Posts Tagged ‘Sound Effects’

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Kingsmouth Hits All The Right Buttons

July 2, 2012

I believe I’ve mentioned before that one of the things that impressed me about The Secret War is its atmosphere. Funcom pays tribute to the masters of horror fiction and media while deftly utilizing elements defined by pop culture to play to our fears. The whole game oozes a dark, creepy vibe, and the town of Kingsmouth illustrates this nicely.

Stalked by Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.

TSW has perfectly captured a tiny slice of life in this beautiful, once peaceful seaside New England town that has been completely overrun by the forces of undead.

Playing in a dim environment with headphones on, it’s easy to become entirely immersed in the world without realizing that you’ve unwittingly ignored general and cabal chat for the last half hour (so I hope my guildies will forgive me for being anti-social).

It’s not just the quests that have grabbed a Kung Fu death grip hold on my attention, even though the investigation quests do tend to require a lot of concentration. It’s the sights and sounds that really do it for me — sudden loud noises like raid sirens ringing through the mist, the dozens of carrion crows perched disconcertingly over the devastation, or the innocent-looking corpses that suddenly animate as soon as you get close.

I also get a kick out of talking to the survivors of Kingsmouth and the flavor that they bring. I feel the script as well as the voice work are well done, though my husband, a native of Massachusetts, claims that Sheriff Helen Bannerman’s accent makes even the Pepperidge Farm guy sound authentic, so I guess what the hell do I know.

While I was playing yesterday, it occurred to me that seeing other player characters zip back and forth across my field of vision as we all run around actually, well, kind of works in this game. If anything, it plays to the confusion of waking up one day to find yourself sucked into the grips of a zombie apocalypse.

Funny thing is, I also always get this sudden urge to jump in and help another player fight whenever I come cross them in the middle of fending off zombies. Running past them or around them just feels…wrong? After all, humanity has to stick together to survive, and all that jazz. I think I watch too many zombie movies. A lifetime of that has conditioned me never to abandon a fellow human being to the undead.

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SWTOR: Sounds Good

May 20, 2011

A quick note on the Star Wars: The Old Republic Friday update today, as the start of a busy weekend awaits me in approximately T-minus 3 hours. Luckily, it was a short update. I’m happy because I get to play padawan to the master of bullet points today!

  • Fan Friday revealing the usual community creations, fan site interview, concept art and forum avatars, but this time also a SWTOR event schedule for the year…listing all the huge conventions I will probably never be fortunate enough to attend. I think PAX East is plenty excitement enough for me, though some day I hope to be able to make it — at least once! — to the geek mecca that is the San Diego Comic Con. It’s on the bucket list.
  • The accompanying Studio Insider featuring a dev blog on Combat Sounds. I think it’s interesting that they hit upon many things that went through my mind when I first heard of the topic, most of all the fact (and Scott Morton puts it so well) that such a “long legacy” of signature sounds has been associated with the Star Wars universe. In a nutshell, they can play around with these — but just a little bit — as for the most part they must retain their “iconic aural identity”. In other words, don’t screw with the lightsaber whoosh or blaster pew pew.
  • I liked how they threw in that trivia tidbit about the core sound used by Ben Burtt for the TIE fighter’s screaming engines in the original trilogy —  an elephant call! Reminds me of a Jurassic Park documentary feature I once saw, where I found out the screeches of the fearsome velociraptor were actually created using a combination of walrus and dolphin sounds. When everything’s layered together, you can’t even recognize the source sounds anymore.
  • The example videos in dev blog show how it all just adds up to one big cool Bounty Hunter boom.
  • I love the idea of aural character for each class and establishing a “sonic palette”. The process behind capturing the “Zen-ness” of the Jedi extends even to the colors of the visual effects, and making the associated sounds match them with a “smooth and wavelike” quality.
  • The Q&A topic is something that I have a personal interest in — the art of the Old Republic. I’ve never made the comparison of the game’s look to the Clone Wars series, but I can see why some would. Mostly, I feel SWTOR’s style stands on its own. Clint Young’s “Old Republic’y” comment is the technical term for it, I guess?
  • Finally, the Fansite Summit Report. Recently, BioWare brought 15 fan sites around the world to their studio to play SWTOR. The PvP experience was the highlight for me, since until now we haven’t heard many hands-on stories about it at all.
  • The video is outrageous — fans actually being excited about a game that their entire fan site is built around? No way!
  • I do wish the report had gone beyond the usual “Awesome!” or “Epic!” comments and focused more on the soundbites with more substance, but it is uplifting to see that a wide range of people played and enjoyed the game, from younger men to middle-aged women.
  • AARRRRRGH! Jealous!
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