Warning

This section of the website is no longer maintained, and much of its contents is almost certainly out of date.

SoundFX

Welcome to the SoundFX Section!

Sound effects help set the mood of a game. They also impact gameplay by giving the player feedback via another sense. This is especially the case in WorldForge games which mimic reality.

This document aims to provide you with the information you need to create sound effects with the WorldForge team. Links to other documents are interspersed throughout it. These other documents will help you understand the WorldForge project in general and how to contribute to it. You'll notice that some documents aren't links and have [TODO] beside them. No one has written them yet, but you could. :-)

Let's start with a few general guides. The Main FAQ and introduction are good places to start if you'd like to learn more about what WorldForge is. A Newbie's Guide to WorldForge is a longer document which will inform and motivate you to work on the WorldForge team. Media gives you a general overview of the graphics, music, and sound effects in WorldForge.

You'll need to learn about a few things before you can Join the Team and submit the sound effects you've recorded. We use some form of CVS to store all our code and media (the media actually uses SVN). The CVS FAQ will help you set this up on your computer, while the WorldForge Media FAQ will answer any questions you have about the media repository specifically and its use of SVN. Take a look at the Media Repository Layout. As you can see, the sound effects section isn't very complex.

Since WorldForge is open source software, licensing is very important. You'll also want to read about Filenaming Tags and the Media Standards. There isn't much information about sound effects in either of those two documents. Read over the sections about other types of media and then use common sense to apply the information to submitting sound effects.

Communication is an important aspect of working with the WorldForge team. We use mailing lists and IRC most of the time. Don't worry about getting flooded with messages on the mailing lists. The media list is a civil place where every word is put to good use. You can learn more about our IRC and list services in the Newbie Guide.

There are some other documents which you might find interesting. Dragon Master wrote an Audio Whitepaper which deals with sequenced music. This could be of interested to you if you're planning on sequencing ambient sounds such as rain, birds, wind, rivers, etc. Why OSS? gives some reasons why WorldForge is open source software. By creating sound effects for WorldForge, you'll have the chance to show the world that open source games can work. Check out the Links as well. It contains some nice instructions for creating sound effects.

We need all the sound effects we can get. There really aren't many in the repository. The SoundFX Requests [TODO] is a list of sounds that we're currently in need of. Feel free to record sounds that aren't on the list. This will just give the others more freedom to create the worlds they want. I can assure you that any sound effects you make will be gratefully received. Mason is a game we're currently working on and is in dire need of sounds. It isn't a problem if we create multiple versions of the same sound. That just means the developers have a greater range of choices when they put them into the game.

You don't need fancy expensive equipment to record sounds for WorldForge. You can do quite a lot with just the mic that came with your PC and an audio program. There are some things you should keep in mind, however: Noise is a big issue. If I swing an axe in-game, I don't want to hear your hard drive roaring in the background every time the blade sinks into a piece of wood. Along the same lines, make sure your sounds use the full volume envelope. I will often normalize my sounds before I submit them. Ideally you want your input levels to be as high as possible without clipping at the time you record the sound.

Try playing your sounds on a variety of speaker systems. The footsteps you recorded might sound great on small PC speakers but have an unbearable amount of bass on a home theatre system with a sub-woofer. You can always ask members of the team who have different stereo systems to test your sounds. Then you can EQ them later.

Record your sounds at the highest frequency and bit rate possible. If your setup runs at 16bit 44kHz, that's fine. But if you can record at 24bit 96kHz, then go for it! We won't use high sampling and bit rates in the game, but it gives other sound effects artists more leeway to rework your sounds and combine them into their sounds.

Be creative and have fun!