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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!

4 comments

  1. Okay, with regards to the fansite summit… ENVY! However, I’m filled with great pride that so many people of disparate backgrounds and perspectives were so thrilled with the game and its direction. These are the people I will be playing the game with in the future and I’m looking forward to greeting them on and off the battlefield. Further, I just had a warm fuzzy feeling watching that video because I KNOW we’re going to be an amazing community post-launch, just like we’re an amazing community NOW.


    • Yep, really cool to see such a wide range of people looking forward to the game and being pleased with what they’ve seen. My emotions very often depend on the those of the people around me, so watching others getting excited often gets me excited as well, even though that video did make me green with envy!


  2. Sound is of utmost importance. In a video game, you essentially only have two senses being stimulated, sight and hearing. ( and do we really want to smell a Hutt?) That means sights and sounds have to be pitchperfect for the game to “feel” right. I look forward to reading the updates.

    Thanks again for the digest, GeeCee.


    • After smells, sound probably invokes the most powerful memories for me. That’s why I gush about music in games so much. Sound effects are important too, and yeah probably why so many iconic ones have come out of the Star Wars movies.



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