Sunday, 17 February 2013

And then, there was sound! (Blog Update 17/02/2013)

Hello there ladies, gentlemen and gamers and welcome back to another blog update here at the one and only Sonic Punch Line!

First things first, my sincerest apologies for the lack of blog updates for the past week or two; a recently-solved problem in the development of Bubble Virtuoso had kept me busy to the point that I was obsessed over it which resulted in me forgetting about updating this blog.

Oh that, and celebrating Chinese New Year with my family and relatives; yeah, that's also a legit excuse...


Just a "snippet" of what happened to me over the past week or so, after implementing new visuals for BV I've started work on implementing sound and music into the game itself. As you guys probably know from my last blog update, I was adding in the background music and a few "dings" here and there to make things a bit more lively. Well, in regards to that, I've managed to implement them properly so that the sound and music would properly reflect any possible input the player makes in the game. Just to give an example, to opt out the use of a gauge to signify time left in a given wave, I've decided to use sound as one of the stimulus to indicate sound time (edit: lol proofreading fail). Simply speaking, I've made it so that the background music would fade out over time in any given wave; the more quiet it is the less time you have in that wave. Sounds easy enough, right...?

Ah yeah, we're forgetting something. What happens if the player pops the wrong bubble? That means the game has to figure out what the volume level the background music was at the time when the wrong bubble is popped, save it, stop the music, do a few fancy things and then resume the music at the same volume where it was stopped at.

So yeah, that was a bit of a steep learning curve for me as I know how important sound is when it comes to making a complete experience; and guess what? That was not the problem that had me close to rage quitting.

The slit-your-wrist problem that kicked my butt, proverbially and literally, was this - on top of fading background music, there would be a ticking clock sound effect that would fade in near the end of the wave to signify the player's impending game-over. So it should be easy right? Implement what I've learnt from implementing the background music to this sound effect and it should work right?

(Damn you Luthor!) On top of the fact that the the FSM that handles this particular sound effect requires less states than the FSM that handles the main background music, the thing that exacerbated an already complicated problem for this clock ticking sound effect is that it is supposed to start playing at the last remaining 5 seconds of any given wave. This kind of threw a spanner in the works as timing between different FSMs became crucial - as in timing the states to make sure that they go off at exactly the right moment where another FSM can reference off it. As for that timing thing... Well let's just say that due to how the various FSMs were structured it kinda rendered things to go not exactly as I planned and had me scratching my head for a week before I was able to figure out a work around for this problem.

Oh yeah... If you only knew how f***ing relieved I was now that everything was working as they should!

So yeah, that was my misadventure during the last week or so. Unfortunately, this isn't the end of my sound effect and music saga as I need to somehow improve upon what I've already implemented - that and somehow get my own original background music composed as the one that I'm using right now is only a place holder that I got off the audio section in Creative Commons - Non-Commercial Use licence... Yeah, that might be another hair-ripping experience in the near future.

But for now, I'm happy with what I've got so far so it's safe for me to say that I'm just going to move onto the next task which is to add another gameplay feature to BV. What this new gameplay feature is, I'm not going to spoil it just yet, but what I can say is that it will make playing Bubble Virtuoso feel more competitive!

New updates, coming soon! Tune in next week for more of Sonic Punch Studio's game development misadventures!

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