Da Invincible - Arcade first person shooter

Project overview

Platform: PC

Engine and tool: Unreal Engine 4, Perforce, Cubase Element

Role: Audio Designer

Understand the game and addressing the audio problems

Since I was not in the game's development process before its public release, it is important for me to catch up on its features (weapons, enemies, movement mechanics, ..), from that I will be able to formulate an audio asset lists, and my creative direction. 

Gameplay before the audio overhaul

Technical challenges

unreal engine's 4 built-in audio limitation

In most of the project that I have participated, FMOD has always been the middle-ware that I used to implement and mix the audio. However, it is not a viable option this time due to the time and technical limitation (was given 2 weeks working mostly on my own). Therefore, I have to settle with using the built-in audio of the engine. This mean there will be: 

  • No profiling tool. Debugging will be a challenge.

  • (Almost) no live mixing. Have to rely heavily on Cubase to make sure the sfx sound right. 

  

Adapt and overcome

One of the issue with the game was audio clipping. Without live audio profiling, it is a challenge to tell which sound cue caused the clipping. In order to solve this I used the process of elimination and disable each mixer group one by one until the clipping is gone and find out which sound cue is that group cause the clipping.

When it comes to mixing, UE4's built-in audio has the minimum bare-bone (volume, pitch,...). Therefore I have to spend more time mixing the sound in Cubase to make sure it is at its best shape, export the sound effects to multiple layers and use the random node to mix/match and create different variable of one sound effects. 

Making the overhaul

In the making of the audio overhaul, these are my main design pillar I have in order to improve the audio of the game.

The shinier the weapon, the more powerful the sound

Make a clear distinction between the gunshot of each upgraded weapons.

Just enough impact

Some of the sound in the original version tends to overdo when it is not suppose to for example the footsteps sound, the player's grunt when they got shot/jump up and down. 

I intended to tone it down to the level where the player can still notice that it is there, but does not get in the way of the gunshots.

Sound ducking - eliminate all the clipping

Using unreal's engine audio ducking features to fade out all the sound effects that are being played with a high rate and fade in, make the sound effects that plays vital part to the game's feedback (example: player's receiving damage) more dominant in the mixer when they are cued in.

Sound overhaul overview

Gameplay after the overhaul

Responsibility

  • Overhaul the game's audio by remixing the sound effects and optimising (prevent sound clipping, tidy up the mixes)

  • Audio Implementation 

Achievement

  • In under 2 weeks, the game audio had been improved, properly mixed, the sound effects has been improved and works better with the gameplay. 

  • Overcome Unreal Engine 4 build-in audio system's limitation

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