June 9th: Chairs, Beds & Monsters

As I’m currently waiting on some new and fairly significant assets for the Outpost, I’m holding off on starting the dungeon for the moment. It doesn’t make much sense to go designing the dungeon only to have to fundamentally re-think it from the ground up based on new ideas that have arisen in our process. So for today I started looking into some of my secondary tasks (believe me, it’s a long list).

Since Kyren implemented a more functional orientation system some time back, there are a great many of our objects that would benefit from an update to this sytem, specifically our beds and chairs.

Why the beds and chairs? While the vast majority are okay, there are a number of these objects that under the old orientation system are prone to having the player appearing misaligned when sitting or sleeping on them. Often the seating/sleeping position would be configured to an ideal spot for one orientation, while sitting awkwardly in the other. It’s a petty grievance, but it’s the kind of thing that breaks immersion and drives perfectionist folks like me up the wall.

One of the other things I’ve been playing around with today concerns our monster sound effects.

For a while now Tiyuri and I have discussed a complete restructure of how the monster sounds operate. While the current monster sounds are functional, many on the team (myself included) feel that the current batch of monster sounds don’t quite mesh with the overall aesthetic we have going with Starbound. I’m currently experimenting with new sound directions, trying to find something that sits right with both me and Tiy, but it’s proving challenging.

Seeking inspiration, we’ve been looking at some of our most beloved games, examining how they approach sound effects for the enemies that populate their worlds. In doing so, we’re hoping to find an approach that works for us. Once I have a direction nailed down, it’s highly likely that the monster sounds you know right now will be removed altogether to make way for a cleaner and (hopefully) more suitable set.

The key thing we’ve taken away from many of the greats (Legend of Zelda, Mario, Rayman Origins) is that a lot of the time the sounds from enemies are usually fairly minimal. Rather than being especially vocal, the tendency is to have sounds associated with their physical actions.

The advantage of this approach would be that it ultimately decreases the number of unique sound effects I’d need to come up with. On the other hand, I’m having quite a bit of difficulty finding an audio aesthetic that doesn’t feel jarringly out of place in the world we’ve built.

I’m confident I’ll get there eventually, but it might take some time. I’m always open to any ideas you folks out there in the community might have, so feel free to shout ’em out in the comments! What kind of sound design would you like to see on our monsters?