Introducing team Klang!
Introducing Team Klang
Hey there, we are team Klang, the sound team for EVE. We‘d like to tell you about what developments are happening on the sound front. Sound, is currently being worked on by three people, CCP Baldur, CCP WhiteNoiseTrash and CCP RealX who alongside his composing and sound engineering skillz is developing some l33t c0ding skillz and putting them to use. Being able to do audio programming within the team has allowed us to do more than before, much faster, and is opening up a number of possibilities down the road.
In this release we are working on a few things:
Completely revamped turret sounds
Last year we upgraded the turret graphics and as part of our effort to continually iterate and improve on the audiovisual experience, this release we are revamping all of the turret sounds. Not only are we changing the individual sounds, but we are also authoring them differently, so they sound better when far away. Previously, there was just one sound file representing a turret being discharged that was filtered depending on your distance. This time we have authored the close up sound and far away sound separately, crafting the sound signature of a faraway sound much better than previously with simple filters. When revamping the sounds, we strived to better capture the scale of these enormous machines of destruction and take the EVE soundscape more like naval combat and less like dogfighting or light weapon engagements.
Placing all of the 69 songs currently in EVE on Soundcloud
We have taken all of the current songs in EVE and placed them on Soundcloud, for you to listen to at your leasure, whether you are playing the game or not:
Most music is available in one way or another online today, and we feel that the music of EVE deserves to be heard! What this means as well, is that you will still be able to create your own playlists and order music in the sequence you want it to be heard, because the ingame jukebox is going away...
Removing the jukebox and playing music based on where you are
This is probably the most controversial thing we are planning for this release. As part of building a cohesive experience, marrying graphics, design and sound, we want the music to play in context of where you are and what you are doing. This means separate playlists for hisec, losec and zerosec. Hisec will contain the more bright and jovial tracks for the eve soundtrack, while losec will contain the more darker tracks from the existing playlist. Zerosec and W-space will be darker and more ominous. We‘ve created new, highly atmospheric musical soundscapes (for this we invented a whole new paradigm – the so called „muscape“ J) for zerosec, that‘s partially procedurally done, with 20 base tracks that have around 500 permutations to them. Those new tracks will change and become even darker and more moody in systems that have seen a number of players ships destroyed in the last 24 hours.
Remember that this is just the first step in an ongoing development of this system. Further iterations may include radical changes – we just want to do this one step at a time.
„If thy jukebox offends thee, hack it off“
For this to work, we will be removing the current jukebox, which allows you to re-order your playlist and import mp3 files to play. To put things in perspective, the jukebox was put into the game early in development back in 2001 when mp3 players were considered very hip and all the cool kids had a slickly custom-skinned Winamp installed to play the latest Nickelback songs downloaded from Napster or hax0r ftp sites. Those days are gone, all proper PCs have media players as part of their base OS install, and the trend is moving towards listening to streaming music on the internet rather than locally stored mp3 files. Plus Nickelback have less of a mainstream following.
Maintaining an mp3 player inside EVE, while there are much better media players out there doesn‘t make much sense to us. Keep in mind that all code in EVE needs to be maintained. UIs are upgraded, codecs need upgrading, code is refactored, defects need to be resolved. By removing redundant pieces of code from our codebase, we free up engineering time to maintain, iterate and develop other features which are more important and core to the spaceship game EVE. As we move forward with EVE development, iterating and adding features, we have to be ready to cut off dead branches and prune our garden so to speak.
By placing the music on Soundcloud, we are providing those that still want to customize their own playlists with the existing EVE soundtrack the ability to do so. We opted for that route rather than maintaining two systems, both the new system and the jukebox, as that is an extra development effort, again, taking away resources from more important things. Like always, your feedback is important to us. Let us know if you agree or disagree with this move. Remember though, by removing extraneous functionality, we have more time to work on other things.
Soft soundscape when entering the ingame map
A small change we added is a mild „infographic“ soundscape that you hear when entering the ingame map. It‘s a minor change, subliminally made to improve your experience.
Sound when you finish a skill or a mission
Who doesn‘t like hearing a gratifying sound after having done something really hard. Like training a skill or finishing a mission. Ok perhaps not that hard, but still, it‘s an event worthy of a signal to get that sense of accomplishment. Now a short sound will play after your skill training completed notification, and a new sound will also play when you finish a mission.
Ship sounds when ship is idle
Sometimes when music is off, and you are not really close to anything, stopping your ship results in an akward silence. We‘ve added new ship sounds, based on ship class and race, that can be heard humming gently in the background when your ship is perfectly stationary. It‘s thought of kind of like when you are completely silent in the darkest night and you hear the blood rushing through your veins and noises from your brain signals. Perhaps you don‘t. We just hear voices that whisper terrible things. Anyway, your ship now makes a sound when idle and we think it‘s pretty cool.
One of the things that came out of the roundtable sound had at the last EVE Fanfest in Reykjavik, was that stargate sounds become quite monotonous when you do a lot of travel. We went and created X variations, so that when you do that 70 jump route, there are mild differences in the sound and flavor of each jump, making those hauler runs a little more bearable.
Very often people forget to turn off the shield repairer or something else that really sucks up precious capacitor power, and when it reaches 0% it may be too late to do whatever is needed to survive. Now, when the capacitor reaches 30% you will hear a UI warning sound, allowing you to take the necessary precautions before it‘s too late.
We felt that the planets should really be heard when warping up to them and so made the planet sounds that can be experienced in Planetary Interaction mode audible just by warping up to them.
The playing experience
We realize that we now have much more sound going on at all times and the main reason is to try and make the whole experience of playing Eve a greater one. To sum it up we have added or remade a number of things for the atmo of the game:
- New music system
- New ship atmo sounds
- New turret sounds resulting in a much greater naval battle experience
- Made the planet sounds more audible
We also realize that some may feel this is too much - that having complete silence is a good thing and all that: needless to say, we welcome any comments.
That‘s it for now
We hope you like the new improvements to sound coming in Retribution, and that you will enjoy listening to your weapons discharge plasma into your enemies under the sinister new soundtrack as you collect bounties of people that simply deserve to have their ships blown up.