Invasion from OctorSpace already had sound it was done by Pixel-Boy, but to make the game more of my own product I started pulling his sounds and music. Sound design is always painful in shmups because of the shooting. Blasting bullets is constant between the player and enemies so it can get annoying.
Sound design in general is difficult for me with my limited knowledge of audio engineering. Even composers who make music tend to avoid sound design as well. A few have tried and I appreciate their efforts, but its something I need to do myself and hear it in game to tweak the volume.
For AquaNimble, I chose for no sound from bullets. It felt like the right choice after playing 18 months and hearing them. You can still hear the impact and that had to be tweaked or else it became painful to hear with bosses as dozens of your bullets hit all at once.
Because I am making OctorSpace as different from AquaNimble as possible, shooting will make sounds. It could be dreadful, but so far so good. Nothing is annoying or high pitched. One of the ways to keep the audio sounding fresh is pitch modulation and volume modulation between 90 and 100%. I have noticed that higher pitches are more audible rather than getting lost in the background.
Another thing that I’ve noticed when designing sound for AquaNimble is the more of the same sound in a short span of time will increase its volume while lowering other volumes. While I am uncertain as to why that is, I know how to avoid it. A long time ago I tweaked the damage, explosions and gem collection sounds to have cooldowns so they take a few frames before they make the same sound again. Otherwise it turns into a wall of chiming gems.
I tried to make each vessel have a different shooting sound, but there are so few bullet sounds that you can hear non stop without them growing old. At least there are different bullet sounds for each of the three default weapons.
One nice factor to sound design is the crunch of impact. That crunch feels satisfying. I have had that crunch sound for the platform shooters. Coupled with screen shake and controller rumble makes the game feel great! To improve things there are different explosion sounds depending how close you are to the exploding enemies.
Like my past games, I am trying to fill the game with sound. Moving a menu item. Sound. Confirmation. Sound. Error. Sound. It will be rich with sound. I think Final Fantasy Legend was the first game where I took note that there was a sound for everything. You could play the game with your eyes closed by audio alone. That is if my memory is correct.
Balloon Popping Pigs has some unique sound design because balloons popping are coin sounds. Balloons popping sounds like a negative while a coin bling is a joyous. Hearing the audio cue sounds like a reward and I can tolerate hearing it for a longer period of time. Each pig has a selection of different hop sounds to keep it fresh.
Only a mere day into sound design, I feel good about it even with how basic and limited I am when it comes to the process. One day I will improve, but it will be a while.
To end this article, I needed something more visual to show off sound, so I made a sound test menu in game.