Secret sound effects
Hi all. This week I introduce the last new feature that will be included in the next update (which is almost done, by the way), after roads, pubs, lots of new music: sound effects.
I'm that kind of person that often enjoys the 'Making Of' documentary better than the actual movie. One of the things I've learned from watching these things is that the job of the sound designer is to make his work invisible. The best sound effects are the effects that are so natural that you don't notice them. For example, if a character in a 3D-animated movie is walking around, you don't want people to pay attention to the sound of his footsteps; instead, people should believe the characters is actually producing these sounds.
Why LoL isn't boring
Does that mean I shouldn't worry too much about sound effects? To a certain extent, yes. If I don't add sound effects, I can be sure people don't attend to things I don't want them to attend to. But over the last years, I've also learned how incredibly sound effects can be. The most powerful example for me is 'last hitting' in MOBA-games, like League of Legends or Dota2. In these games, to make progress, you should kill as much little creatures as you possibly can. This is a surprisingly dull game mechanic, when you think of it; just do the same thing over and over, and who does it the most often has the biggest chance to win. How come people don't get bored of this - or get less bored than you would expect? I've read quite some articles about exactly this question, and one of the most important things seems to be the sound effect: you do a simple task, you hear a sound (falling coins) that indicates you've done well, and that feels good. Let's do it again.
And when I think of it, I've noticed this in other situations as well. Most noticeably, Olvand's own fishing minigame. It was kind of weird, unclear and not that much fun originally, until I added a sound for when you pull in the fishing line. Suddenly, at least for me, fishing became a fun little activity, it was clear what you was controlling with which button, and it was clear what you were supposed to do. And all that with just a 50ms sound.
Controlling the beast
But the biggest inspiration for Olvand has come from the Simcity GUI: it clicks, bubbles, pops and rattles. Instead of managing some abstract rules, it feels like you're controlling a physical machine, and it's so much fun! As you know, the GUI is pretty large and important in Olvand, so this is a place where I can learn a lot. That's why adding sound effects, mainly to the GUI, has been a mayor focus this update. Here's a short little video of some of the new sound effects:
Note to myself: making a video of system always takes 4-5 times longer than you think. Also, sorry for the bad quality, I don't know what went wrong.