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jefferytitan

Dynamic sound effects

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Hi all,

I'm part of a team that recently released a game on Steam. Personally I wasn't quite happy with the variety of the sound effects. Watching Let's Plays of our game it became painfully obvious how often the same sound effects repeated, e.g. creature sounds and weapons despite having a few variations of each and using simple pitch shifting.

Has anyone used techniques or assets to increase variation? For example I could imagine breaking a gunshot into different phases (e.g. click, shot, shell ejection, decay) and vary the individual samples/pitches/timing. Creature sounds seems more complex though because I can't see obvious segments, although I have heard that in movies they often compose creature sound effects from a variety of sources layered and transformed separately.

 

Personally I work in Unity, but I'm open to hearing about general techniques that you've used with other systems.

Any advice appreciated,
JT

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Hi,

 

Breaking down gunshots is what I always do if possible. Body, sub, mechanical, tail, shells etc. I've used mostly Wwise as a middleware and it's easy to get multiple different sounds when every layer has as at least 3-6 different sounds and they go to their own random container. And then you can randomize the timings, pitch and high-pass filter of every layer.

 

I think it's doable in Unity as well with the same principles in mind :)

 

Maybe monster sounds could be done with different layers also but it needs a bit more careful approach. Maybe you could have at least two layers: the main monster sound and something to blend under it. Both can then have multiple variations. Of course depending on the monster you can have more layers like scream, gargle, growl, breathing and a main definitive monster layer.

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Thanks Kasu! Just out of interest, did you have trouble finding the individual sounds, or did you foley them yourself somehow? Also what sort of things would you tweak with hi/lo pass filters?

 

I've lost the link, but I read an interesting article about creating creature sounds from a simple human voice. Creating a whole bunch of layers, e.g. pitch-shifted, reverse-reverbed, vocodered, etc, then combining them. It sounds quite promising, although with creature noises because they're much longer (and may in fact be continuous) it seems like it would be harder to hide the repetition of the time signature. I'd think you'd need a way to piece different length segments together almost like a dynamic music system.

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I actually recorded the guns myself and then just picked the stuff I needed from different mics. I had about 12 mics recording the shootings: Stereo pairs 5m back and front, AB pairs 15m and 30m back fanning about 45 degrees, sides 5m, feet and hand. Some gave me the mechanical stuff, some the boomier body and some the tails. Subs you can add from anything and a drumkick is a nice transient attack.

 

Of course you can get away without recording. Just grab your stuff from different gun sounds and try to get the best out of them.

 

Hi/lo filtering I just randomize a bit in Wwise.

 

Would be really nice to try the stuff with creature sounds :)

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One technique I used in my older title Square Shooter was to have several different pew-pew sounds for the game's only weapon, and select among them randomly every time a bullet is fired. Another technique I used in Attack Vector was to have a rich sound landscape, so that a lot of sounds overlap all the time, making it less obvious there's just a few of them. Neither is perfect. Both help. And it's a lot easier than making actual dynamic sounds.

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Edited by Emily185

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All the techniques you describe are pretty bread-and-butter game audio techniques and are well-handled by tools like FMOD or Wwise.

 

You can do much of it in unity, but it will be quite a bit more work, since you're have to hand-code up what's in essence a (very simplified) FMOD/Wwise type engine.

 

If your games development budget is small, those tools are very low cost (or free) and would likely save you several programmer-days worth of work.

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