Probably a repetitive questions but...

AuthorTopic: Probably a repetitive questions but...
Apprentice
Member # 7210
Profile #0
Greetings to everyone, my first post here.
I have been playing Avernum 4 (its the only one so far) and I seem to love this game. I noticed from the screeshots of older games that it looks like the same engine is used for all these games. I also noticed that someone said Avernum 4 had a new game engine behind it.
I was wondering what was new in the AV4 engine compared to the older ones?

I was also wondering why music and sound have been neglected? I remember playing a demo from 4 or 5 years ago and the sounds are identical. I can understand the graphics, as the best I can draw, is silly stick figures, but sound requires nothing but an editor and a microphone. Music? Even the old Bard's Tale series for the Apple II had music. The intro music for AV4 is good, but it cuts off leaving you wanting more while your playing. Even if the graphics never change, I think the audio and music could make a really big difference.
Of course I would love to see the engine move out of the "Ultima V" look and into a 3D tiling system with model support and dynamic lighting, but I would rather have cool audio and music first!

You remember star wars right? They made all of the cool sound effects out of recorded everyday sounds. Take the laser blast for example, it was someone hitting a steel cable with a metal wrench then it was slowed down and processed a little. So you don't have to spend a fortune on sound effects, just have a little patience and creativity. The music on the other hand you will probably need to find a good musician.

Anyone else think the sound should be enhanced for the game engine?

[ Sunday, June 11, 2006 11:01: Message edited by: Aaron ]
Posts: 4 | Registered: Sunday, June 11 2006 07:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #1
The most obviously new aspect of the A4 engine is the seamless world: there's no outdoors or GF-style zoning. The engine otherwise looks a lot like a hybrid of GF and Avernum, with a few balance tweaks.

As far as sound goes, Jeff licenses his sound from somewhere online. The sounds have changed somewhat since the early days, somewhat to the chagrin of a BoA designer who wants to use sounds that exist in GF or Exile but not in BoA, although I agree that they don't feel much different.

I'm not sure that I care about music. It might be a nice touch, and I'm definitely interested in the old versions of some of the Exiles that had music. On the other hand, based on the way that the plot took a downturn in A4, I'd rather that we get back to basics first (gameplay and plot) and worry about side issues later (graphics, sound, music). Still, it would be a nice touch.

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Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
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Even the old Bard's Tale series was designed by an entire production team, rather than a single programmer. Given the niche audience Avernum caters to, investing too many resources into an "extra" like sound would be a waste.

I will admit, though, that I have a lot of nostalgia for the Exile II Music. That track really helped get Exile II permanently jammed in my brain. But I think this is a slippery slope. If Jeff put music in in response to complaints about no music, there would be complaints about not enough tracks; with many tracks, there would be complaints about quality, and so on. You can't satisfy everyone without a large budget and niche markets don't get large budgets.

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Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
Shaper
Member # 247
Profile Homepage #3
No music no! I really can't say I've enjoyed any in game music beyond the first hour of play.

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Posts: 2395 | Registered: Friday, November 2 2001 08:00
Councilor
Member # 6600
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Simple sounds and no music don't bother me. Half the time, I play with the sound off anyway. Besides, no music means that you get to choose the style of music you listen to. It's not difficult at all to put in a CD.

Dikiyoba enjoys listening to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack while playing Spiderweb Software games.
Posts: 4346 | Registered: Friday, December 23 2005 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
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The problem with graphics is that they're expensive. Unless you can provide graphics for Jeff gratis, they're not going to improve quickly.

The problem with music is that it also requires someone with the skill to make it, the equipment to make it, and the money to induce said person to do it. High quality music is hard to come by. Barring Jeremy Soule suddenly deciding to do a little work for Spiderweb for practice, music is out. Besides, I'm perfectly happy to start up iTunes and listen to whatever I want while playing. Nothing says dungeon-crawl like Dvo?ák.

I'm not sure what's wrong with the sound effects that Jeff uses. They're a little sparse, yes, but they get the job done.

—Alorael, who believes Jeff is also still concerned about download bloat. Because some people are still using dialup modems to download, leaving out a few hundred megabytes of spiffy sound and graphic boosts means more customers.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Infiltrator
Member # 3441
Profile Homepage #6
I happen to like game music, I just think it would feel out of place in Avernum. Sweeping, dramatic musical scores would seem out of place with the simple tile based graphics. It might work, but I'm just not sure that its worth the effort or the capital.
The ultimate question Jeff has to ask when making this decision is "Will adding X add addtional customers for my product?" I don't think it will.

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Posts: 536 | Registered: Sunday, September 7 2003 07:00
...b10010b...
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Jeff is also on the record as saying that he hates music in computer games.

As for making his own sound effects using a foley room and a microphone, that's not as easy as it looks.

[ Sunday, June 11, 2006 16:15: Message edited by: Thuryl ]

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Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Law Bringer
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quote:
Originally written by Dikiyoba:

Dikiyoba enjoys listening to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack while playing Spiderweb Software games.
I'm glad to know I'm not the only one. :P Actually, I listen to a variety of music while playing Spiderweb games. A lot of it is movie scores though. There was one summer that I played through all 3 Avernums listening to the original soundtracks to A New Hope for A1, The Empire Strikes Back for A2, and Return of the Jedi for A3. These are the original CDs from way back when too.

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Posts: 1556 | Registered: Sunday, November 20 2005 08:00
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Originally by Tyranicus:

quote:
I'm glad to know I'm not the only one.
That was my reaction when listening to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack was mentioned in a review of a Spiderweb Software game a while back. For Geneforge, maybe. I wish I had the Star Wars soundtrack, but I don't.

Dikiyoba.

[ Sunday, June 11, 2006 17:30: Message edited by: Dikiyoba ]
Posts: 4346 | Registered: Friday, December 23 2005 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 6785
Profile #10
I keep the sound off when I play the game. When I first played Exile I even kept the extra graphic effects off to speed up play.

I would rather the effort went into improving the AI and plot than sound effects.
Posts: 4643 | Registered: Friday, February 10 2006 08:00
Agent
Member # 1934
Profile Homepage #11
I wouldn't mind some new sounds, so log as they don't add too much time to the download. I still have dial-up. :(
I also recomend Riverdance for Nethergate. It fits in nicely.

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Posts: 1169 | Registered: Monday, September 23 2002 07:00
Board Administrator
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"Alorael, who believes Jeff is also still concerned about download bloat."

This is a big factor, and it'll continue to be so as long as such a large percentage of people still use dial-up. A big chunk of my audience is people who dare to keep using their older machines and, at the same time, want to keep playing games.

I have gotten a lot of complaints from people who want to play Avernum 4 but can't because their systems can't handle the actually quite modest system requirements for it. The day I make my games available only for people with broadband is the day a lot of my customers just silently disappear.

This, as much as budget, is a strict limit on the amount of sound and music I put in my games. I can afford a lot more sounds than I use (licensing sounds is remarkably cheap). But sounds take up hefty space.

- Jeff Vogel

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Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 6700
Profile Homepage #13
I'm a huge sucker for an original game soundtrack, on the conditions that the music is both good on its own and actually complimentary to the game.

I've been using a large variety of music behind Exile and Avernum for a very long time now (it actually started when I was playing the E2 demo for like the billionth time, and a song from a different game got stuck in my head while I was visiting Waldby's Bazaar. Don't ask how I remember that).
So my Avernite compilation consists of a variety of music (mostly MIDI files) from various other shareware games, classical composers, a few of my favorite rock and techo works to go with combat, and some original music that I wrote that was inspired by the game.

But do I think that Jeff should be sticking a custom soundtrack into every game?
No.
As much as I'm sure that it could bring out Jeff's visions, even in MIDI form, the fact of the matter is that soundtracking requires a deceivingly large amount of effort, even if one is pooling from works already created.
And, as already said, the bandwidth and people-pleasing factors really make for a potential problem.

quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

As for making his own sound effects using a foley room and a microphone, that's not as easy as it looks.
Not entirely true!
The foley bit is deceivingly easy. The ear will hear what it wants to hear.
It's the quality that's the problem.
That one depends on the room and the microphone.
And the amount of time you feel like wasting with experimenting with foley. :P

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The Silent Assassin recently revealed to me that he fired the foley guys very early on.
Things are starting to make sense.

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Posts: 735 | Registered: Monday, January 16 2006 08:00
Law Bringer
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Maybe Jeff could add the soundtrack as a separate file that those that want it could download and replace the existing one in the game. That way us dial-up users could get the basic game and those that really want to have the extras could do so.
Posts: 4643 | Registered: Friday, February 10 2006 08:00
Agent
Member # 6581
Profile Homepage #15
quote:
Originally written by Dikiyoba:

I wish I had the Star Wars soundtrack, but I don't.

Dikiyoba.

When I play Geneforge, I always listen Rhapsody. Is very adapt. :P

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Posts: 1310 | Registered: Tuesday, December 20 2005 08:00
Law Bringer
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I have some parts of the Star Wars soundtrack, but it is in MIDI format. With predictable quality. :(

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Posts: 8752 | Registered: Wednesday, May 14 2003 07:00
Agent
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Ha! I buyed all the tracks with iTunes. :P

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Posts: 1310 | Registered: Tuesday, December 20 2005 08:00