OverDose, ladies and gentlemen, is dead… Dead as a can of spam. That is of course you’re one of the internet busybodies who seem to know everything about our development. Its sarcasm guys, I’m British. You’ll get used to it ;) Things have been mental, moving home, sorting out my wedding (December 27th, and thank you!), all sorts. It’s been crazy! So, what’s it been? About 2 weeks since our last update? Well, I guess we have a lot to talk about… Lets start with the sound, shall we?
OverDose Has A New, Built From The Ground Up Sound System
You know that stuff that comes from your speakers? That’s called sound. The problem is that most game developers sort of forget that sound exists. The real reason is pretty obvious… You can’t show off sound in a (Faked) screenshot. Sound doesn’t sell. Pretty graphics and, occasionally, boobies… Those sell. So most game devs forget all about giving any sort of attention to sound. This means you get in the game and get smacked in the face with per pixel wibbles and million polygon wobbles, but the sound is the same as Half-Life, which dropped in 1998. Wow, 1998… Time flies when you’re stuck in an air duct with just a crow bar. It’s the reason that you play a game as amazing as Wolfenstein: New Order (Haven’t played it? Fix that.) and hear some impressive sounds, but notice that the actual sound design, the tech behind it, is flawed. Gun shots as loud as voices is a common problem. It’s all a bit STALE.
So, what are we doing with our single coder? It’s simple… Everything we can. The first thing we do, is allow our mappers to split levels up into “areas”. These “areas” are fantastic for a multitude of reasons, they allow the designers to set up different graphical effects, weather effects, wind amounts, post processing… All sorts. But they also allow us to set up different sound settings per location. This is how we can make an air vent give that lovely metallic echo, or a toilet sound, well, like a toilet. It’s classy. It’s sexy. It’s powerful. It’s also very, very easy to use. Take a look:
As well as, of course, allowing the designers to totally tweak each speaker entity to their hearts content to get it just how they want.
But we try not to stop there. Another simple idea we have is that all our locations can actually have a delay on echo. It’s a simple idea really, it’s that sound you hear when out in a large location. Make a bang and listen for the follow up echoes. It’s very effective. But like I said, it’s not really something I can show in a screenshot. So, here’s a duck. See if you can hear the echo:
Another thing we have added is something not a lot of people ever think about or even know about. It’s called HDR Audio. In theory, it's the same as HDR lighting in a way. One fakes a high dynamic range in LDR monitors by scaling and remapping light levels. the other fakes a high dynamic range in LDR speakers by scaling and remapping amplitude levels. It’s basically the same concept really. The idea is that every sound has a volume. A babies cry is far louder than the sound of a dripping tap, for example. So, have you ever tried to listen to a dripping tap while hearing a baby cry? Ever had loud music on and had a hard time hearing somebody who was speaking to you? It’s the same idea… One sound drowns out the other. And that’s what our new sound engine does, it figures out the current highest volume and loudness, then rescales the volumes of all other playing sounds. It’s simple, but again, very effective. It just doesn’t make for very good pictures, that’s all. Thankfully we have a LOT of sound tools that help the designer to get just the right effect.
OverDose Now Has A Fully Scriptable Particle And FX System
I know, you’re likely thinking if you read that right? Well, we’ve been busy. What most games do these days is hard code a bunch of stuff, flop it out, and let you just get on with it. But we don’t like chains, no sir no way. So we took a leaf out of the legends that are id Software here as well. Everything in OverDose remember is to be fully scriptable and can be changed by even a twerp with notepad. The same goes for all our FX and particle files. Don’t think the effect a bullet makes as it rips into sand? CHANGE IT. Just open the text file, edit it, and save. Boom, done. Who knows, maybe you can even lick our own work and make some pretty sexy effects that we could adopt? It really is as simple as this:
So of course, you get some nice effects where the only real limit is on what you feel you want to do. I can’t wait to see what people come up with for this :)
As I mentioned previously, the website just wasn’t getting enough traffic compared to our ModDB page here, and so we decided to let our contract end and not renew. Both Nicolas and I have our own lives, with our own expenditures, and we do OverDose in our free time. So spending money on a website we couldn’t afford that wasn’t being used seemed like a bit of a silly idea. Granted, when OverDose is ready, the site will be back up and boom… Its on like Donkey Kong. But for now, we will remain using our ModDB site.
Donating To The OverDose Project
As always, the guys here at Team Blur Games are making OverDose with an exceptionally high hourly wage, plus several holidays per month and a monthly bonus. Also, look at that pig flying outside my window? Nah, we don’t get anything for this work, and all work is done in our own time after we manage to sort out our own lives. Donating to the project allows more work to be done, more talent to be hired, the website to go live, and also allows us to look into new and better ways of supporting the game.
So if you’re a true OverDose supporter, any donation, no matter how small, goes a long way to helping us. Any funds we raise will go towards hiring out more talent and funding people for help, which we see as only fair. Its amazing we have gotten so far with so little funding at all, because pushing these visuals, creating this media with some really awesome people, all for free… Its fantastic. But I sure as hell wish we could repay these guys before the game ships, just to keep motivation up more than anything. Any donations, no matter how small, will go a long way. Thank you.
Lead Designer for Team Blur Games [TBG]