Winter Update: New Audio System

Matthew Florianz

Senior Audio Designer- Elite: Dangerous
Frontier
Oh I just noticed a cool check-in message, sorry but couldn't resist coming out of hiding : )

Seems someone is looking into changing music on a speaker that is attached to a building!

Now I haven't tried it yet, but that is a really good one. I'll also reserve the right to say "it might not be in the next update/game ever" so if you tell others, please stress this. The aforementioned q&a cycle might find a really hard to solve edge case.

That is usually also the reason we are tightlipped on features because we know something that works today might need to be culled one day before release and such decisions become much harder to make when the info is already out there. It is not that we don't like sharing, it is just that it could mean dev's having to work overtime simply because feature A broke feature B.

Think of it as making a bed. We put the sheets on and then a nice fluffy cover and a duvet on top. Just before the guests arrive, someone notices that all the sheets washed previously have a stain on them. You quickly check the sheet and darn, there it is and already there are footsteps of guests coming up the stairs.
So you double time it, zoom, swoosh, tuck and fold as the clock tick tick tick's and the steps tap, tap, tap.

Just in time you straighten and put on the covers. The door opens...pfeeww.
The guest smiles at you as you try to return your most non exhausted looking smile, you did it!
"The brochure mentioned a duvet?", the guest questions with a genuinely dissapointed affliction.
It happened to be the reason they had booked the room in the first place.

So the thinking is to never promiss untill we are absolutely certain. I hope that makes sense, taking away a shown or mentioned feature does feel like canceling christmas (people in the office do get very sad) but it is a whole different game to be sad in the office or having to be sad while looking at a dissapointed community member being sad also.

Anyways, maybe I should not have mentioned this one : )
 
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If I understand you correctly, not quite : )

We don't re-code your tracks, just encode.

If you make your track quieter outside the game, it will be quieter in game too. That doesn't change how far out you can hear it, just that at the same distance, your quieter track will be quieter... hope that makes sense and of course, it also works the other way round!

Things we do:

Slightly boost the volume of user music in our audio middle-ware (wwise) and then put a compressor-limiter on the end result. This is like having a mix engineer listen to your track constantly and if it gets too loud, she/he will reduce the volume a little to make sure it never passes a threshold. I tried doing it also for when your music gets to quiet so that it's always above a certain level, but it frankly sounded atrocious. Really good mix-engineers spend hours getting that right so a real time solution running inside a game engine which also happens to simulate an entire park... well, it was ambitious ! : )

The other thing we have done is that dependent on how loud your game is (ie. a tracked ride or a coaster going full speed // which is a big volume difference) we boost / reduce the volume of triggered effects and (user) placeable speakers. It's not a huge difference, but it just means it doesn't stick out so much anymore when the game is nice and relaxing.

But perhaps that is what you meant?


It is all meant to make the experience more enjoyable. We are prepared for when you'll find us a few more cases that we need to tighten up afterwards, it's a complex game with many of edge cases ; )

Cheers for that. So in that case. If I record a sound that is so quite then the fall off would be natural in that surely if you can only naturally hear it up close then it would become less audible further away because you just reduce the sound by 'x' and thus would loose out to the mix that is closer. It means that we could place speaker with different volumes to simulate different fall off. The only issue is they won't sync automatically.

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Oh I just noticed a cool check-in message, sorry but couldn't resist coming out of hiding : )

Seems someone is looking into changing music on a speaker that is attached to a building!

Now I haven't tried it yet, but that is a really good one. I'll also reserve the right to say "it might not be in the next update/game ever" so if you tell others, please stress this. The aforementioned q&a cycle might find a really hard to solve edge case.

That is usually also the reason we are tightlipped on features because we know something that works today might need to be culled one day before release and such decisions become much harder to make when the info is already out there. It is not that we don't like sharing, it is just that it could mean dev's having to work overtime simply because feature A broke feature B.

Think of it as making a bed. We put the sheets on and then a nice fluffy cover and a duvet on top. Just before the guests arrive, someone notices that all the sheets washed previously have a stain on them. You quickly check the sheet and darn, there it is and already there are footsteps of guests coming up the stairs.
So you double time it, zoom, swoosh, tuck and fold as the clock tick tick tick's and the steps tap, tap, tap.

Just in time you straighten and put on the covers. The door opens...pfeeww.
The guest smiles at you as you try to return your most non exhausted looking smile, you did it!
"The brochure mentioned a duvet?", the guest questions with a genuinely dissapointed affliction.
It happened to be the reason they had booked the room in the first place.

So the thinking is to never promiss untill we are absolutely certain. I hope that makes sense, taking away a shown or mentioned feature does feel like canceling christmas (people in the office do get very sad) but it is a whole different game to be sad in the office or having to be sad while looking at a dissapointed community member being sad also.

Anyways, maybe I should not have mentioned this one : )
Probably not but it is amazing to read/see and even though it could never happen the actual fact you have said someone is at least looking into this is massive because we know you are doing even more cool things and so it's a positive point that we know you are trying your hardest and proof is in these types of statements.

I think if you are crystal clear when you say things like the above then 99% of the community will praise you for being open and sharing what you are up too and trying to provide the community. The biggest issue I feel the community has was silence when we discuss but just recently yourself and Andy have been awesome at responding to things on here and taking so much time to detail out.

Have an excellent xmas and new years.

Kind Regards,

Adam
 

Matthew Florianz

Senior Audio Designer- Elite: Dangerous
Frontier
The biggest issue I feel the community has was silence when we discuss
I think that's mostly to do with the ratio of how busy we are before a release. The last few weeks I hardly had time to talk to my own team : )
And then there's the ratio of excitement on your side, also highest before release and also most involved, the game is after-all closer to release than it has ever been.

It is not always possible to discuss like we do here especially when we are trying to ship a game or when we don't yet know exactly what the game will be. It's hard to explain, but the relief and absolute exhaustion you feel once a game has shipped and finally realize that its done; That always catches me out. Afterwards beginning to realize how much of a tunnel (vision) we have been in. I will have neglected my social life, my own place, eating and exercising well. In the weeks before release dream of the game constantly and often wake up at four in the morning feeling tired but completely awake because I want to get back to it. That's not the best state of mind to be on a social platform ; )

Then there is this nagging thought then when we do engage like this (intensely) and answering questions by giving in-depth answers (which costs us a lot of time to write) you might feel like we neglect you when we can't do that. I can almost guarantee you that the audio dept. can't engage like this until next year Christmas. So come February you might think: "Florianz used to be so engaged and now he's ignoring us on this really important question... what is he trying to hide???"

This kind of engagement sets a president and you can read on this thread that it raises expectation. That's such a difficult balance to strike. I totally agree with you that we should partially educate people. Being in-depth and open with each-other is how we all grow. But there is the trinity of available time, setting expectation and not being able to deliver on a mentioned/promised feature. All three topics can quickly escape us and grow out of control. I think Bo, Ed and Zac have been absolutely amazing in helping us strike this balance. Your comments are great feedback for our community team.

In this new "social" / "open" age; time spend with the community is time not spend on making the game better and reversely what time we do spend with the community can improve the quality of how the game is perceived and thus also the feedback. It's worth thinking about, which is what out community team is always doing : )

I really enjoy the interaction, your feedback has been very valuable not in the least because we design these systems and tools for you. I'll try not to fall off the radar entirely once production swings into gear again. So thanks again for all the nice feedback and help : )
 

Vampiro

Volunteer Moderator
Then there is this nagging thought then when we do engage like this (intensely) and answering questions by giving in-depth answers (which costs us a lot of time to write) you might feel like we neglect you when we can't do that. I can almost guarantee you that the audio dept. can't engage like this until next year Christmas. So come February you might think: "Florianz used to be so engaged and now he's ignoring us on this really important question... what is he trying to hide???"
I hope to most people it's the other way around... Don't nag about the times you "ignore" us but appreciate times like this where you really spend a LOT of time on explaining stuff.
Especially the "older" members might remember the pre-internet times where there was no communication at all with game developers. If you were lucky you could find an interview in a games magazine but besides that there was no feedback/communication at all.

Being from that generation im very thankfull for the fact you spend all this time explaining and answering stuff! It's not taken for granted.
(Not a knock on younger members, im sure most of you are just as appreciative)
 
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I think that's mostly to do with the ratio of how busy we are before a release. The last few weeks I hardly had time to talk to my own team : )
And then there's the ratio of excitement on your side, also highest before release and also most involved, the game is after-all closer to release than it has ever been.

It is not always possible to discuss like we do here especially when we are trying to ship a game or when we don't yet know exactly what the game will be. It's hard to explain, but the relief and absolute exhaustion you feel once a game has shipped and finally realize that its done; That always catches me out. Afterwards beginning to realize how much of a tunnel (vision) we have been in. I will have neglected my social life, my own place, eating and exercising well. In the weeks before release dream of the game constantly and often wake up at four in the morning feeling tired but completely awake because I want to get back to it. That's not the best state of mind to be on a social platform ; )

Then there is this nagging thought then when we do engage like this (intensely) and answering questions by giving in-depth answers (which costs us a lot of time to write) you might feel like we neglect you when we can't do that. I can almost guarantee you that the audio dept. can't engage like this until next year Christmas. So come February you might think: "Florianz used to be so engaged and now he's ignoring us on this really important question... what is he trying to hide???"

This kind of engagement sets a president and you can read on this thread that it raises expectation. That's such a difficult balance to strike. I totally agree with you that we should partially educate people. Being in-depth and open with each-other is how we all grow. But there is the trinity of available time, setting expectation and not being able to deliver on a mentioned/promised feature. All three topics can quickly escape us and grow out of control. I think Bo, Ed and Zac have been absolutely amazing in helping us strike this balance. Your comments are great feedback for our community team.

In this new "social" / "open" age; time spend with the community is time not spend on making the game better and reversely what time we do spend with the community can improve the quality of how the game is perceived and thus also the feedback. It's worth thinking about, which is what out community team is always doing : )

I really enjoy the interaction, your feedback has been very valuable not in the least because we design these systems and tools for you. I'll try not to fall off the radar entirely once production swings into gear again. So thanks again for all the nice feedback and help : )

Completely and cheers again for the reply. And don't worry it's been really good to chat here and am certainly not expecting things to be like this come new year when you've got your goals you want to hit :)

If anything can move from your "wish list" to "It's being worked on" in 3-6 months that would be amazing.

Maybe you could suggest keeping up with a dev diary once a month by picking one person from a team for an hour where we set questions up to say Monday. Thread gets locked then on a Wednesday that person could possibly formulate some responses. Would maybe not take away too much time but keep some interaction going?

Now go enjoy xmas and the new year already ;)
 

Vampiro

Volunteer Moderator
Hi Guys!

I was wondering if the 1.1.3 update helped with the issues you were having?

Thanks!

Matthew
I never had any real serious issue's to begin with.

(besides mp3's still not working even tough they play in every other mp3 player i have installed).
But thats not a big deal since there is a good workaround.

Besides that i never had any issue's and since the update everything just gone from great to greater [wink]
 
Yes, it helped a lot. My specific problem, the sound of the ambient speakers bleeding through walls and rocks over to great a disctance, has gone (enough). In my case I am able once again to work on a nice soundscape for my park.

Thanks a lot for the update and changes you and your team made.
 

Matthew Florianz

Senior Audio Designer- Elite: Dangerous
Frontier
Hi Wim, happy to read that. Thanks to you all for bringing it to our attention!

Vampiro, the mp3 players you use may use a different way to read, decompress and then deliver the audio packages to your sound card from how our game doe sthings. In computing/code there are so many ways to go from a/z. Because methode 1 to 10 work, is unfortunately no guarantuee that methode 11 does too : )

Still, would like to get it solved, did you file a bug report with directx x diagnosis report? Sorry to ask if you did, I can't access that from home : )
 

Vampiro

Volunteer Moderator
Vampiro, the mp3 players you use may use a different way to read, decompress and then deliver the audio packages to your sound card from how our game doe sthings. In computing/code there are so many ways to go from a/z. Because methode 1 to 10 work, is unfortunately no guarantuee that methode 11 does too : )

Still, would like to get it solved, did you file a bug report with directx x diagnosis report? Sorry to ask if you did, I can't access that from home : )
Hi Matthew,

I remember we spoke about this before and i even tried a few suggestions you adviced me (like try if the mp3 would play in mediaplayer)

Back then (it was just after Beta) i made a bug report on this but it seems like it was archived because threads that old appear to no longer be there. I just created a new one and included a DxDiag.
If there is anything i can do to sort it out, test, etc, im glad to help. [happy]

EDIT : Issue Solved due to newest RealTec Drivers (Date : 1/11/2017 11:38:16) :D
 
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