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Split: Sound Effects

Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 4:43 pm
by cim
Moderator: Split from Five of the Best Free Spaceship Games in Outworld, as the discussion has returned to being Oolite-specific

Well, we basically haven't updated them in over ten years apart from format migrations, so they're probably overdue for reworking (and quite possibly expanding, too). Any volunteers?

Re: Five of the Best Free Spaceship Games

Posted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 8:23 am
by spud42
what sound effects are we talking about? what format do you need and how many?

Re: Five of the Best Free Spaceship Games

Posted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:04 am
by Redspear
The original ship launching sound is one that I always keep even when using other soundsets.

Re: Five of the Best Free Spaceship Games

Posted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:22 am
by kanthoney
The general game sound effects. They're in Resources/Binary/Sounds, or on github, and need jazzing up a bit. Or a lot.

If we're really feeling ambitious it would be nice to have engine noises that change pitch on acceleration, but I'm not sure how we'd go about doing that.

Re: Five of the Best Free Spaceship Games

Posted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:59 am
by Disembodied
kanthoney wrote:If we're really feeling ambitious it would be nice to have engine noises that change pitch on acceleration, but I'm not sure how we'd go about doing that.
Definitely (although I'm equally, if not even more, unsure as to how to go about this) - any audio should provide the player with information as well as atmosphere, and variable continuous background sounds would help a lot here. Engine noises could vary in pitch and volume based on acceleration/speed; laser cooling system noises could do the same as laser temperature increases, and so on.

Re: Five of the Best Free Spaceship Games

Posted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 11:26 am
by Wildeblood
Updating existing sounds, i.e. new .ogg files not needing any new events, the top priority should be the buying & selling bells on the market screen. It's been noted on several occasions that many people find them excessively loud compared to other sound effects.

Re: Five of the Best Free Spaceship Games

Posted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 11:38 am
by Smivs
And please have a thought for those of us like me who prefer a quiet cockpit and who don't like excessive sound effects.
The default ones all serve a purpose and are all that are needed and yes, some of them could be improved somewhat.
We don't need any more sounds added to the core game - there are OXPs for people who like that sort of thing.

Re: Split: Sound Effects

Posted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 11:58 am
by another_commander
We're clearly in Oolite discussion territory, so split sound fx to Discussion.

Re: Split: Sound Effects

Posted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 11:59 am
by Cody
Laser sounds are the ones that need improving the most.

Re: Split: Sound Effects

Posted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 5:27 pm
by cim
There are two slightly different areas here:

In common
In terms of the programming side of things in the Oolite core, that's not particularly complicated and I'm happy to work on that as needed. The sound generation is the hard bit and would need a volunteer (or few) to work on this, probably at least over the course of the 1.83/1.84 development cycle.

For the existing sound effects
The current ideal format is ogg, mono (very important to get positional sounds to work), at 44kHz. All of the existing sound effects probably need at least some work to get a coherent sound set together; additionally if you look at customsounds.plist a lot of potentially distinct sounds use the same "beep" and "boop" noises and could perhaps be differentiated a lot more.

My preference would be to avoid speech in the soundset, to keep the core game at least somewhat multi-lingual and easily translatable.

Obviously to be accepted into core all sounds would need to be dual-licensed GPL2+/CC-BY-NC-SA 3+ ... which in practice is a sufficiently unusual licensing combination that the sounds would almost certainly need to be made (or relicensed) specifically for this purpose.

For new sound effects
We upgraded to the OpenAL sound library in the lead up to 1.80 and don't really use any of the features that gives us at all (other than the ability to stream sounds directly out of an OXZ file)

Features that are relatively easily available with some core programming - especially if the use is tied to a specific effect: ability to fade sounds in and out, ability to adjust the pitch of a sound up or down, ability to position the sound in stereo space and to move it around while it's playing. We use positioning a bit - put some headphones on, and compare firing starboard, forward and port lasers, for example - but not particularly much.

Pitch and volume variation of laser, shield, engine, etc. noises with status would be easy to implement though obviously need a lot of fine-tuning. There's also the possibility to allow a bit of randomisation (e.g. have multiple "ship taking damage" sounds that are selected at random on each hit)

Obviously any new sounds would - like the existing ones - be customisable by OXPs to point to different sound files, including "silence".

What new sounds (or sound modification effects) are added is obviously somewhat up for discussion and somewhat dependent on what anyone has time to produce. Currently the convention is that only sounds you'd actually be able to hear from your ship are played (with an arguable exception for the "laser hit" / "laser miss" distinction), but whether that's an intentional decision or simply a consequence of external sounds not really working without stereo-positioning support I don't know.
(For the realism fans - not that Oolite particularly goes for that angle in anything else! - we could require the purchase of a "situational sound simulator" equipment item before external sounds became available)

Re: Split: Sound Effects

Posted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 7:44 pm
by staggerlee
One request for new sounds. Every time an action occurs, it triggers the relevant sound (e.g. a beam laser "zap"). Is it possible to script it so that, instead of playing one set sound, it plays one of a selection of sounds, possibly at random? This way, you can record a bunch of "zap" sounds with slight modulations — this will make the laser fire sound a bit more organic and realistic, or it will make ship launches sound slightly different, perhaps based on the type of station it is launching from (more echoey for large stations — just a suggestion).

Is this possible?

Re: Split: Sound Effects

Posted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 8:59 pm
by ffutures
I can't help wondering how necessary this is; background set and the alternative set already have some fairly good sound effects for most of the common events. And weapons used against you shouldn't make any noise unless you're actually hit IMHO.

Re: Split: Sound Effects

Posted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:13 pm
by staggerlee
I posted a question about random sounds to Cim in PM. As it turns out, I think it's probably appropriate to put it in the thread itself. Here are my and Cim's comments:
staggerlee wrote:I'm an audio guy, but not a programming guy. I'm really interested in the idea of lots of random variations on sounds (like damage hits, as you suggested, and also laser hits). This would make it a more immersive game. Sound is the weak point of oolite at the moment!

I'd be happy to do the legwork to make this happen, but I am not strong on coding. I wouldn't even know where to start. Could I produce an oxp that contained a script that introduced the random element and pointed to new sound files, or is the random element something that would have to be introduced in the openAL thing or in the source code? I really have no idea what I'm doing. I do have html and php and a little js experience, however, so I understand things like arrays and strings and basic coding. I have never done obj-c but I did a little c++ back in the day.

Basically, if you can give me a quick idiot's guide on how to get this project underway, I'd happily record all the sound files.
Cim wrote:Firstly, many thanks for volunteering to help out on this!

Random variation isn't really possible at the moment for core sounds. As far as implementation goes, something like

Code: Select all

"[player-hit-by-weapon]" = "hit.ogg";
becoming

Code: Select all

"[player-hit-by-weapon]" = ("hit1.ogg","hit2.ogg","hit3.ogg");
in customsounds.plist is how I'd envisage it working from that side of things. I'll need to do a bit of work on the audio code in obj-c to get that working, but not a lot and not difficult. For various reasons it probably won't be July that gets done, but August should be doable.

In the meantime a soundset OXP which has just a single sound file for each effect is still at least 19 sounds and probably quite a few more if you de-duplicate the various warning and beep noises a bit. All it needs to work is the sound files and a single customsounds.plist, no further programming necessary. (There are lots of people on the forum who'd be happy to help with OXP packaging issues if you had any)
I've no idea how long it would take to get sound files made (or how much free time you have to spend making them), so how many is practical to add is something you'll need to decide.

You may also want to think about what additional sounds and sound effects - e.g. background engine noise with pitch/volume adjustments for acceleration/deceleration, or splitting the "hit on shields" sound into three or four sub-options depending on remaining shield strength - might be useful. They will - especially with effects - need some core coding, so planning in advance. (This sort of thing is probably best discussed further in the public thread, though)]

Re: Split: Sound Effects

Posted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:33 pm
by staggerlee
OK, if the random sound gets implemented, my first project would be to take the vanilla soundset and create minor variations on each sound. The changes only have to be very subtle. I'd take the standard laser sound, for example, and add high pass to a couple of takes, low pass to a couple. maybe a notch filter to a couple, mild distortion to a couple, a slight phaser to a couple (to simulate the lasers firing very slightly out of sync). A process like that would take me probably 3/4 hour to produce ten variations on a sound.

I would focus on the action events (combat and ship-related), but it would also be good to have variations of the menu sounds (such as buy and sell) to add a bit of flavour.

After that, I might attempt a completely original soundset, but that takes longer.

If there is appetite for a more dramatic overhaul of the sound of the game, here are some other ideas for additional sounds/variations:

1. As a laser heats up and approaches its overheat limit (say 80%), change the laser sound to a more distorted sound. This would give audio feedback on status of weapons as well as the visual overheating display.
2. Different explosions based on size of ship.
3. More variation for types of lasers

Re: Five of the Best Free Spaceship Games

Posted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:13 am
by Layne
Smivs wrote:And please have a thought for those of us like me who prefer a quiet cockpit and who don't like excessive sound effects.
Now, why am I picturing Smivs holed up in a cockpit with a book and a cuppa from his own tea-making OXP, as the ship drifts leisurely between Witchpoint and main station?