Today I'll be handing the mic over to Sound Designer David to talk about a certain type of improvement we've been working on.
Hey there! I’m David, and have recently had the rare honor of working on a couple of sound improvements for EUIV. Yeah, you read that right: sound improvements. You might have noticed that such things don’t happen all too often in EUIV. Or maybe you haven’t noticed, after all, the sound in a game like EU is meant not to intrude too much, but rather to add some flavor to the gaming experience and give the world life.
In the case of the most recent sound additions, there were primarily a couple of interfaces that sorely needed new sound effects. When entering your country flag interface, you may have noticed that most of the tabs (e.g. Diplomacy, Economy, Trade etc.) all have their own unique sound effects that trigger when you click on them, but some, namely Court, Government, Subjects and Estate, all used the same sound effect. We very well can’t let that continue, can we?
As with creating any sound effect that is triggered when clicking on a button or opening an interface, the goal is for the user to receive a form of audible feedback cue, one that might relate to what the user is supposed to react to. If you receive an alert about something positive happening to you - you want to hear a sound that you perceive to be positive, and so on. With the “country tabs”, you might want an audible feedback cue that relates to the functions you want to access. When you click on the “government”-tab, you’d want to hear a sound that relates to a government body in action. In this case, arguing voices seemed appropriate, together with the sound of a pounding gavel requesting order in the room.
Another round of sound effects come with some of the the Factions interfaces. Depending on what kind of faction you are part of, (e.g. Revolutionary Republic, Parliaments etc.) you’d want a different kind of audible feedback cue, e.g. when playing a part of Coptic Blessings, you’d want to hear something that relates to the Copts and its culture, or what one would imagine the Coptic culture to “sound like”. This can be a very thin line to tread in order for the sound effect to feel “Coptic”, but not become stereotypical or comical. In this case, we settled for some group chanting, together with the sound of cymbals that are traditional in the Coptic musical culture, together with some background crowd noises to liven it up, and relate it more to a group of people.
The last sound addition I’d like to address in short is the sound for winning or losing a debate in the Parliament when you play as England. Previously there had been no audible cue for the player to react to, sometimes leading to a certain amount of confusion as to what just happened. So in order for things to make sense, you’d want a some audible feedback that relates to the subject matter that feels positive if you win, and negative if you lose. In these cases it felt appropriate to go for either applause, (which most of us probably would relate to a sense of achievement) or intense argument. This, together with the ring of a bell that either ascends or descends in tone will hopefully make you as a player react in the same way that your progress is heading.
That’s all for me, I hope you found this somewhat interesting, and I hope you’ll enjoy (and happily get used to) the new sound additions to EUIV. Happy conquering!
Thanks David. Diversifying the interface sound effects we have is something that will be implemented in the next update. I've attached some of the ones mentioned by David so that people can get a wee preview.
We have begun work on v1.23 and we already have so much to talk about. Alas such diaries will have to wait for us to return from vacation. Similarly the EU4 Dev Clash is on hiatus until we return. I hope you too have a great Summer and we on the EU4 team all wish you the best!