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Sounds in Roundrick

by Alex Mars on 08/01/17 10:01:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutras community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

Hi, My name is Alex Mars from sound design studio AK Audio. In this article, I would like to show you an interesting approach I've made for making sounds in the game called Roundrick.

First of all, let me show you a quick clip of the gameplay:

Here I split sounds into 3 categories:

  1. sounds of the gameplay,
  2. sounds of the map city builder,
  3. UI sounds.

To implement all sounds and music we use FMOD Studio. This program helped me implement all sounds without bothering the programmers' team.

Let's start with sounds we hear while we are on the map. Besides the music, we decided to create sounds for objects that you can see on the map. This is a forest level, so in order to make the background music more interesting we created a system with bird sound effects. I have recorded 11 samples of singing birds which fit each other. In FMOD Studio these samples play in random order with a random delay, pitch, volume, and panning. This creates a non linear ambiance of the forest from just 11 short samples. 

There are several background objects which live their own life: waterfall, sawmill, elixir farm and so on. When you scroll closer to any of these objects, the sound gets louder and clearer. 

We paid lots of attention to the sounds of resources.  Because resources are a very important part of the game, we decided to create variational sounds.

Sounds of gold, crystals, wood, and elixir sounds that reflect what happens on the screen. For example, for gold, I recorded the sound of dropping different coins. I recorded the sound of a single coin and a bunch of coins. When resources appear on the screen FMOD plays a random sound of a bunch of coins. But when coins are dropped to the player's wallet I created another simple system. I chose 8 coin samples and when the gold drops into the wallet, FMOD plays a random sample of a coin dropped with pitch and volume variation. This way it sounds like a different sample is played every time. As a result, no matter how much gold you have you'll continue to hear very nice and catchy sound of gold.

I used the same system for other resources. For example, for the elixir, I recorded the sound of perfume bottles. After processing I chose 6 different samples and programmed it like the gold. 

The windmill needs to be fixed in order to advance to the next map of the game. So to help the player figure this out we made the sound of the windmill get louder and clearer when you scroll closer to the mill. This sound is synced to the animation. When the gear is bouncing you can hear the sounds of knocking metal and broken mechanisms.

When you fix the mill the sound changes and it syncs to the moving blade's animation. For this sound, I've recorded whoosh sounds of a moving rope and lowered the pitch.

One more important object in the game is the daily treasure chest. When the chest is ready to be opened, it starts to glow. I created a magic sound which sounds louder when you get closer to the chest.  

Now let's talk about gameplay sounds.

In the main gameplay, most of the sounds are connected to the ball movement. When audio samples play over each other they can sometimes create phase distortions. That's why it's important that we have different sounds. 

For the sound of the bouncing ball, I've made 2 layers: sounds of two balls. Each layer has some variations. At the end, they layer with many different combinations. In each layer, sounds have random pitch and volume modulation. This way we have more variations.

The ball runs faster in the game by a specific algorithm, that's why I needed to change its sound compared to the speed of the ball. If the ball runs faster the sounds are brighter and louder.

A similar system is used on the impact sound when the ball hits the enemy. In this sound, we have 3 layers with different variations. This sound also changes compared to the speed of the ball. 

The sound we hear when we shoot the ball is also quite interesting. The player can shoot very fast, or slowly when finding the direction to start the ball. That's why this sound should follow the behavior. When the ball has been shot, the trigger OnStart is set. That makes FMOD move to the marker Start. When the player cancels the shot, the OnCancel is set and we no longer hear the sound of the shot.

All enemies also have their own variations. Each level contains the same type of enemies with the same type of sounds and variations. After a while, you'll grow tired of hearing the same enemy sounds. 

With FMOD Studio I not only have the possibility to implement sounds with variations but also control the overall mix, loudness. I also set different file size compressions on different events which help to decrease the size of the game. For example, less important mid frequency sounds have more compression to make them a smaller file size. 

You can find more information about AK Audio sound design studio at akaudio.com

Thanks for watching. I'll see you soon.


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