Aug 31

August Subscriber Town Hall

This post is a transcription of the August 2016 Subscriber Town Hall, material that is the intellectual property of Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) and it’s subsidiaries. INN is a Star Citizen fansite and is not officially affiliated with CIG but we reprint their materials with permission as a service to the community. Enjoy!

August Subscriber Town Hall Transcript (Incomplete)

  • The Subscriber Town Hall is a monthly show where subscribers get their chance to have their questions answered by a select group of developers
  • This week is the UK Audio team.
  • Graham Philipson Lead Audio Programmer: Focus’ on the sound that goes into the game and making sure that it meshes well into it code wise.
  • Lee Banyard Audio Director: A single point of contact for everyone, provides a cohesive vision for the team and make it happen.
  • Ross Trigenza, Senior Sound Designer: Music system, working with composers, and implementing it. Also works with Squadron 42 and communicating with designers on implementing music into that and being a go-to guy for communicating in that area.
  • It’s time for the Q&A portion of the show. You can go to RSI chat in the subscriber section to have your question answered live.
  • [I’m wondering how you guys create the majority of your sound effects used in the game? Do you use artificial methods or do you use old school methods?] There’s no limitation to which way they do things. They use live material and artificial to create new material that people haven’t heard before.
  • [Can you walk us through the various sounds that will make up planetary reentry? Will they vary in length depending on speed?] Darren Lamborn has put a lot of effort into that design aspect. It’s not 100% where they want the system to be quite yet, but for now, it works for the time being.
    • There’s various layers that make up the sound effect like the bulkheads rattling, also they would like to have the size of the ship affect the sound.
  • A Drake ship may sound different than a MISC ship during reentry
  • [Can variables like speed change the length of reentry?] Yes. Any variable that could happen will be reflected on the ship. Your speed matters, angle of approach, etc.
    • It’s important to not build a sound to what you see, but rather sounds that can handle all the things you may encounter.
  • Ross was so excited when they recorded sound and had Mark Hamill sign the panel on one of his AT-AT’s
  • [What are your plans and ideas for the sounds on a planet, will there be different sounds for like woods, oceans, caves…] When it comes to environmental ambience, it’s not difficult to find sounds to put in, but how it can be done without having to comb over the entire surface manually. An automatic or semi-automatic way is what they’re looking to do for that.
    • There definitely will be ambiance sounds in the environment planetary wide, just need a base line and go from there.
  • [Will 7.1 support or only 5.1. Is there a specific sound card that the audio team recommends?] It’s their job to support those. They would like to have Dolby Atmos implemented because Wwize natively supports it, but it depends on how easy it is to implement.
  • [What process do you have in place to get a sound into the game?] It’s a lot of standing around (Kidding). Everyone has their ownership of a process with, of course, a final say, but it’s not cut and dry with what makes it and what doesn’t, there’s no official “Sign off” because sound is constantly reiterated and refined.
  • [What kind of work goes into managing the low-end sound systems to high end, how does it scale?] It’s actually quite easy because of the standards set by the industry where if you have 7.1, then you know how to downscale it. However, if someone has a really bad pair of speakers, that can’t be helped.
    • A good pair of headphones is recommended. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but sound is important, so put some thought into having a good sound system whether it be a headset or speakers, but you don’t have to spend a ton to get a good result.
  • [When a sound such as a sparking cable is obscured by a wall or panel, how does that sound to the user? Does sound bounce off walls? Does sound come from the source or from the wall?] Working on a system where propagation exists and it’s close to that of what it sounds in real life.
  • [Can you tell us more about the new dynamic music system?] It’s a system that’s been worked on for quite a while now by Ross. It has had a lot of iterations so far. The first system was too chaotic, and now it’s simple, but powerful. There’s a scale from 1-10000 that’s constantly changing and the more intense music is higher and the calmer is lower. There’s also a similar scale for mood, that meshes with the “intensity” meter. EVA, Ground, Space, all have their own scales and at any time they can put in Cinematic music and drop a “Pedro bomb”.
    • SSX, Red Dead Redemption have helped shape sound design, but the requirements for Star Citizen are something else entirely with scale.
  • [What would you say is the biggest feature the Audio department has brought to Star Citizen?] It’s hard to pick one specific feature because there’s several as audio touches on everything. The dynamic music system is definitely one of them, but coding in such a way that allows sound designers to make things that can run on their own.
    • The dynamic music system also works in Squadron 42 to create even more intense and exciting experiences in Squadron 42.
  • [What’s it like working with Geoff Zanelli in Squadron 42] It’s been awesome Ross says. He has such a smooth connection on Skype that makes him favorable.
  • [Are you guys going to remove or dampen sounds that happen outside of stations then you’re inside them?] With propagation, yes they’re putting the finishing touches that also includes the outside sounds to hear what’s going on outside.
  • [Will there be any customization in terms of the “bitching betty” ship voice?] They do want to allow players to have sound packs to change the voice AI. Furthermore they want players to be able change what you hear from the ship AI. Right now they feel there’s too much and want to dial it down or allow players to customize what they hear.
  • [Will sound be percieved differently between multiple players] Yes, there’s three sounds. First person, third person, and local.
  • [With the introduction of atmospheric flight, will there be a sonic boom? Can players on the ground hear it?] Yes, and it depends on the atmospheric density for when it would occur.
  • [Will there be audible cues for the health of equipment?] It’s a balance you have to find. Too much feedback can go against the player and confuse them. For ships there’s something, but FPS weapons, they’re not sure at this point.
  • [Does Star Marine have a different way of how sound is done?] Like Arena Commander there will be some differences, but the framework is the same, it’s just built on it to simulate that it’s a game within a game.
  • [Are ship sounds unique or shared?] Every ship is designed to have their own unique sounds. Manufacturers don’t share sounds and if they do it’s temporary. The quantum drive for now is, but they would like to have it unique.
    • Two of the same ships may also sound different based off their structural integrity.
  • [Will there be a jukebox in ships?] Eventually yes, it took awhile for hangar, but it’s coming.
  • Has there been any thought to how music is in 2947?] It’s in a kind of concept, but they would like to create some new genres of music and what the future would like, but it’s open-ended and time is a factor.
  • [Will there be radio stations in the PU like GTA? Will it be a loop or constantly updated?] In some form, I’m sure something will exist, but constantly updated is a whole different aspect that could be really cool to have people earning a living in the PU being a radio host, it’s just a matter of how to implement it.
  • [Can we expect to see different effects added to voice communication depending on where it’s received? Will a Drake ship have lower quality sound versus a MISC, will distance play a role?] At first no, but it’s definitely possible to have elements like that in the game.
  • That’s the show! Just some closing thoughts from the Audio team.
  • Thank you for all your support, keep posting in the forums, twitter, and etc. This project wouldn’t be the way it is without all you guys and the support you give.
  • That wraps it up for this month’s Subscriber Town Hall. Thanks for watching.

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