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Post news Report RSS K.I.S.A Devlog 009: Do You Hear What I Hear

I've spent the past few weeks working on K.I.S.A's audio, adding new sounds and modifying old ones. It was a bit of a learning experience for me, as I didn't know much about audio editing beyond the very basics. It was worth it, however, because the new sounds add a lot of immersion to the game and help draw the player in.

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I've spent the past few weeks working on K.I.S.A's audio, adding new sounds and modifying old ones. It was a bit of a learning experience for me, as I didn't know much about audio editing beyond the very basics. My games always had audio, but if I wasn't collaborating with a musician or sound effect designer, it was never my main focus. Now I understand what roughly half of the Audacity audio filters do - which is an accomplishment given how many filters there are, trust me - and have a much better grasp on how important audio can be for immersion.

Music

Luckily, I didn't have to do any editing to the music - that was taken care of by K.I.S.A's composer, Benjamin "Scythuz" Carr. I only had to concern myself with making the music behave dynamically during the game.

One basic dynamic effect is that music tracks fade out and out when they switch, which provides a much smoother transition than an abrupt cut. Another effect is that that when narration is playing, the music volume drops by 50%. This allows the narration to play at a quieter volume, since it doesn't have to compete with the music to be heard. so that the narration can be played at a quieter volume and still be played.

The final music effect is a dynamic battle track - when Kisa is in a fight or being attack, a drum beat will slowly fade in over the main track, to add a sense of excitement and adrenaline to non-boss battles (which have their own separate track).

Narration

I noticed a slight difference between some of the narration recordings - the voice itself was always consistent, but because they were recorded at different times there were slight differences in atmosphere and volume. Experiments with Audacity helped me normalize the volume of the narration sound clips by fiddling with the gain control and splicing together different takes. Any major atmospheric differences between clips of narration should be gone now, which definitely helps with immersion.

Sound Effects

Of the three listed categories, sound effects took most of my focus. Characters, tiles, and objects all now have distinct sounds for their interactions based on the materials that they're made out of.

Each character's footsteps has a distinct sound, and the ones that were already there were replaced with higher quality ones. These footsteps also change based on whether the what sort of surface the character is walking on, and whether the character is barefoot, wearing boots, or wearing shoes.

Items interact with surfaces in a similar manner. Hitting a door with a wooden sword makes a different sound from hitting it with a hammer. Dropping a health potion onto dirt is also different from dropping a health potion onto stone, and both sound different from dropping a key onto either surface. Some items have multiple noises associated with them: the hilt of a knife will make a soft thunk when hitting the ground, followed by a metallic clank when the blade follows. It takes a lot of little sounds to make all of these interactions possible, but it's worth it for the immersion.

Immersion is very important for a game like K.I.S.A, and I'm surprised at how much updating the audio helped pull me into each level. Audio is something that I'll definitely be paying more attention to as I move forward with K.I.S.A, as well as looking for other areas where more immersion might be added.

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