’re supposed to focus on doing tricks and shooting at the enemy team.
There’s only so much you can consciously keep track of on the screen. Your eyes would have to dart around corner to corner, and constantly checking if that last ability you need is available or if your gun is done reloading.
Luckily, sound effects are here to help!
By assigning appropriate soundcues we can easily relay this information to you, the player, without breaking your stride. Our goal is to make sure you have all the information that you need so that you stay focused on your objective and are able to deliver the best performance you are able to deliver, making the game flow at it’s best, and at it’s worst, a lot less frustrating.
We use a lot of foley art (that’s sound effects that most closely resemble and emulate reality, for those who don’t know), like the sounds the robot makes when it runs; the impacts with the floor; the wooshes when it cuts the air or the armor bending under stress when your robot takes damage, all of this making for a more immersive, dynamic experience.
Last, but not least, the music style is being crafted in such a way that it would fit with the “arenaverse”, providing thrilling beats while also being a caricature of hyper-consumerist culture. We are hoping to develop the music as much as we can, to aid in better fleshing out the universe of Overstep.
Creating all of this is an ongoing, organic process, and it will require lots of tweaking. But our aim is to provide the player with a streamlined, optimized gameplay experience, and we will not stop until we get there!
-Sto, Audio Engineer