Wednesday, April 29, 2009

audio nuances

One of the questions I've asked The Saboteur team is whether or not the visual changes of their "Will to Fight" system will be mirrored by changes in audio. Locations heavily occupied by Nazis will be mostly black-and-white, and will be colored more as the Nazi occupation is lifted. I figure this could be accompanied by audio effects, like making the music scratchy (like old records) or distant (reverb, gating) in the black-and-white settings.

Anyway, that general concept of connecting visual events with audio filters can be applicable to many games.

For example, most people have experienced static in radio signals while driving. They know this is due to distance from radio towers or interference. So degrees of static can be used to give the player an impression of entering wilderness, being cut off from civilization, or to suggest looming events... like an alien invasion!

Reverb effects can be connected to events for affective purposes. Suddenly introducing a tight, enclosed audio effect or a cave-like echo while the player is in a wide-open environment, for example, can create tension. Setting audio and video against each other like this can be a useful technique.

Any related ideas?


  1. Nice idea. Sound is, as they say, one of those very important but often neglected aspects of the player experience. I like the ideas for static and reverb that you suggest. They are simple enough that they could even be implemented in a Flash game.

    Another experiment I've done with sound is using glitching (skipping) music. I wonder if you could use glitching sound effects in the way you describe? Maybe only if the game takes place in something like the Matrix. What do you think?

  2. Could you offer an example of how glitching can be used in a game? I think I know what effect you're talking about, but I'm curious how you would use it.

  3. Not sure exactly, but you know how in The Matrix, there would be a deja vu glitch when something in the world is changed by the Agents? You could have a game where the audio starts glitching when something magical happens, where the pattern of glitching contains information about what exactly happened. Just a thought. I think that could be pretty cool.


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