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Game Demo Looks Great, Sound Mix Needs Work

posted by fleet on - last edited - Viewed by 333 users

I loved the demo. It looks like you guys have managed to capture some of the excitement and charm of the animated shorts and I am really looking forward to seeing it all in the context of the overall story for the episode. The look of the game is also really good. This feels like Wallace & Gromit.

Where I think the game fails is in the sound mixing. There are a few problems, but the biggest is that the sound effects and music drown out the dialogue and make it really hard to discern what the characters are saying. I am a fan of sound mixes that bring the music to the forefront, but it is always a balance. The music either has to drop down in volume during the dialogue, be written to be quieter or less busy during the dialogue, or written so that it doesn't trample on the same frequencies as the dialogue occupies so that the dialogue is still clear while the music is louder.

The sound effects at times were also too loud or too prominent in the same frequencies as the dialogue, especially during the scene with the truck where the wind sound made the Wallace's voice seem very distant and hard to discern.

Finally, while the music was great and had the right style to it, it is too busy. The music in the demo tends to have a lot of movement to it and a bit of an urgency or excitement, but during scenes of dialogue like out on the street it doesn't fit well. The music for the end scene in the demo was great as that was an exciting scene that benefited from the music that was used. The music out on the street when talking to the old soldier (can't remember his name) by comparison was very out of place. The style of the music and the themes in it made some sense given what he had to say, but not having heard it yet when you first approach him it seemed far to busy for the scene that you were presented with. Even after you hear what he has to say the music sounds as if the action should be taking place right then and there. The music could hint at the action to come, even picking up a little when he starts to get excited, but overall it needs to be a lot more laid back and in the background.

The way the music is now, and the way it has always been in Sam & Max, it doesn't really foreshadow anything or really take part in the storytelling, it is just background music that paints very broad strokes of mood – and not always the right kind of mood. I love the music in both of these series so far but in the game it would be nice if they were more a part of telling the story.

In Sam & Max the music often gets in the way of the dialogue and has many of the same problems that I have outlined here but it allows you to adjust the mix between effects, voice, and music so the voice track can be brought out and the music track dropped down to compensate. At the very least it would be nice to see these options added to Wallace & Gromit so that, all things remaining the same, the voice track can be brought out to compensate for the lack of clarity in parts.

Obviously I understand that these games are being done on a much smaller budget than big titles or hollywood film mixes. Still, I think there is a huge amount of potential for what Telltale can do with the sound in their games to make the experience and storytelling better.

26 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • I noticed that too. My first reaction when talking to the old man was to open up settings and lower the music volume... but that option wasn't there! A master volume control isn't very useful, my computer speakers have that built in :p

    I did enjoy the music, but I had to put on subtitles to make sure I wasn't missing anything.

  • That's exactly what I wanted to post about! Actually, I felt two things:

    1. Like fleet said, the music is currently too loud, and it is very hard to hear what the characters have to say.

    2. I also felt the music was of much lower quality than in Sam & Max. Actually, it just sounded so bad, I still think it may have been a bug in the way the music sounds on my PC. I don't mean the music itself is not good (I liked it) but it just sounds like it's coming from a midi track..

  • I have to agree about the music volume. Matan, you might want to try turning the graphics settings down a notch. I fixed an awful stutter in the speech by turning the graphics down a few steps from the overly optimistic 10 they started at.

  • I did actually find myself missing a good bit of dialogue and having to comment about something again just to hear another piece of dialogue again. It was more of a nuisance than anything, but being able to turn down the music would be nice. I completely missed Wallace's comment when he's snatched up by the bee queen.

  • @Harald B said: I have to agree about the music volume. Matan, you might want to try turning the graphics settings down a notch. I fixed an awful stutter in the speech by turning the graphics down a few steps from the overly optimistic 10 they started at.



    Actually, the first thing I did in the game is turn the graphics down to about 5 . Maybe I need to turn it down more? :(
    I thought of turning down the resolution, but there's only one widescreen resolution supported.

    That's really sad. Sam&Max (both seasons) ran very smooth on my computer on highest settings. I guess it's really time to get a new computer...

  • My native resolution is supported, though I didn't realize it until the end of the demo when I decided to tinker with settings. "Oh, it's that low resolution? No wonder the widescreen bars were unusually huge!"

  • Glad to see that I am not the only one that found the music interfered with the dialogue. I hope we will see more volume controls in the final release. I think there are a lot of other things they can do to improve the sound mix but adding a volume control for the music will do for now given that the first episode isn't likely to see any other changes.

  • Thanks for the feedback, guys. Can't make any guarantees or timelines or whatever, but we'll be taking a look at the mix for future releases. When the audio gets compressed down to make a released build, the voice volume ends up getting reduced as a side-effect, which we're looking into better compensating for. Glad you're liking the demo, though! :)

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    Icy

    Had to tinker with the settings to actually see the what the options are and get the mouse showing. Not easy finding the right setup when you have no clue what your options are. But when I, by pure luck, got the resolution lowered, I could play the demo fine.

    The new controll system was a bit strange at first, but easy to get into. Looking forward to trying it in the full game.

    I agree with turning the music volume down a little bit.

    My laptop work excellent with Sam & Max, and is not that old either. But the graphic card is not the best out there, I must admit (Mobile Intel(R) 965 Express Chipset Family), still it's a fairly common card for laptops.

  • I gotta say, the only problem is the music overlaping the voices, other then that, it's awesome, I love the fact that you control Wallace & Gromit with the arrow keys, I suggested something like that for Sam & Max a long time ago, glad that you guys used it. I was most impressed with Wallaby Street, it's just like the real thing, new guy does a good job as Wallace, I can tell it's not Peter, but he's good, can't wait for the game!

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