Why Is Audio So Often Overlooked?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by aegisninja, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. MushroomCake28

    MushroomCake28 KAMO Studio Veteran

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    Graphics are more important to the gameplay than audio UNLESS the audio is used in a specific way to be part of the game mechanic (like music patterns or sound patterns give the answer to a puzzle). Simple proof: you can turn off the audio and still play 95% of games, while you can't turn off the monitor/tv and still play.

    EDIT: I'm not saying it's not overlooked, just saying graphics is more important. I do believe creators/players need to give more attention to audio.
     
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  2. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    It's an easy answer. Filter up audio resources needs time, as you need to listen to each of the track to see if it fits on what you need. I have hundreds (if not a thousand) of audio resources at my disposal (they're free to use), but even with that, I don't know each of them. So I usually put them on a playlist, while doing something else.

    If there is a thread/topic about it, can you tell if it's audio you need just by looking at it? Well no. Graphics are easier, look at it for a few seconds and you can judge. Because of this time consuming, it just so much trouble go finding audio resources, let alone on where to look. Even after they look into something, they figured out it may not the one they need.

    Also yes, some people just mute games and listen to whatever track they want.

    Or use some obscure resources that only a few people know/use :p
     
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  3. aegisninja

    aegisninja Veteran Veteran

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    You could turn Final Fantasy X into a text based RPG and it would retain more of the emotion and feel of the game than if you removed it's soundtrack in my honest opinion.
     
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  4. MushroomCake28

    MushroomCake28 KAMO Studio Veteran

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    Not saying the opposite. The soundtrack does add to the gameplay for sure. My point was that it is still possible to play the game (not taking into consideration the experience loss) without audio and just the graphics. The same can't be said for the opposite: you can't play the game (99% of games) with only the audio on and the graphics off.
     
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  5. Milennin

    Milennin "With a bang and a boom!" Veteran

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    Because it's easier to open up MS Paint and draw your own sprites than to use whatever audio software exists and whatever else you need to make your own audio. Drawing stuff is way more intuitive than making digital music.
     
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  6. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    I put a lot of thought and effort into the choice of music in my games, with many tracks being commissioned. I also have a lot of unique SEs. I personally think that these are extremely important, and believe that they add a lot to my games.

    Having said that, I know for a fact that a number of players mute the sound in my games for a variety of reasons, not just so that they can listen to something else or they don't like instrumental music. It can be, for example, because they need to be silent so as not to disturb others. There is also the fact that some players are partially or completely deaf.

    If, therefore, a developer has to choose where to put their time and effort, it is unlikely to be in learning to make their own music. Getting decent equipment and sounds is hugely expensive compared to getting a spriting program. Learning to do simple edits is a lot quicker than learning how to compose and record a simple tune. And a commissioned track which starts at $80+ for a minute or so is likely to be beyond the budget for many devs. You can get custom faces for all your party which you can use throughout the game and will make an impact on how the game is perceived for the price of a couple of tracks which may only be heard in one location, or one cut scene.

    To address the question head on - I think in many cases music is not "overlooked" - which implies that devs don't think about it, or don't care about it. That, I think, is an unjust over-generalisation. I think it is much more a question of prioritizing limited time and money.
     
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  7. FleshToDust

    FleshToDust Pixel Beginnings Veteran

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    Some people don't care about music so it's not high on their priority list. They will put stuff in that's good enough and since music is done last they just want to get their game out and don't want to spend more money. The last thing done is usually rushed. In movies people often criticize them for rushing the ending because they ran out of money.
     
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  8. Romanticist

    Romanticist Veteran Veteran

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    Honestly, music can make or break a game. If a game has amazing music, I'll be more likely to remember that game. I'll listen to its music for years to come. Even RPG Maker games like LISA or To the Moon... I cannot imagine them without their music.

    If you are gonna go all out in making beautiful custom graphics, you should definitely go all out with the music. If you can't make music, then hire someone! Not everyone has money they'd like to spend... but to make something truly great, sacrifices are needed. If you truly care about your game in more than 'it's just a hobby' kind of way, wouldn't you want to sacrifice some cash? (Again though I understand that people don't have a lot of money. However, look long enough and post your game on enough recruitment forums, and you might even find some composer willing to do it for cheap, if not free, if they like your game enough).
    Custom sound effects are less important, but they can still make a game more unique and give it a certain feel. You can have silly sound effects, gritty realistic sound effects, mechanical-sounding sound effects, retro sound effects, etc. I will say that changing the default menu cursor and select and back sound effects is a MUST. I can't believe how many RPG Maker games I've played that have custom graphics but don't even bother replacing the high-pitched default menu sounds!
    Furthermore, to add more atmosphere, I even recommend having custom BGS. One of my favorite uses of BGS in a low-budget game is in the visual novel Higurashi. The BGS of the cicadas crying, or the way you hear the loud sound of rain indoors / in a vehicle at night... it adds so much ambience.
    (TIP: If you're making a dark game or a horror game, then you might not even need a lot of music and can fill your game up with BGS that adds an unsettling atmosphere. If you're making a relaxing game or a sim game then you can add peaceful BGS instead of music. At least until your project is closer to completion)

    Sound is very important, and is criminally underlooked.
    EDIT: I also realize that I'm kinda insane. And a perfectionist. So anything I make I'm going to put as much of my heart and soul into as possible. I cannot fathom my game having no custom music. I want my game to have music where people gather in the Youtube comments and say, "Wow, this game has such beautiful melodies", remembering the specific scenes and emotional moments from my game. This is part of my dream for my game.

    PS: just because some people mute their games, doesn't mean everyone does! That's quite a lousy excuse to not add custom sounds, if you ask me. Also, I think people are overestimating the amount of times where players *must* mute their game. Most people have headphones!

    Lastly, I just want to point out too that custom sound effects and BGS are much more doable than custom music. I recommend looking at the website Freesound for starters (I use it a lot). They have amazing sounds submitted by people. Or look up Taira Komori's site for some great sound effects and BGS!

    This baffles me. Why are they playing a 2D game if they don't like instrumental music?! :kaoback: Like 95% or 2D games have instrumental music (if only because of hardware limitations for older games... but even modern 2D games are like this). ...And it just hit me: they probably mute their games. Sigh, I feel dumb. I also struggle to fathom that, as it takes away from the experience imo. Well, people are all different.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
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  9. aegisninja

    aegisninja Veteran Veteran

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    This is is how I feel as well...
     
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  10. Ryisunique

    Ryisunique Detective, AUEI Veteran

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    I'm pretty sure that the music packs and sound pack that I bought at one point were some of the most expensive resource pack I've invested in. It's expensive to make, making sure you either have rights or permission to use any sort of sound bite in effects or songs. Also the programs might have stipulations for commercial usage. (Music Maker does, you can't even put them on YouTube without ads because of it. I'll have to check LMMS out later.)

    Some find the stock sounds perfectly adequate. Some might need specialized due to differences. (Slider sounds instead of a door opening and closing).
     
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  11. aegisninja

    aegisninja Veteran Veteran

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    Music Maker only has stipulations if you are using their loops, and to be quite frank, throwing a couple of pre-written loops together does not equate to actually writing a song, as you did not write the melody, or really any individual part of the piece. That said, there are far better options than Music Maker for literally free anyway.
     
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  12. Sharm

    Sharm Pixel Tile Artist Veteran

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    I don't think music is overlooked but sound effects certainly are. I think it's because the effect they have is mostly subconscious. When playing a game I don't really register the opening and closing menu sounds, but when looking for game sound effects to use on my phone I realized how I really did associate those sounds with that specific game, and that listening to them gave me a nostalgic feeling. It's important, but the value of sound effects aren't obvious. Since it's not obvious, they get forgotten.

    I don't think sound effects have to be expensive. They're easier to do if you get expensive stuff, sure (just like art), but it's not a requirement. I could get some nice sound isolation by setting myself up in a closet, I don't need a sound booth. It's not perfect, but it's not too bad either. A good microphone is a lot harder to do without, but I've made do okay by cleaning up by playing around in audacity. I could probably do even better if I recorded it on my phone instead of using the built in microphone of my laptop. I don't have any fancy tools or high end computing elements, I don't know anything about sound design either, this is just me getting by with what I think sounds good and what I think doesn't. I didn't produce anything really fantastic, but I think it's about as good as the default sounds in RM. Even if it is worse, I think a little originality can go a long way in the RM scene, just like going original for the art resources. Sometimes, even if it's not good it's still nice to experience something a little different. If you go retro, sound effects get a lot easier. There are free generators specifically for creating them. They don't have the best control once you have an effect generated, at least not to a newb like myself, but all the ones I've tried do have them for the experienced users.
     
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  13. Ryisunique

    Ryisunique Detective, AUEI Veteran

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    @aegisninja the closest I get. Can't play live instruments due to apartments. I don't remember anything about sheet music and scales. There are simulators, I believe. Never tried them.

    Back to topic.

    There is, however, a lot of laws around sounds and music that could even shut down someone's project if it's too close to a copyrighted work. Safer to say, more use what is given in the engine and those that make free to use sounds. I don't know how big that pool of resources are either.
     
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  14. aegisninja

    aegisninja Veteran Veteran

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    You don't need live instruments, you can literally just click in the notes in whatever daw you are using with whatever virtual instruments you are using. That said, you don't have to do it yourself either, there are tons of composers for hire, and even plenty of composers who will work for free.
     
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  15. CoolKid

    CoolKid Warper Member

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    I do agree, for me when developing a game i find my own music, or something related to be really important because sound is a thing that really gives our games a nice vibe, and that special feeling when you keep hearing music that sounds terrificly good to your ear.
     
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