Sound Design

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Sound Design

Sound design is probably a huge thing for a game simulating a space ship in such detail and I feel a lot of it will have to be communicated to the player via sound design as well. From heavier breathing as O2 in the surrounding atmosphere goes away to more muffled sounds as an atmosphere depletes or even just the sound of a flickering light. A lot can be done to push the user towards understanding their surroundings without being actually told directly. Or the sounds can be unusual and make the player check the systems based on that feedback.

I hope that sound design can be used to good effect in the game. A good soundtrack will do well, but I think ambient noise will play a much larger role in this.

I agree that sound design is a big part of the immersion factor. And I want this to be a strong suit in the game. There's a lot of cool stuff I can do in this environment, as you point out.

One thing I had trouble finding, though, was what acoustic effects we experience in low pressure. Does apparent frequency change as pressure drops? Volume? Reverb?

I'd expect some or all of the above, but whenever I search, I get swamped in articles about the basics of sound pressure and waves instead of relevant barometric effects on our perception.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

I have not much scientific knowledge about pressure versus sound effects and how a human would perceive it, but theoretically, since air just transmits vibrations into the ear drums, if the medium was denser, then more energy would be transmitted to the ear and the effect would be louder. So a vacuum would muffle sounds around you, except those that can travel to you directly via other mediums, as in through the ground into the suit you are standing in. And if you are in a high density atmosphere and have no helmet on, then your ear would hear more (and probably hurt from the excess pressure).

Frequency I have no clue, it might make the sound more crisp, if it can propagate into the medium with enough energy? Because if there is barely anything around, your ear will probably have trouble picking it up and if there is a lot, it could trigger a response more easily (if your ear doesn't get damaged or start hurting from the excess pressure in the first place).

I think a main attraction could be a constant loop of your character breathing, if the situation is different from ideal, to give the player constant feedback about ever changing environments. Even if the game is not completely real time, having the aspect of real time feedback through a breathing cycle could give a lot of feedback to the player in the situation he finds himself in (gasping for air, coughing, wheezing, varying nose sounds depending on moisture, holding your breath).

Edit: Changed first sentence.

That's the conclusion I arrived at, too. Probably volume proportional to pressure.

As for frequency, I sort of wondered whether lower air density would mean a frequency cut-off. Would the larger mean distance between air molecules would make it harder for certain frequencies to transmit?

In any case, yes, I hope for the aural experience to be as rich as the visual!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Do you have plans for an OST for Ostranauts the same way you did for NeoScavenger? The soundtrack for your first game was really enjoyable, and having distinct music really helped to set the mood and atmosphere for the game. It really helped to make it 'feel' like it's own game.

Definitely! Josh Culler has returned to do the OST in this game, and I want to use it in the game similarly to what I did in NEO Scavenger.

I haven't setup the code to play music yet, so I'm not sure what folder the music will be in or anything. But Josh has already composed about an hour's worth of music!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games