Game Design Game Development Geek / Technical

Freshly Squeezed Progress Report – Let’s Make Some Noise!

In last week’s sprint report I managed to do a bunch of unplanned work and fixed a number of defects I had introduced in previous sprints for Toy Factory Fixer.

This time, I finally started addressing the audio for the game.

Sprint 19: Make publishable

Planned and Completed:

  • Nothing…

Not completed:

  • Create sound effects

Not started:

  • Create multiple levels
  • Create loading screen background
  • Award player based on performance

This past week was not nearly as productive as the one before. I did, however, manage to make the game come alive by adding sound effects and, as a last minute decision, some music.

I am not an audio person. Many of my past projects have used the awesome tool by DrPetter called sfxer, which allows me to generate sound effects for various common game-y events such as picking up items, attacking/hitting, etc. The effects tend to sound like they are made for a video game console from the 8-bit or 16-bit era.

But for a less stereotypical video game sound, I decided to look through the various audio libraries I’ve managed to get access to. Whether through a Humble Bundle or bundle purchase, or finding libraries that were freely given away (such as these hundreds of gigabytes of sounds from Sonniss), I have a LOT of royalty-free licenses already on my hard drive.

I’ve used SoundRangers and have been happy with their paid sound effects for other projects, and I might still use them for this one, but I found I was able to get some high-quality audio from my existing libraries.

I added sound effects for clicking buttons, including a separate effect for choosing an option as opposed to confirming a selection. There are effects for dispensing toys and earning money. I still need to add sounds for workers doing work, so I’m checking into some fabric tearing sound effects. I have some voice effects that I can also see using whenever you select a worker.

Now I wasn’t planning on adding music, but between the toy dispensing sound effect getting tedious and discovering I had some decent music in my collection, I quickly threw something in, and I found that it worked pretty well. If you are curious, the music is called “In a Hurry” and comes from a Puzzle Audio Kit by Evil Mind Entertainment that I got as part of the Humble Sound Effects and Music for Games, Films, and Content Creators Bundle.

Now obviously a custom and unique audioscape created by an expert would make for a better experience. The downside is that it would cost some serious money, and as this game is going to be given away for free, I’d rather save that effort/expense for a premium offering in the future, and I’ll risk my game sounding like another game. I remember that Starcraft used sound effects that I know I’ve since heard in movies.

For now, though, my humble efforts managed to make this game feel like it has leapt forward in terms of being ready for a wide release.

You can hear it for yourself in this video:

I wanted to take a cue from the game Dig Dug, in which music only plays when you are taking action. So the music mutes when you stop the conveyor belt and unmutes when you start it.

But I got some great feedback already about raising/lowering the volume instead, so as to make it seem like the action is still happening. And I like it, so I think I’ll make that change.

Part of the reason I wanted to add audio now is that the game is about ready to be playtested by actual testers. It’s probably been ready for playtesters for months, but as I’ve said before, I’ve a very, very part-time indie game developer, so it’s been slow in making this all come together.

But I wanted audio because I wanted to avoid getting feedback that the game was silent and needed audio. So now I expect to hear feedback that the audio stinks, but I’ll tackle that problem later.

Thanks for reading!

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