While there are many non-weapon sound effects to be heard in Cogmind, a majority still belong to gunfire, lasers, explosions, etc.
Like working with particle effects, before creating and assigning them to specific weapons the planned sounds were organized into subgroups according to their properties. Many of these properties were already taken into consideration during the particle assignment phase, but once again required a lot of cross-referencing, especially later when the same considerations would have to be revisited when actually making the sounds.
It’s always a good idea to make lists and set out exactly what you have to do before doing it. Even if it may change at some point along the way, the best way to avoid working into a dead end is to plan.
Similar to the item template creation process, designing/assigning specific sounds also required thinking first about what the biggest, baddest weapons would sound like, then filling in the range between those and weak zippy lasers. Everything should at least approximate a progression from “this isn’t bad” to “I want to fire this thing again and again!”
Of course chosen sounds also had to match their particle effects, both visually and timing-wise. You can’t very well have a fiery-looking particle effect making a zapping laser sound, or a fast rocket that sounds like it’s inching towards the enemy. Again, lots of cross-referencing and comparison.
There are several types of sound effects needed for weapons:
- Shots: Firing guns and cannons (ballistic/thermal/electromagnetic), making up the bulk of the sound effects. Also includes launchers releasing their projectile (grenades, rockets, missiles, etc.).
- Charges: What better way to reflect the power of superweapons than have them spend 500-1200 milliseconds charging up before firing. Usually accompanied by an animation.
- Explosions: Ka-boom!
- As mentioned in the previous post, projectile impact sound mechanics are implemented but won’t be in the final game.
Below is a recording of a battle against 20 robots in the open sandbox. Normal confrontations are much simpler, but this was an easy way to hear more sounds (though note that you still only hear a small subset of the hundreds of weapon-related sfx). You can also occasionally hear a few interface sounds while I’m switching weapons and targeting, but it’s mostly the large number of enemy robots tearing me to pieces. Also, for the recording I was cheating to take all the damage to my souped up core and leave my weapons unharmed, so there is an unusually large number of interface glitch sounds as my core takes damage. (Note: In-game sound effects as heard in this recording are currently played at 22050 Hz.)
You’ll notice that weapons may sound a good bit quieter in some cases. This is because their volume is distance based, and some are being fired from fairly far away. The effect makes more sense when you see it, and is also a good cue when you can’t see what’s going on (like a battle taking place somewhere nearby).
Update 5/15/14: By request I’ve re-recorded the combat with UI sounds disabled, which you can listen to here.
This is the second of a four-part series on the subject of sound effects. The first one gave an overview of sound effects in roguelikes and Cogmind, the next examines the game’s audio engine, and the last looks more specifically at the details of sound design.