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Author Topic: Simutrans sounds  (Read 5166 times)

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Offline dannystaple

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Simutrans sounds
« on: July 21, 2009, 02:00:27 PM »
The problem of them being annoying is one of which I am aware; I strongly suspect that it substantially reduces uptake of this feature. Firstly, the sounds could do with being a little quieter and more subtle, which is a matter for pakset authors. But, secondly, in a busy area, they are played far too often and become extremely annoying by being repetitious. In the most recent version of Simutrans-Experimental, I have addressed this: now, the vehicle starting noises do not play if another vehicle starting noise has played within the last 10-30 seconds (the point within that range is randomised).
I find that these sounds are too "incidental". Transport sounds could perhaps be more ambient. I will say what I mean by that - a train passing by could just gently rattle along its tracks - dopplering (it fast enough) as they pass the centre of the screen - with similar stuff for trucks. Some train types make distinctive sounds when pulling off a station, which I can see about using my phone to record-  they wont be great quality though - but I use enough trains every day to know which ones may be good..
Also some ambient bird song, or factory noises, or that ambient city noise when hovering on a city may help.

The music - I actually think that should be left well alone. Either let people use their own MP3 players, or drop mp3s in a directory to play (as SC 4 does).


I should mention, I was the principle sound developer on a couple of Playstation 2 games - so I have a bit of background in this.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2009, 02:09:06 PM by Isaac.Eiland-Hall »

Offline Spike

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Re: Simutrans sounds
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2009, 02:04:18 PM »
Help is always welcome. I had no experience with sound programming at all that time and I only very few sounds to choose from. I'm sure Prissi will welcome any kind of help there, be it with coding or with suppling better sounds.

Offline Isaac.Eiland-Hall us

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Re: Simutrans sounds
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2009, 02:14:54 PM »
I merged the double-post. We ask forum posters to "modify" their message instead of a new post if it's been within 24hrs and they're the last poster in a thread. Just so you know. :)

I think the main problem with sounds is... well... Consider: Programmers must program the game, but they may or may not have the skills to create content for the game.

Artists may develop graphics by using various software.

Sound, however, is the most difficult. Someone must go record something, most likely. Or find good free no-license sounds...

Simutrans is a surprisingly small community... It seems we have had many geniuses with programming and graphics; but we lack someone with sufficient sound resources thus far.

I do have some audio skills, in that I create sound for most of the plays at my local theatre; but this is usually a matter of finding the appropriate sounds and editing them; and the license for the sounds I have doesn't allow me to offer them to Simutrans...

If you had pointers for me, I'd be glad to try and provide better sounds for Simutrans. And if you were able to help with sounds, I think that would also be welcome.

I always play with sounds off, because I find the ones we have annoying. I'd love to see us have sound support like SimCity 3 or 4... :-)

Also, I know there was discussion of the possibility of supporting OGG in-game for music. I'm not sure what happened to that - I think nobody who can code was sufficiently interested. I'm disappointed, because I wanted to contribute music to the game. :) But ultimately - people can play music in another program while they play. Sound effects, however, have no such alternative except mute.

Offline dannystaple

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Re: Simutrans sounds
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2009, 02:35:52 PM »
Thanks Isaac - I hadn't spotted that bit sorry. I have both audio skill and programming skills, what I lack mostly is time at the moment. I also realise, when it comes to recording sounds, they will almost exclusively be EMU's and DMU's. Let me have a think about this. The first thing perhaps is to find out a bit about the game engine and its hooks for sounds. Also if it will support granular sounds that are not chip-sounds, but semi constructed using grains - these should be adaptable for many things like trains and vehicles, as well as for constructing ambient. I need to go find out (as a start) what is needed to build an SVN simutrans first...

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Simutrans sounds
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2009, 02:57:54 PM »
Very interesting discussion about sounds. There are two separate issues: (1) recording; and (2) programming. One potentially efficient way to get licensable sounds for a wide range of vehicles is to scour YouTube for amateur videos of similar types of vehicles, then politely request the authors for permission to use sound extracts from them in Simutrans. If the project is open-source (meaning that their work will not be exploited commercially without royalty payments), many may be inclined to agree. As for older vehicles, a great many vehicles are preserved, and people often take videos of the preserved vehicles running. The older that the vehicle is, the less likely that it is that there will be a specific sound for it, so there will have to be some improvisation in using existing sounds.

Those with sound editing skills can then take the sounds from the YouTube videos where the authors have given their permission and remix them slightly to work better in the environment of the game. That can all be done without any programming, and, together with the annoyance-reduction delay in Simutrans-Experimental could by itself improve the quality of sounds considerably.

As to ambient sound, that would indeed require more programming. The game would have to detect whether one is hovering over a city, town, small village, forest, woodland or the sea, and play ambient sounds accordingly. There could be additional ambient sounds for stations or passing vehicles, although the latter in particular would, I suspect, be extremely difficult to code correctly; what happens, for example, if a user moves the window just as a vehicle is passing? What does a user hear if a vehicle is being followed, and three or four other vehicles (a train, a bus, two aircraft...) pass by at the same time? It could get very complicated.

Greatly increasing the number of sounds would also increase considerably the download sizes of paksets, which should also be taken into consideration.

As to music, as stated before, there is no advantage of having music playing software built into Simutrans now that everybody uses multi-tasking operating systems.

Offline dannystaple

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Re: Simutrans sounds
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2009, 03:15:42 PM »
"Greatly increasing the number of sounds would also increase considerably the download sizes of paksets, which should also be taken into consideration." - unless we can find clever ways to use granular semi-chip style sounds. Then we only need to add samples of the grains. This should work well for engine noises. Perhaps I should knock up a demo to give people an idea of what that means...

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Simutrans sounds
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2009, 03:39:41 PM »
Hmm, that sounds complicated. How would using samples of particular vehicles' sounds work in that context? However, if it makes the sounds work better, it may be worth a try. A demonstration would be very interesting indeed.

Offline sojo

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Re: Simutrans sounds
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2009, 06:24:57 PM »
Mayby you can use sounds from: http://www.freesound.org/searchText.php .

I had tested some sounds from there for pak96.comic. This sounds were nice.

Edit: I think, all sounds use http://creativecommons.org/licenses/sampling+/1.0/