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Class for Dark Forces Editing : Sounds Overview
LESSON ONE - THE IMPORTANCE OF AMBIENCE
Sounds undoubtedly fall into the category of atmosphere enhancement. They also contribute to the ambience, theme, and final review rating. So, therefore, the importance of sounds cannot be questioned. I will sometimes turn completely off the music and run through an entire level listening to the sounds!
A few well-placed ambient sounds can go a long way. In a large exterior area, place a few constantly moving elevators with the sound as their move sound (sound 2), then make some standard triggers that turn that elevator on and off for when you want it going. Of course, the elevators will have to be near the area where you need the sound.
But that's not the only kind of sound. Don't forget about those sound variables in INF statements. Always attempt to modify the 3 sounds of elevators. However, this is tricky. I don't like doing it, because ofttimes it will seriously mess up the sound. I've had sound 3s stick and play as a page sound for the remainder of the level before, and it stinks. Remember that sound 1 is the startup sound, 2 is the moving sound, 3 is the arrive at stop sound. Also remember that in a stop with a time remaining there at 0 is still a stop, and so will play sound 1 (3 will be cut off just as it starts, so will not be heard). So if you don't want that, just set sound 1 to value 0, and nothing will be heard. Of course, then when the elevator starts up it will jump straight into sound 2, which isn't always desirable.
However, always seek to set the sound variable on triggers. Unless, of course, it's a standard trigger (the desirable one for an event_mask of Enter Sector), in which case the default is 0, nothing.
This is all good and fun, and is good for you level too, but what about exactly how it enhances the atmosphere, ambience, and theme?
LESSON TWO - ENHANCING THE ATMOSPHERE, AMBIENCE, AND THEME
This is merely opinion. There are no hard facts that designate when and where a certain sound should go. Why? Because there's always and exception to be found. It's just possible that you won't want a water noise around a river! You might not want industrial sounds in an industrial area! However, these are just a few suggestions.
There are several soft noises that can barely be heard in SOUNDS.GOB. Don't underestimate these. Ofttimes, they won't be noticed until they're gone! That's a very good thing to accomplish. These sounds fall into the category with the Dark Side. Some of these are TRACKER.VOC and RUMBLE.VOC. These can be used in several different places, for different purposes. Above all, remember to put thought into every one of your objects and sounds. The tracker VOC can be used to create something of a foreboding atmosphere. It is best placed to create a hint of machinery where none is seen. Rumble can be used in any spaceport or hangar, and for special events such as a rockslide or something. Download a few custom VOCs and you'll find MFINCAVE.VOC, another good one. This one can be used just about everywhere there's an Imperial base - this sound just seems to flood right out of the walls where it should be coming from.
Then, there's also quite loud sounds! ELECTRIC.VOC can be used to jolt (no pun intended) your player to attention. But make sure there's probable cause to place it! CHUKL-1.VOC can make your player quite self-conscious, and will not be missed if placed very near the player.
Then, there's sounds that you'll almost never use. I can't imagine ever using any of the Kell dragon sounds for ambients! Nor much of the spoken stuff like what the troopers say when they meet you.
LESSON THREE - IN CONJUNCTION
Always attempt to use all of the tools at your disposition in conjunction with other tools. One singular tool will never accomplish the goal, it will take all of them. In this case the goal is atmosphere.
Use certain sounds in conjunction with light levels to make different atmospheres: low and something of a creaking sound can make your player somewhat scared, in something of a Gothic feel. Brightness and Kyle saying something could make your player happy.
However, never forget your music. While music can be used to your advantage, it is ofttimes to your disadvantage. It drowns out your sounds! Consider quiet music. Or, consider using GMIDs of silence for no music! Sounds are infinitely more important than music, because your sounds can be customized to where you are. If the music could be made to change at certain points (i.e. if you could send messages to the music), then it'd be way up there. But, unfortunately, you can't. So be careful.