Cataphilla - Ludumdare 33
This is my first post-mortem butchery and I am very excited to share my experience doing the music and sound design for our entry:
Given the fact that we started slightly off schedule and that we changed the mechanic and aim of the game in the course of only 2 days we were
slightly limited regarding fine tuning the game but we made due with the resources we had...
For this game we (tried) implementing Fmod into making the audio behave a lot more dynamically and react to inputs rather than just looping seamlessly from beginning to end.
This is only the 2nd time I have used Fmod inside a Unity game and I was relatively happy with what we achieved but I there are several hurdles that I would like to get over for future jams:
-Making instruments come in after each other
-Changing the snare-sound when switching between left arrow key and right arrow key
-Creating a "muffled" effect when entering the giant peaches
-Transitioning from the main beat to the transition and into the new section
-Making things sound cool and glued together
-Switching between sound effect stings
Fmod for an audio person is fairly simple to use as it acts just like any other "DAW" (Digital Audio Workstation ie. Ableton/Fruity Loops/Pro Tools/Reason)
Its main purpose is to make the programmers life a bit easier by creating parameters that the programmer can tie to an event/instance in the gameplay, hopefully making
the programmers life a lot easier (in theory at least :D)
It also serves to create a bit more interesting audio flow which is really essential because hearing a loop over and over is annoying.
The music track is ssplit into 7 separate audio layers:
Layer 1: Basic Groove with Snare 1
Layer 2: Basic Groove with Snare 2
Layer 3: Synth Pad
Layer 4: Rhythmic Synth 2
Layer 5: Melodic Synth 1
Layer 6: Melodic Synth 2
Layer 7: Drop
These layers are "Events" in fmod and I have several parameters that affect these layers on the fly:
Parameter 1: Switch between Layer 1 + Layer 2
I wanted to have a different snare sound for when you go left with the catapillah then when you go right. This feature was purely experimental and maybe a bit unecessary but definitely added to the dynamic of the audio.
When you change the parameter, the audio layers should crossfade "smoothly" from one into the other.
Parameter 2: Bring in layer 3-6
The different synths that you hear when you fly through the golden pips (located on the inside of the fruit) were initially meant to be 3D objects that you have to find but we ran into time constraints and just made them add to the track.
Parameter 3: Trigger "Drop sound"
Because the game was centered a lot around the music everything had to be synchronised to the tempo of the track; the transition time from the basic groove to the drop layer and back could be set in musical increments which was just what we needed. I set it to be 1 bar, which might be a bit too long but was the most musically pleasing variant.
What I learned :
-Transitioning between layers/events and having the transition happen rhythmically while maintaining a fairly immediate response is a very delicate task
-Too many dynamic changes in the audio can be positively tributing to the gameplay but shouldn't be overused. Repetition is very important too.
-Learn your programs beforehand; knowing the ropes of Fmod/Wwise or even just Unity's native audio mixer can help save time when you are crunching to get general gameplay polished before the deadline.
We had a lot of fun making "Cataphilla" and there are so many more opportunities on the audio side that I would like to explore - maybe a post-jam version is soon to follow :)
If you are interested what I'm talking about check it out: