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Game Demo Looks Great, Sound Mix Needs Work

posted by fleet on - last edited - Viewed by 1.4K 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
  • This, WASD remapping, and voice syncs are the biggest problem.
  • Yeah, not being able to clearly hear some of the characters very well was what bothered me the most. The WASD thing did a little at first, but I quicky got over that.
  • I'd like to add my voice to the chorus on the issue of this overly-aggressive mix - I hope it's something that will get fixed before release.

    What disturbs me more, though, is the loss of granular control over the elements that make up that sound mix. Setting the music and FX levels below the voice track was one of the things I did whenever I fired up a Sam & Max or Strong Bad episode for the first time. I suspect that eliminating this option is a combination of technical limitations and a sop to "simplicity" in the game's controls.

    Hopefully all of this is moot and I won't have any complaints come release day. :)
  • Something I've noticed with a lot of these games is the default audio setup always puts the background music too high, the dialogue is always fighting with the background.
  • Ninja;118269 said:
    This, WASD remapping, and voice syncs are the biggest problem.
    Voice syncs were fine, really. Just lower down your graphic settings a little.

    It's always a good idea to give the player total control over what he wants to hear loudest - SFX, music or dialogue. Hopefully we'll be able to this in the full game, or at least in a patch of some sort.

    Great work on the game all in all, I'm very impressed.
  • Now this is probably my computer's fault, but the dialogue would would repeat sometimes. Like that that. So is that just DirectX, or what?
  • Weeblerjake;118319 said:
    Now this is probably my computer's fault, but the dialogue would would repeat sometimes. Like that that. So is that just DirectX, or what?
    Its your graphic settings... try going into your game settings and turning down the graphic quality a bit
  • Also try updating your drivers, I had that issue with Sam and Max: Season One. Works like magic, them updates.
  • This should not have been moved to the support section. It is feedback on the game and constructive criticism of problems many of us have with the sound mix. The problems with the sound and dialogue clarity are not technical.
  • Can we please get a separate volume setting for music? I want to turn it off completely, it's annoying.
This discussion has been closed.