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开发者浅谈音效在电子游戏中的8种基本应用

发布时间:2019-11-20 08:48:52 Tags:,

开发者浅谈音效在电子游戏中的8种基本应用

原作者:Elliot Callighan 译者:Vivian Xue

声音的美妙之处在于它能够营造许许多多的效果。此外,从情感、信息量和清晰度的角度来看,同一声音在不同情境下的意义是不同的。我在德保罗大学教授游戏声效课程时,我总是提醒学生注意当同样的声音出现在不同的游戏中时,我们对它们所做出的不同反应。

声音的力量是强大的。如果你在制作游戏,你应当思考音效能够在游戏中发挥的作用,或者与懂得声音的作用及应用方式的人士合作。单个声音能够同时发挥许多作用。基于此,我们将介绍8种不同的游戏音效应用方式。

1. 背景/叙事音(避免违和)

这大概是音效最直接的应用方式。当游戏中发生动作时——角色移动、施放技能,或是玩家在用户界面中进行选择——我们需要同时听到理所应当产生的声音。如果我们没能听到预期的声音,这可能会严重破坏游戏体验的真实感和沉浸度。这些声音必须存在,但它们必须与视觉效果良好地结合。若音效的开始或结束与视觉效果不同步,这和没有音效一样糟糕。

几乎每一款游戏中都充满了这种类型的音效,但最能展示这种音效本质的例子是游戏《知觉》(Perception)。

这款游戏的设计理念是,我们看到的一切事物都基于空间/世界中的声音,类似于回声定位。如果物品本身不发声,我们看见它的唯一方式就是让声音穿越空间,触碰到物体表面后返回听者的耳朵。我们看见的所有事物都基于声音,因此如果我们看到了什么,这是因为该动作/物体/事件的固有声音。游戏世界中存在各种声音,可想这些声音有多么重要。

3d-audio(from futuristicnews.com)

3d-audio(from futuristicnews.com)

2. 引起玩家注意

从设计的角度来看,音效的一个重要作用是引起玩家的注意。在具有庞大世界的RPG中,他们能否被新场景的艺术效果或环境所震撼?在平台游戏中,他们能否从一个水平面跳到另一个水平面?他们准备好躲避敌人的攻击了吗?

大多数情况下,听觉提示和视觉提示是结为一体的。这将有效告知玩家某件事物很重要、值得他们关注。然而,分割听觉提示和视觉提示能够营造强大的效果,对玩家产生极大的影响。让我们来看游戏《失忆症:黑暗后裔》(Amnesia: The Dark Descent)中的一个片段:

如果没有这些溅起水花的脚步声,你能想象在箱子之间跳来跳去有多无聊吗?这些箱子是真正的焦点吗?完全不是。这些持续提醒玩家危机即将来临的声音是如此强烈,以至于玩家不需要看到水中怪物的脚步就足以感到恐惧。

3. 定义空间性质

我们习惯了不同空间中的声音。如果你在一个小房间里呐喊,声音和在一个空旷的体育场里是截然不同的。在更大的空间中,不仅声音返回人耳所需的时间更长,我们听到的大部分声音都是回声。

在大型运动场里,我们的声音会向各个方向传播,直接传到听者耳朵里的声音非常小。即便声音无法直接传到听者耳朵中,但它会在触碰到各种平面后反弹回人耳,因此听者可能还是能听见声音。这就叫做回声,我们在大空间中听到的大多是这种声音。

在小空间中,听者距离声音源头更近。这意味着大部分声音将直接传到听者耳朵中,并且回声到达人耳的时间更短。这就造成了不同大小的空间中声音的差别。此外,这些空间中物体的材质将对我们听到的声音产生重要影响。相比于一个存在弯曲的布沙发的空间,若空间中的事物拥有坚硬平坦的表面,某些声音将被放大。

如果我们不重视和模拟这些声效特点,游戏世界将缺乏真实感。游戏音效团队总是投入大量时间确保真实感。

4. 营造环境/情绪

这种应用强调的是玩家体验游戏时的感受。相比于前一种应用——使空间符合其物理特性,这种应用注重空间的情感。

大空间总是给人震撼、宏伟、危险、奇妙、激动、紧张——等等数不尽的感觉。每个声音和音符都能制造一种情感印象,前提是我们想要并且懂得如何运用它。在静音模式下观看《生化奇兵》的开场动画。它看上去很诡异,它无法激发情绪反应。

现在,打开声音并闭上双眼,注意在没有视觉元素的情况下你产生的感受。当然,声音和图像的结合才能带来真正的影响,但请注意这种情感的真正来源在哪。

5. 强调/强化动作

我认为这种应用的最佳例子是《毁灭战士》系列和昆汀的电影。声音除了表明某个动作被实施,还能为该动作增添一种本不具备的力度。任何团队在制作有着强烈“风格”的作品时,都会着重考虑音效对作品整体美感的影响。这是非常重要的。

一个很好的例子:如果id Software工作室没有深入思考《毁灭战士》音效的本质,结局的体验将毁掉整个游戏世界的意义。

这一点不仅体现在《毁灭战士》这样的整个声音场景中,也体现在单个技能或动作的声效上。某些声音肯定不适合作为治疗法术的音效,对吧?我们如何使用一个声音表达同时具有积极、消极、迷惑和危险性的事物?

6. 增强沉浸感(在VR中)

这种音效与之前提到的背景/叙事音效以及定义空间性质的音效不同。这两种音效的作用是使游戏中的事物感觉“可信”,沉浸指的是玩家真正置身于该空间中。

沉浸感指失去对自身所处环境的知觉,感觉自己实际存在另一个空间里,或是占据了他人的身体。你的注意力从用你的肢体控制虚拟世界的某些事物,转移到感觉自己仿佛真正进入并控制了虚拟世界。这是一个巨大的飞跃。

随着技术的进步和普及,空间和立体音效已被整合进VR体验中。如今我们不仅能呈现左边或右边的声音,我们能够精确地模拟声音在大小不同、包含材质不同的3D空间中以及当你所面对的方向不同时呈现出的特点。

但终极的沉浸感是通过双耳声实现的。我们听到的声音不仅受到空间的影响,还有人耳在该空间中感知声音的方式。尽管空间立体声是一种令人难以置信的体验,但它们最终提高的是“可信度”。特别是立体音,它在VR中有着许多应用,因为它是物理空间中围绕一个点的球形声音范围,并且可以转化到耳机中回放。

然而,谈到最具沉浸感的听觉体验,没有什么能与双耳声匹敌。这种音频格式使你真正获得身临其境的感觉。

然而,双耳声的缺陷是它是根据麦克风或听者的位置产生的。由于我们通常在游戏中移动,准确地重现这种声音并不容易,并且如果错误地使用它,它可能会导致晕动病(生活中通常被称为晕车、晕机和晕船,是一种平衡失调的疾病。)这就是这种音效的强大之处。

7. 控制玩法节奏

这种应用常见于节奏类游戏。如果你看过严肃的《劲舞革命》比赛,你就知道这些游戏的节奏能有多快。玩家们能够根据提示符号快速准确地判断踏脚的时间,一个很大的原因是音乐给了他们一个参照。

另一种应用是具有声音提示的计时器。许多游戏都有计时器,但当我们进入最后十秒左右时,计时器的要么开始发出声音,要么声音逐渐放大。这在提示你尽快完成一个行动/谜题/目标。

8. 使游戏流畅过渡

这种应用又分为许多种形式,取决于游戏的类型和机制,我无法一一列举。但我可以确定其中两种形式会出现在你的游戏中:一种是剧情/过场动画和玩法之间的过渡,一种是加载界面。

特别是在3A游戏中,我们可能经常会在线性剧情和玩法之间切换。在我最近玩的军事类射击游戏中,15分钟的游戏可能包含两三段线性剧情。通过结合音效和视觉效果,这个切换过程将显得轻松且无缝衔接——游戏体验就像看电影一样。

加载界面是另外一种过渡形式。开发者总在想方设法减少加载界面对游戏体验造成的“拖拉感”,例如南梦宫在读盘界面中插入了《Star Blade》迷你小游戏。但有时传统的加载界面是必不可少的,这时就得靠音效和音乐来增强它们的趣味性了。

总结

我们了解了利用音效提升游戏体验的8种方式,但还有许多其它方式。为了创造吸引人的体验,你必须使游戏音效满足上述各个方面,并且有目的地使用它们。你需要花时间和心思研究如何通过音效实现上述目标,否则游戏体验将变得乏味枯燥,毫无沉浸感。

本文由游戏邦编译,转载请注明来源,或咨询微信zhengjintiao

One of the wonderful things about sound is that it can accomplish many different things. Additionally, the same sound used in one context can have a completely different meaning in another. This is true from an emotional, informative and clarity standpoint. In my game audio classes at DePaul University, I always point out moments when we hear the same thing in games but have a very different response or reaction to them.

Sound is powerful. If you work in games, you should think about its capabilities for your project, or work with someone who understands what effects it can have and all the ways it can be used. A single sound can be doing many different things at once. With that in mind, here are eight different ways sound can be used in games:

1. Contextual/narrative sound

This is probably the most straightforward entry on this list. When an action happens — such as a character moving, using an ability, or the player selecting something in the UI — we need to hear something that seems “appropriate” concurrently. If we don’t hear something when expected, it can be one of the most powerful ways to lose that sense of suspending disbelief or “buying” into the experience. These sounds need to be present, but also need to be choreographed to the visual gesture. Starting or stopping “out of sync” is just as much of a glaring error as not having the sound at all.

Pretty much every game is brimming with sound filling this role, but for an even more visceral example check out the game, Perception.

The premise of Perception is everything we see is based on sound in the space/world. Think of it as similar to echo-location. If something isn’t generating sound on its own, the only way we see it is if sound travels out, bounces off surfaces in the environment, and returns to the listener. Everything we see is based on sound, so if we see anything it’s because that action/object/event has an intrinsic sound with it. For some, seeing all the sounds that populate our game worlds can help make it clear how vital the sounds are.

2. Focus attention

A very powerful intent from a design perspective is what our player is focusing on. Are they marvelling at the art or environment of a new area in an RPG with a massive world? Will they be able to make the jump from one level to another in a platformer? Do they need to be ready to dodge an enemy attack?

Most times, the auditory and visual cues work in conjunction with one another. This makes it very persuasive in telling the player that something is important and deserves their attention. However, having separate visual and auditory cues can be very powerful and have incredible effects on the player. Look at this sequence from Amnesia: The Dark Descent:

Can you imagine how boring hopping between boxes would be without hearing the splashing footsteps coming after you? Are the boxes the real focus this whole time? No, not at all. That constant auditory reminder of impending doom is so strong — so strong that the player doesn’t need to see the footsteps of the monster in the water to be utterly terrified of it.

3. Define space

We are used to different spaces sounding differently. If you yell in a small room, it sounds very different than yelling in an empty sports arena. Not only does it take longer for sound to reach a listener’s ear in a larger space, but when we’re in large spaces most of what we hear is reflected sound as opposed to direct sound.

The sound of our voices goes out in every direction, with very little of it travelling directly to a listener’s ear when in a large space like an arena. A listener may still hear this sound even if it doesn’t travel directly to their ears, but not until after it’s bounced off a number of surfaces. This is what’s called reflected sound, and it’s most of what we’ll hear in a large space.

In a small space, the listener will be closer. This means more will go directly to their ear, and the reflected sound will take less time to reach their ear. This gives a very different character to everything we hear in a small space as opposed to a large space. Additionally, the materials present in these spaces play a huge part in what sounds we hear. We hear certain types of sounds more when hard, flat surfaces are present as opposed to curved, cloth couches.

If we don’t acknowledge and emulate these sound characteristics, our game worlds will never feel real. Game audio folks spend a lot of time ensuring game worlds feel real. Here is a portion of the implementation used in Hitman 2 to ensure this happened:

4. Create atmosphere/mood

This is referencing the emotion a player feels while experiencing your game. While the previous point pertained to making a space feel right in terms of physics, this point is in terms of emotion.

A large space can be awe-inspiring, majestic, threatening, magical, exciting, intense — the list could go on forever. Every sound and note we hear has the ability to give an emotional impression, but only if we want it to, and know how to execute it well. Watch the opening to Bioshock on mute. It looks creepy, but this experience lacks any sort of visceral emotional response.

Now, play the opening with the sound on and close your eyes. Pay attention to how much emotion you feel with no visual component. Of course, the real impact is achieved when we have both the visual and working together, but pay attention to where the emotional part of the experience is coming from.

5. Emphasise/intensify action

My favourite example of this is Doom, as well as any Tarantino movie. More than having a sound be present for a gesture, audio can add a layer of intensity that isn’t naturally there. Any team creating an experience that is highly “stylised” will have given significant thought to how the audio contributes to the overall aesthetic. It is that important.

Case in point: if id Software hadn’t been incredibly thoughtful on what the nature of Doom was, the end experience could have missed the whole point of its world. Don’t believe me? Listen to this:

A far cry from the intended experience of Doom, right?

This effect can be true for entire soundscapes like in Doom, but it can also be true for single ability or action sounds. There are certain sounds that just aren’t appropriate for a healing spell, right? How can we communicate something positive, negative, disorienting, dangerous, all in a single sound?

Here are a number of ability sounds I created for Card Chronicles: Sentinels, which all needed to communicate the nature of the ability being used by the quality of its corresponding sound. What makes the healing spell sound feel appropriate for a healing spell?

6. Promote immersion (in VR)

This is very different than the contextual/narrative and space defining audio we looked at already. While you could describe both these capabilities of audio as making something in your game feel “believable,” immersion is the sense of the player actually being in that space.

Immersion is getting someone to lose the sense of their physical self and feel like they are actually in another space, or occupying a body other than their own. Your attention shifts from controlling something in a digital world using your physical body to feeling as if you are actually occupying the digital world. That is a huge jump.

Advancements and accessibility of technology have made techniques such as spatial and ambisonic audio integral to the VR experience. More than hearing something to your left or right, we can accurately simulate that qualities of sound emulating from different points in 3D space in different sized spaces, with different materials, and when you’re looking in one direction versus another.

But the ultimate audio sensation of immersion is through binaural audio experiences. Not only do we hear the qualities of sound being affected by different spaces, but we can experience how the human ear perceives audio in that space as well. While ambisonic and spatial audio are incredible experiences, they are ultimately taking “believeablity” to a higher level. Ambisonics audio, in particular, has many applications in VR since it is a format of an entire sphere of sound around a point in physical space, and can be converted to playback in headphones.

However, for the most immersive audio experience, nothing beats binaural audio. This audio format makes you feel like you are actually there. If you want to better understand what this difference in experience is, grab some headphones and listen to this:

Pretty amazing, isn’t it?

Now, the drawback with binaural audio is that it’s generated relative to where a microphone or listener is. Since we usually move in our game environments, it’s not easy to replicate accurately, and it can cause motion sickness if not used correctly. That’s how powerful this stuff can be.

7. Setting pace as gameplay function

The most common example of this is in the use of rhythm games. If you’ve ever seen a serious Dance Dance Revolution tournament, you know how fast and intense these games can be. A big reason the player is able to quickly and accurately time their feet to the visual cues is because of the music giving them a constant frame of reference.

A different example of this is any sort of timer that has an associated audio cue. Many games have a timer that is ever present, but when we get to our last ten seconds or so, the timer’s audio either becomes audible or is louder in the mix. It gets the point across that you need to complete an action/puzzle/objective sooner rather than later.

8. Smooth transitions

There are a couple of different flavours to this one, and many more than I can speak about depending on the genre and mechanics of your game. But the two that I can touch on with certainty that they’ll be relevant to you are: transitioning between story/cinematic and gameplay, as well as loading screens.

Particularly in AAA titles, we are potentially switching between linear story elements and gameplay sequences regularly. In the playthroughs I’ve had with recent military shooters, 15 minutes of the game can have two or three moments of linear story. Using audio in conjunction with a visual effect or shift can make this transition feel effortless and seamless — almost like playing through a movie as opposed to pausing your gameplay experience.

Another flavour of smoothing transitions is during loading screens. Developers have come up with a ton of great ways to make loading screens less of a “drag” on the experience, such as Namco having the Star Blade mini game. But sometimes a traditional loading is inevitable, and audio and music can help make these moments much more interesting. Mute the video below if you want to see how much a loading screen with audio can be a complete bore.

Let’s wrap up

We’ve looked at eight different ways audio can enhance your game, but there many others. In order to ensure your game has an engaging experience, the audio needs hit on all of these dimensions and be purposeful in its execution. Time and thought need to be given to what you’re trying to accomplish and how audio can help achieve it. Without that, a game will be missing an entire dimension of effective and engaging experience. (source:Gamesindustry.biz

 


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