174: Bark! Bark! Bark!

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You, Mrs., can be described as what is called an "acoustical terrorist".

Thankfully, when mankind encountered "the wolf" for the first time, he quickly invented conditioning, rewarding, training - in short: education. The praised product of these efforts was "the dog". Mankind's best friend and helper.

Unfortunately, you didn't consider education because you chose to humanize your dogs, which ultimately turned them into the common-issue "carpet rat" - fulfilling their role as dressed-up, misbehaving, stranger-biting, 24/7-aggression "cuties".

So they bark, but I think that's the natural result of neglecting the dogs' education.
You called for it, you got it. No reason to complain about the barks, which makes them a bad intro for your story about "ultra-sensitivity to sound-bits in games", as you yourself totally neglect your neighbours' peace of eardrums.

So, in the end, what reason does an acoustical terrorist have to complain about repetitive loudness?
If you don't care about your fellow man's sense of hearing, why should fellow game developer guy care about yours?

There is more to it than that though on the development side. Audio is at the very end of the pipeline and as such is always in crunch. Add to it the fact that while all other aspects of development have gotten more space to really branch out and add more to their respective fields, sound doesn't get that luxury. They have just enough space to keep up with all the new objects added, characters, etc. So while artists and designers can cram in more and more with each generation, sound is afforded just enough space on the disc to keep up with what they are given. Add to it that they are often times understaffed, and you have the sound department of most studios. Beyond that, once you are in it is a fairly stagnant field with not much upward movement, mostly just lateral. Sound guys are bar none the most under appreciated, misunderstood roles in development. And as such, they are always going to be the most cynical, God bless their soles.

So I agree, more grunts would be great. And sound guys will agree with that. But they just don't have the bandwidth to implement them, on top of all the other thankless chores they are given. It is just one more example of what should be re-examined on a big scale in this industry.

I think it's more to do with certain sounds, we've all played first person shooters where you try to avoid using a certain machine gun because it has a very loud repetitive sound. In Perfect Dark Zero when Joanna takes a hit she sometimes lets out a "EEEEE!", which isn't fun, but get hit in Gears of War and you'll get a lesser sounding "ugh" which you can barely hear, and won't be annoyed by.

From the developers point of view there is also memory to consider, you could have 50 different variations of "ugh" "oof" "ahh" "oowhahoo" for 1 character, but that could be anything up to 25MB depending on sound quality, multiplied by the number of characters who need similar treatment like squad members plus other sound effects. These voices and sound effects get played on headsets and surround sound speakers so they need to be high quality.
You may well say "25MB is nothing, you could compress it even smaller", more compression requires longer load times to decompress everything, to have a very large number of sounds loaded and ready to play in time with instant events would require more powerful hardware or it will directly impact how smoothly the game plays.

You've probably noticed in some games with big conversations, the disc spinning or the hard drive ticking away whenever someone is about to speak, followed by a brief pause, and then the audio coming out, sometimes the character will even proceed to talk before the words come out, seen often in Oblivion and Mass Effect, these audio files are not pre-loaded as they don't need to be, gamers can afford to wait in these slower moments of gameplay.
So, for now, we will have to put up with our 4 or 5 "barks" per character, and developers will have to carry on making them more discreet to avoid repetition.

dont take this personally but your dogs sound kinda annoying im not big animal person though

Ahaha I hate those poorly made/repetitive barks!

I've never really been annoyed by them, but the biggest offender for me is Mass Effect. Great game and all, but the enemies have the same dialogue and repeat them too quickly. Seriously, hands up if you've heard "Enemies everywhere!" or "I will destroy you!" about a couple of hundred or so times in a playthrough.

However, there are games that get "barks" right. They do it so well, it actually adds to the immersion of the game and can actually be useful to the player as audio cues.

Company of Heroes is the only game that I've played so far that does this well. The game is loaded with dialogue for each unit, and a ton of them are contextual to the action that is going on. You will hear soldiers yelling about what they're being attacked by (infantry, tanks, artillery etc.). You will hear panic and 'realistic' screaming when they're being killed or suppressed. You will hear sarcastic remarks and casual talk when they're calm. You will hear humorous 4th wall breaking dialogue when you annoy them by selecting them repetitively in quick succession.

More importantly though, there is so much dialogue that you can hear new phrases every once in a while, and although you will hear the same phrases after playing for a while, there is enough differentiation so you won't be annoyed.

It'd be great if more games could follow through on what CoH did for "barks".

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