Stellaris Dev Diary #48 - Roar! & Boom!

Long time no seen interstellar explores!

It’s time for me to make another entry about the Sound Design & Music (Jazzhole will write about his music). We want to write about our thoughts and what kind of direction we wanted to go with the music and sound design. But I also want to take the opportunity some of the improvements that will be included in Heinlein.

Sound Design:

Cuteness and Roar in space?!

When I first learned that we were going to create all the grand Guardians in the game my first thought was: “Time to sound even bigger!”. Not only should you notice that grand size of these Guardian by graphics, you should hear the sheer size of these mysterious beings.

If we are going to create big and awesome Dragon in space, you can bet that I’ll really excited to create audio assets. And now it was my time to shine as a VO artist! I wanted to try out my “inner beast” voice. It was great fun but I needed to a lot of test recordings and iterations before I could get the right voice. But I’m pleased with the result and I think that you as a player will hear and notice the Dragon whenever you’re in the same system.


But not only creating audio for when the Dragon is roaring I needed also create assets for when it’s breathing and flying around. *insert your joke about <there is no sound in space> here

As some of you have noticed we’re going to release cute Phenotype portraits along in Story Pack. If they are going to look cute they better sound cute as well! This was a bigger challenge than I thought since I’m used to create more “morbid” audio (I’m looking at you Crusader Kings 2). Since I don’t have such a “cute” voice I got help from coworkers who was very eager to help me creating fitting greetings sound.


Boom! Swoosh! More is More!

During the summer I got a opportunity to read feedback from game journalist, you guys, people in Reddit and so on. There was a lot of good praises on the Sound Design (Thanks a lot!) and especially the music, but I felt that there was headroom for improvement in the soundscape and mix of the game. So during the summer when most of my co-workers were on vacation I started to revisit all audio assets in the game. Now we’re talking about VO, Ambient, SFX and where I made some of the largest improvements: Combat!

To give you guys a reminder here is a video clip with the old combat SFX and mix:


In the last DD that was about Sound Design I mentioned:

But it is easy to forget that the sound effects needs to be consistent with the overall feeling so we didn’t want to go too “Michael Bay” on the sound effects (or just only a few times).

Well after seeing some feedback and not been listening to the mix for a while I realized that the Combat SFX needed more “Michael Bay”. So I started to give all weapons more “attack” and “umphf” whenever they were firing. I also went in the to mix to adjust the volume so there would be better balance from when you are view the space battle from a distance or what to admire the destruction close by.

Not only balancing and mixing I also got the chance to create new weapon SFX since we have created new “XL” weapon types, so I wanted them sound -even- larger than everything else. So the big challenge was to create even bigger sounding weapons in a game there the battles sounds a lot already. And not only that, I needed as well create SFX for Titan Laser which is insanely big and powerful (one shots Battleships).

But enough talking! Here is a video on the space combat will sound after the patch:


Of course there is a bunch more that I have done with the audio, but I’ll let you explore that on your own when we have released the patch and Story Pack.

Music:

Hi there, I am Jazzhole aka Andreas Waldetoft and I am the Senior Music Composer at Paradox.

I was kinda blown away with the response to the vanilla Stellaris Soundtrack and coming back making more music for Leviathans was even more fun and inspiring.

We had already laid the groundwork for the Stellaris atmosphere and mood. Our thoughts was that it should still be that Stellaris style of music, but with a clear emphasis on what Leviathans are all about. That is darker, mystic, bigger, louder, more uptempo and a bit more attitude.

When I studied music there was always this “less is more”, well this time we went with “more is more” which has become mine and Audio Director Björn’s go-to phrases when we just want to go over the top.

The track I want to share with you today is called Dragon Breath. It starts a bit unorthodox with my favourite ⅞ time signature and most of the instruments panned to the right. But when the Dragon finishes his roar and shows himself the sonic landscape widens to fill all of it.


Next week we will talk about new portraits and graphics changes.
 
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domein

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Well, would you enjoy seeing in game a campfire that keeps burning while submerged in water? You know that fire does not burn in the water, it breaks the immersion magic.
Same happens when you hear sounds, that you know, you should not be able to. Sorry.

Whoa dude, like, really? No air in space? Pretty sure they didn't know!
Pardon the sarcasm. ;)
 
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Metal King

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Awesome dragon roar, I look forward to hear that in-game.

Will each species have its own sound, based on their type and appearance within their group?

Different Phenotypes has their own "Greetings Sound" and different species such as Crystal Entites, Void Clouds and more has their own sound in the game.
 
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Yes, as there is no air, the whole game should be silence, no music, nothing, because as the protagonist in this game, we play as a god like character who floats above the universe zooming in and out, that person (god? sentient ai?) would not hear music, sound, anything.

Please remove these unrealistic elements from the game immediately.
 
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Exactly. Dragon thing is very cool, but looks all kinds of wrong in the spaceship battles context.

Seeing as Zoft is a developer, what you quoted was sarcasm.
In translation: we REALLY don't care that there is no sound in space. Games and movies always make it "What it would sound like if there was sound" because humans like listening to sounds and it feels more natural from our perspective. Realism is dwarfed by many things in the game media, and this is another one.
 
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How does that work!?!?!

Space confirmed for having the same concentration of air as our planet.
Earth is flat, don't listen to NASA.
The sun revolves around Earth, don't believe the lies.

Where's your tinfoil hat, people?
 
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domein

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Yes, as there is no air, the whole game should be silence, no music, nothing, because as the protagonist in this game, we play as a god like character who floats above the universe zooming in and out, that person (god? sentient ai?) would not hear music, sound, anything.
Please remove these unrealistic elements from the game immediately.

There are sound control options, you can disable all the above elements there. I think it is very convenient.
 
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BrokenSky

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You know that one BWAAAMP noise which was in a load of film trailers a few years ago? I kind of feel like that sort of thing would make a great noise for a XXL energy cannon type thing. :3
 
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Karl244

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I LOVE the cutie "hello" sound! :p
Also, the combat sounds are much better imho.
 
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Tim_Ward

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Since sound doesn't travel in space, it feels strange to hear roaring

The space dragon is conspicuously radioactive, and certain functions of the dragons anatomy cause it to, temporary, become a bright radio source.

When these emissions are picked up by ships in the same system and converted into sound, that's what they sound like to human ears.
 
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domein

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Seeing as Zoft is a developer, what you quoted was sarcasm.
In translation: we REALLY don't care that there is no sound in space. Games and movies always make it "What it would sound like if there was sound" because humans like listening to sounds and it feels more natural from our perspective. Realism is dwarfed by many things in the game media, and this is another one.

Thanks, but i don't think he meant it like that. This decision to include dragon is a daring experiment on their part, stretching the bonds of what can people see and still stay immersed in the game setting. I'm very keen to see how it will be revived by the wider audience. I feel the developers spent a lot of time debating on this decision and Rikard was one of the people voicing against it.
 
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Wow, more sounds & music! I really like Andreas' STs and I think the Stellaris ST is his best one. Just one question, how many songs will be included in the Leviathans pack? And btw, fully agree with "More is more" motto! :)

Sometimes "More is More" is a wonderful concept.
 
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Oh god, the combat sound effects are so much nicer. Brings me back to Homeworld!

I hope one day you'll consider adding in battle chatter. Nothing beats distorted radio communications between ships as they close in on the enemy and fight for their lives! It really emphasises the hostility and emptiness of space when distorted screaming breaks out over the comms as a ship is turned into rapidly expanding gas.


That strange chatter was in stuff like old BattleStar Galactica, StarTrek, old games because they were created BEFORE DIGITAL ERA. It's superstupid for starships to use analog signal!
 
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mwyeoh

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Cant wait to hear large fleet battles with the new sfx

More music is also always great too. Ive felt that Stellaris, although having a modern/futuristic playlist, lacks the iconic "themes" of CK2 and EU4 (namely their openings, and the battle music in EU4)
 

Surimi

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Well, would you enjoy seeing in game a campfire that keeps burning while submerged in water? You know that fire does not burn in the water, it breaks the immersion magic.
Same happens when you hear sounds, that you know, you should not be able to. Sorry.

The difference is that most of us have been underwater. Very few of us have been into space or experienced the environment of space directly, so frankly when you make it realistic it's more likely to seem off or not make sense to a typical person, because even if you intellectually know how space works it's still odd that it doesn't abide by the rules. I can recall a few science fiction shows and movies which used the lack of sound transmission in space, but they generally did so in order to create a weird feeling or to emphasise the strangeness of the environment and not to create immersion. Your mind is more likely to consciously register when something "should" make a sound and doesn't than when it "shouldn't" make a sound and does.
 
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