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Darkness Revealed Update 38 - How to Create Effective Videogame Audio (Part 2)

Hello, everyone! How's it going?

In our last update, we started talking about how design decisions affect our sound effects' creation. The difference between Game Sounds and Interface Sounds and how important that distinction is from an overall game design point of view. Today we're gonna wrap this first pass through sound effects creation. Let's get going!

Adjusting Tones

As you can tell, sound design has a crucial impact not only in the game world but also in UIs and HUDs. As a first test of audio for our UI, we created SFXs for our pause screen. This task was really important, as it dictates how other interfaces in the game should sound like.

For this screen, we only used four different sound effects:

- One for opening the menu and for confirming an option
- A subtle one for when the player moves between options
- One for going back or canceling an operation
- One for closing the menu.

Notice how the "confirm" effect sounds positive, and the "go back" effect sounds negative? They are almost the same, but the confirmations go from a lower to a higher tone, and the negative is the opposite. This helps the player understand how his action affect the screen he is navigating. The more we can convey without words, the more natural the interaction becomes.

Missing Sounds

Curious fact: it's really difficult to list beforehand all the sounds you will need. As you start implementing sounds in the game, you begin "noticing the silences". Things you haven't foreseen end up needing some sort of audio feedback. You only know it's done when you stop noticing the absence of sounds. Check it out:

On our "Sounds to Make" list, the moray would only have the biting sound. The blowfish would have no sound at all. When we started implementing audio feedback in the game, however, their silence felt wrong. When planning your audio work, make sure to leave some margin for such adjustments.

Another example is the secret passage sound. At first we didn't plan to add sound to that action. But discovering a secret must be satisfying, so a "revealing" sound was in order!

Phew! Quite a lot to talk about audio... Hope you guys enjoyed! In the future, we'll surely make another update focused on this topic. For now, time to move to other areas! Did you like this update? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook, so feel free to say hello. Or, if you want to receive these updates complete and before everyone else, sign up for our Golden Chest

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