Sound effects have been on my mind lately. I’ve contracted a local sfx studio to design and create the sounds for the beta release. Currently all the sfx in the game have been rough ones that I’ve been collecting primarily from http://www.freesound.org/ (those with the Creative Commons by Attribution license). It took some time to collect and master those, and they have done the job for a long time. However, they differ in quality and mastering and only make up half or less of all the sfx needed for Moonman.
Some of the main categories of sounds in the game are:
- Block destruction and placement
- Weapon hit against material
- Object and items
- Misc effects
- Ambient and environmental effects
The primary action in the game is to hit things, and so the weapon hits are the largest category. Let’s take a closer look at part of the Weapon vs Material sound matrix I’ve constructed to help organise the sounds:
The first 3 columns describe the kind of weapon a player may have. For instance a gold sword has the “metal” and “slash” type. An iron sword will be in the same type and so those two weapons sound identical. An axe, on the other hand, is a “metal” and “chop” type, so will sound different.
The second row lists different types of materials:
- generic (a fallback type for any material not of the other types)
- soil / moss
- clay / dried mud
- wood wall
- wood thin (e.g., a ladder)
- crumbly stone (e.g., granite)
- many more not shown
Each cell in the matrix has two parts separated by a slash. The first part is the sound of a successful hit, and the second is the sound of a failed hit. An “x” in a part indicates that we need a sound effect there. For example, look at the cell in row “metal dig” and column “soil”, it has two parts: “x” and “-”. The first “x” means we need to create a sound of a metal shovel successfully digging into soil. The second character, the “-”, just means to fallback to the generic metal row if the action fails (for instance if the shovel is too weak to dig through soil).
Sometimes a cell will refer to another cell, e.g., “metal chop sand success” will use the “metal dig sand success” sound. The “<” indicates to copy the sound to the left of the cell.
The challenge here is to determine the minimum set of sound effects that will work for the beta release. It’s a tough balance between having a nice variety of sounds while keeping within my budget. Most of the yellow cells in the matrix above will be made into sound effects.
I now have a list of about 200 sound effects which I hope can make it into the beta, though it’s a big ask with the limited time we have. If they don’t make it into the beta then we’ll slowly add them over the coming year, leading up to the final release. The entire list is in a large spreadsheet grouped by category. Here’s some of the medium creatures category (the ‘x’ indicates the sounds I hope to have made):
Until next time!