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Dead Rat

Ugly Sounds that Ruin the Atmosphere

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Sounding a critical note here, reflecting my own experience but perhaps resonating with other TDM players.


There are some missions that create excellent atmosphere with all the visual elements and most of the sound, but then spoil the immersion with gratuitously ugly and intrusive sounds.


Perhaps the most obvious example is that awful moaning/shrieking drunk personage often used as "background colour" in various urban corners, seemingly taken from a real-life recording of some tragic low-life street altercation.


It completely ruins the game for me and these days any mission that thrusts this repulsive sound on me usually gets abandoned quite quickly.


The other most common example: howling and barking dogs. Far from adding anything of value, these sounds tend to cut right across any atmosphere the rest of the game has managed to establish, leaving the player cursing and dashing for the nearest corner in which the dogs SHUT UP.


This shouldn't surprise us, because it's how we react to intrusive dog noises in real life. They're not atmospheric, they're extremely irritating.


The otherwise excellent mission The Warrens is spoiled by dogs in this manner, which is a damn shame.


So I would ask mission creators (bless you all) to try to be more sensitive to the way intrusive and unnecessary background sounds alter the general appeal of the environment - do they really enhance the atmosphere you've worked so hard to create, or actually work against it?

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What kind of sounds people like is probably pretty subjective. I think both of those sounds add to the atmosphere of feeling like you're in a real life urban setting (although more variety would be good--those sounds do get used an awful lot).

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I rather like the genuine ambience. Lately though I've been getting the nasty beep sound when near/doing some things, and *that* really spoils the atmosphere of the game. I don't know how to switch it off, and I was expecting this topic to be about that.

 

Anyway, if there are sounds you hate, you are of course free to pop open the pk4 files (they're just zip files) and nuke them by overwriting them with silence or something.

Edited by kano

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Find this line in your Darkmod.cfg file:

 

seta s_playDefaultSound "1"
and change the "1" to "0".
This turns off the beep.
The beep is intended for mappers prior to releasing their missions, so they can find missing sounds.
Players not involved in beta testing should turn the beep off.
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I've been known to change things in FMs I don't like to make the experience more enjoyable, or sometimes (ok, a lot of times) just to try crazy experiments, which I used to do all the time. You can always find the asset from the .map file.

 

I don't usually advertise it and just do it on my own because the author intended the thing and might take it personally or think it doesn't respect their vision or whatever, which is fair for them to say, but the beauty of TDM is it's an open game so once you have the FM pk4, you can do anything you want with it, or with the base assets.

 

Caveat: It's a much different story if you want to *release* a changed version! Then you really have to respect the author, no matter what, and you shouldn't do that. But if it's just for on your harddrive, the sky's the limit.

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My two bits... The dogs barking don't bother me although I have wondered if it shouldn't be tied in to a script where a house hold/guard/etc. would be placed in a more alert status. such that the player causes the dog barking... The only sound that irritates me is one that sounds like a whining kid somewhere. May be appropriate for the environment, but grates on my nerves.

The only one that bothered me enough to edit the pk4, was a mission where I had to pick a locked gate and the running street water was so damn loud I couldn't hear the pick (no visual provided). Dropped the volume by 8db all good!

There does seem to be a dearth of default sounds, but designers rarely seem to add their own assets. My own failed attempts at mission design, at least had new music. (Fond of Ave Maria). My attempts at adding a new glass breaking sound (walking on broken glass) not so good. 2 bits ended.

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I'd agree that there are some sounds or ambient music, which ruin the atmosphere in TDM. Naturally, when mappers pick music and sounds from other sites.

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With total respect to the missions authors, that's what happens when you have people of varying degrees of knowledge and skill working on missions, some will know how to make good soundscapes (for example not rely only on default TDM sounds), others will be better at lighting their missions, others at gameplay/story, others at level design/geometry, etc, no mission will be perfect in all aspects, especially when a single person is working on them, that is life and like others have said if something really bothers you open the pk4 (is just a zip file) and change it. Personally i've yet to edit any mission and just play it has is, some things i don't like but I just accept it.

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I suspect a large part of this problem has to do with volume as much as the sounds themselves. Correctly balancing volume levels so that one particular sound doesn't obliterate everything else seems to be challenging even for commercial game developers (there are certain quests in Dungeons and Dragons Online whose music is deafening compared to all other music, so that you have to turn it down to 25% volume to even hear the rest of the game at all).

 

I would be willing to bet that the particular sounds complained about in the OP were far too loud, perhaps as much as 6 - 10 dB louder than they needed to be.

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