Why Audio is Pretty Damn Important

For no real reason lately I've had some kind of epiphany about how great game audio really is, that is to say both the soundtrack, foley and feedback audio. So now I have about 17 game soundtracks sitting on my phone, all of them amazing in their own rights. The thing is that feedback audio and bgm, though players don't often realise, are one of the most important assets that a game could have. A game could look bad, and play terribly, but that splat sound you hear when you throw what looks like a banana against a wall still makes you feel awesome when you do it.

Often times I don't notice that kind of sound in games, but I see now that it can make or break everything for me. There's things that I can expect to hear when I walk forward or drive a car into a lightpost, and whether I know it or not, if I don't hear those things somewhere amidst that awesome rock track composed by some cool dude, then I'm going to feel disappointed, no matter how cool it looks.

I learned all of this in the last project that I completed, Tanty, found here, which was intended to focus on player feel and experience. In Tanty, you're able to fling objects around, smash them against walls, smash doors open, and in some cases, these audio assets didn't get into the game, and that was disappointing, both from a Project Manager, Developer, and player point of view. 

When initially passing over what assets we wanted for the game, we wanted unique collision sounds for the many different objects within the game, as hearing a thud as compared to a bump when you throw a computer tower could make all of the difference between positive and negative feedback, particularly for a game that was meant to focus on player story and experience. However, inevitably hoping that all of these sounds will be completed and implemented looked to be severe over-scoping for the amount of time that we had, and had to be cut for simple placeholder sound effects from bfxr,net. 

But we did what we could, and a lot of chair rolling, box dropping and voice cracks later we had some audio that we were somewhat happy with. These sounds replaced the easy placeholder audio for something a little bit more satisfying and less abrasive to hear. Feedback ended up looking much better in later play tests.


Tylah Kapa