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Darkness_Falls

Achieving T2 Ambience

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I can't remember if this was discussed already or not, so thought I'd mention.

 

In playing Thief 2, you'll notice ambient tracks are sometimes stacked upon each other as you progress through a level. For example, sometimes there's just one ambient track playing by itself and then when you reach a certain point, another ambient track gets stacked on top of that to make that one-layer ambient track become a two-layer ambient track. It's a nice, subtle effect to add nice richness and intrigue to areas.

 

I don't know if that's how all the levels are, but it's a neat effect so as to not make the ambient music overwhelming, and it's also good for transitioning into different areas.

 

For example, the first mission of Thief 2. (I'll speak for just one certain area of the level for the sake of simplicity.)

 

* You'll be sneaking around on the first floor and hear only the background-hum track. No music, no bells, no nothing -- just the Thief 2 white noise we all know and love. I tried to recapture the 'feel' of this T2 background noise in my recent Ambient Track (DF) by having it play in the background during the entire track. It's the sound you hear by itself at the very beginning thru the rest of the track.

 

* So that background white noise is all that's looping in Thief 2 as you sneak around on the first floor, for sake of argument. That is, until you make your way up a staircase to the 2nd floor. At this point, an additional ambient track is added to that background noise track. It's a 'glasswaves' swirl sort of sound -- subconsciously makes you wonder what's coming up. (I call it glasswaves because it's similar to the sound named 'glasswaves' on my keyboard.) It's a subtle enough sound that you don't really realize it was layered on the first track, but cool enough to make you wonder what's coming up. The cool thing about Thief sounds is that they don't give anything away. They're just eerily playing all the time.

 

* At this point in my example, these are the only two ambient tracks playing in Thief 2. They're both very simple and non-obtrusive to gameplay. It's an ambience, not a pre-rendered music track with lots of fluctuations and sound interjections going on.

 

* When the layers get stacked, the 1st track seems to be completely unaffected by the additional 2nd track. The 1st track just keeps playing without the loop re-setting or anything. In fact, if you go back down the stairs to the first floor, the 2nd track shuts off and leaves the 1st track playing as it was and has been.

 

I like this approach and think we should be cognizant of this when thinking about creating The Dark Mod ambience files. I know some of us, maybe all, are already aware and maybe I'm wasting my time here, but I at least wanted to get this in writing. Instead of creating entire ambient musical pieces, we need to also focus on simple background ambient and eery loops to be layerable on top of each other like this. Things that will sound cool together when layered on each other.

 

I've already heard some submissions that fit this bill nicely; but wanted all our sound gurus aware, as I assume we want to try to achieve similar things with TDM.

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