FINISHED 3/3

Indie Game Sound Case Study

I’ll be comparing two 2D indie games which have contrasting sound styles from one another and explaining about their differences and also their use of impression and expression sounds.

Terraria

I’ve chosen Terraria due to its vast difference between biome music and the way it uses Foley and hard effects.

What style of sound is used? (Are the sounds impressionistic, expressive or a mix of both?)

I feel like the game used both impressionistic and expressive. As an example while the character is chopping a tree down you can clearly hear that it’s trying to imitate the noise of wood being hit, although when the player goes to collect the tree trunk the noise of him picking up the trunks sounds to be very expressive sounding like it slides into his pockets with feedback for each one the player picks up.

The music playing while the character is roaming around creating a very calm and pleasant vibe, but through different areas the mood changes depending on the situation. As an example begin underground a mysterious melody plays to give a sense of exploration towards the player.

Why do you think the creators chose this style?

I feel like they chosen this style of music to be different and it also fits the game really well. They done it to create a feeling of different area having a sense of emotion and feeling, creating different moods.  Not only the music creates atmosphere but the actual sounds of the environment create a sense of existence. They’ve chosen it to create a image for them self and make them selves unique.

What effects does this choice of style have?

The style of Terraria gives the player a feeling of exploration and also the mystery of the world. I like how happy the music is but it does change quite often depending on the environment/location you are in.

What production techniques do you think the creators used to generate this sound?

They used a couple which I can tell from the clip I provided such as; hard fx, voice and also Foley. The hard fx was used when the player interacted with the environment such as digging the dirt or walking around, giving the area a feel of being solid. Voice was used to indicate when you take damage which is a audio cue and will notify you when you should start paying attention to what is going on. Foley was used on the things such as an item being picked up which is also the menu effects too, it can be recreated with swiping an item against anther one and it would sound similar.

Why do you think the creators chose these production techniques?

As it was a indie development team they couldn’t spend tons of money on these amazing sounds and also I feel like it was a design choice over anything.

What effects does this choice of production techniques have?

It gives an effect of freedom and even danger depending on the location that you may find yourself in. The music is gentle when nothing is happening but can quickly pick up when a boss appears or even certain in game event happens. Giving the player a uncertainty too.

Explain how these decisions present a creative solution to a problem

I feel like if they went in a different direction, it wouldn’t feel like the same game. Audio is a really big part of these kinds of games as it enforces the area of exploration. If you have Rock music in the background it would just not fit, it wouldn’t encourage exploration in my eyes.

Battleblock Theater

What style of sound is used? (Are the sounds impressionistic, expressive or a mix of both?)

I would also say both for the fact of some of the sound trying to mimic what the real life sound might sound like, for examples the explosions are like a firecracker going off and when the player touches water you can hear the water sounds created. The reason why I would also say expressive would be for the reasons of things such as when the player touches the checkpoint it creates a very angelic sound effect.

Why do you think the creators chose this style?

It suits the game, the game itself is quite silly and comedic and non-realistic sounds only further cement the idea of  a silly and fun game.

What effects does this choice of style have?

With the music I feel like its very upbeat but also a sense of Urgency with some tracks as you are on a time limit. They use vocals quite a lot to imitate what the player might sound like so it gives a personality to them.

What production techniques do you think the creators used to generate this sound?

They definitely used Vocals for sure as every movement or interaction the character does you can hear a clear vocal audio clip. They also used sound-FX and design-FX, I feel like most of these were computer generated. Foley was used but not much, only in some places you’ll find it like a bell ringing or a paper rip at the beginning and ending of each level.

Why do you think the creators chose these production techniques?

I think it was because the style of the game seemed to be quite silly, so using vocal clips of like higher pitches “Woo’s” and “Ha’s” seemed to just enforce that idea more.

What effects does this choice of production techniques have?

Like I’ve mentioned before the game features silly and fun aspects to it. It doesn’t try to be serious and when it does it’s mainly to do with the story. Its a very innocent and friendly game when you play and also listen to it.

Explain how these decisions present a creative solution to a problem

If you were to change the sound of this game it wouldn’t be the same at all, mainly because it wouldn’t feel like this friendly happy game. The music fits the entire game so well using vocal samples which only boosts the concept of silly.


8-bit Sound Dump

We were tasked with recreating the sound to a video sequence only using 8-bit sounds. and the video below is my finished dub only using 8-bit sounds using a program online named BFXR which is a handy and important tool when creating quick sound effects.

We were tasked with selecting a 30 second time frame from anywhere inside of the video clip we were provided, then we placed it into Adobe Premiere Pro which is a video editing program. We muted the clip and proceeded to create the necessary sounds within the clip which would include things such as sword clinks, footsteps and speech.

jump

We used BFXR to create the sounds and mix them if needed. This is great software for indie developers as it is free and can be used by anyone quickly and easily. I made in total 8 Sounds which are the following:

  • speech_low: Used by the bad guy only when speaking.
  • speech_med: Used by both the bad guy and the good guy while speaking.
  • speech_high: Used only by the good guy when speaking.
  • jump: When he proceeds to do a somersault of a little platform down onto the ground.
  • land: When he lands after the somersault.
  • sword_hit: When the sword both clash agaisnt each other.
  • sword_swipe: When he swipes his sword away from him during the clip.
  • footstep: Every time they preform a footstep.

adobe-premier.png

Once we had all of the sounds we moved them into our library in Adobe Premiere Pro, then we placed those sounds into the timeline when those sounds are being used. I made sure at the start of the clip to fade out the fight scene as they’re far away and also to the left of the screen. So what I did was pan the audio slightly toward the left audio channel by like 10%, so it was in the end 60/40.


Reflection on the week

This week we’ve done a lot of thinking about the sounds used within games and also the creation of sound. The research task fit well with the dub as they both focused on the sound within the media and how sound can convey many different things such as emotion or a certain message. I enjoyed this week mainly because I enjoy music and sound overall, I enjoyed to edit too I’ve done it in the past and made me feel like I was doing that again.

 

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