Sounds of Footsteps

Hello everyone! It’s time for another weekly devlog update, this time about footsteps and sound!

But first, we know, we missed a week. We had our hopes up for our little Gumlin. We really did. But, unfortunately, it had found its way into a big supply of hallonbĂ„tar, devoured them, and then dozed of for the rest of the week. Hopefully it has learned a lesson and next time it will actually deliver on that blog post. But let’s return to the real update!

Devlog 10

Pontus “Sparkles” Andersson

Taking Steps

SO, footstep sounds, something that can be very important for a video game depending on the genre and usage area. In many FPS games they give spatial cues about other characters location, which in many cases is a tactical advantage. Another example, as in our case, is that particular footstep sound can help with establishing the physical presence of the player’s character in the game world. This is done by accounting for two factors: the physical characteristics of the character itself, as well as the physical material that is stepped upon.

We do already have footstep sounds in our game, but these were designed with a human character in mind. Since the player is not human anymore, there is an opportunity to re-designed them to match that fact. To have some inspiration to work towards, I imagined our character to sound something in the lines of a worker robot in a cargo bay -like a more flexible fork lift of sorts. In other words, heavy and clunky.

I collected a bunch of different sounds that could fit that description and started layering them and just trying stuff out. Here is and example of what a typical footstep event could look like in FMOD:

A screenshot of the FMOD client

This particular event is supposed to be played when the player steps on a metallic surface. Currently there are 4 sound variations depending on the surface type: metal, wood, a specific catwalk sound, and some textile (carpet). I’ll add some examples for you to listen to.

I’ve also made it possible to mix and match, or blend, between materials. For example, should a carpet lie on top of a wooden floor (as they are known to do), we could blend in some of the textile footstep and lower the volume of the wooden one, like this:

In fact, it is extremely easy to blend any two (or more) material sounds together thanks to the implementation in FMOD. Currently every material and it’s corresponding sounds exists in a matrix view, and should you like to mix any two of them, you simply add one material’s main event sound to the other one. it might become easier to understand with an image:

Another image of the FMOD client

Each column corresponds to an unique surface type in the Unreal Editor. We can see that the Wood type only play the wood event, but the WoodTextile plays both the wood and textile event. From here it’s also possible to tweak some pitching or play around with an equalizer to further customize the blend (or single material sound for that matter).

Looking Further Ahead

It’s worth mentioning that this is the first iteration of new footstep sounds and there are some stuff I would like to improve. For example, there isn’t that much that suggests that the footsteps belongs to a robotic being. I would like to add some hydraulic whirrs or clinks that should anticipate the character’s step. That could really spice things up! However, that is something that will have to be put on hold for now as these new sound are good enough for the time being. I believe this is a step in the right direction (no pun intended).

Oh, one last thing! Gamescom is around the corner and we’re super exicted! While we are not attending physically ourselves this year, Mind Detonator will be there and spread our word for us! That being said, we have spent some time touching up previous pitch material and other stuff that is good to have in these scenarios.

That’s it for this time! Thanks for reading and should you have any questions or comments, we’re available on our Discord.

Another day another repeat and please for the love of the Gumlin…

Sounds are nice, someone told me check something out…

~ The Gumlin

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