Developer Roundtable 3: New 'n' Tasty's New Beats
We’ve already shown Oddworld fans how New ‘n’ Tasty looks, but we haven’t talked about how the game sounds yet. This developer diary – the third entry in the series – talks about the game’s audio. We had Spag Gaps Pags ask:
“Will you guys keep the same music style as the first two? Those were far-out ambient tunes!”
Here to fill us in on that topic (and other sound-related topics) is Mike Taylor – our audio engineer.
“What we’re doing with New ‘n’ Tasty is re-doing the original music, keeping to the same style and feel as the original. The cut-scenes in the game are all brand new, and are being re-made from the ground up, so we’re getting new music written and rewritten for those scenes by Michael Bross.
“However, we found the original music from the PSX game in the Oddworld archives, and it was at 44.1 kHz quality. That’s CD quality and is fine for our use. We have, of course, polished it up in some places, just to make it really shine!
A piece of ambience from Monsaic Lines.
“With it being good enough to go into the game more-or-less as is, we’ve been able to spend time making improvements to the original music system. There have been a lot of advances in game music since 1997, and there are a lot less current hardware limitations too.
“In the original game, music changes happened in response to nearby events and reveals. On the PlayStation version of the game, the heavy drum beats that warned the player of danger nearby would often be playing as you were halfway across an empty screen! This was usually caused by the music system loading much slower than the actual game screen, so it would be warning you of the Slig that you were already half a screen closer towards.
With today’s technology, we’ve been able to take that existing system design and tighten all the screws, making it much more responsive and far more in tune with what the player is doing and seeing.
“It’ll make a lot more sense and be a lot more tense, now, when those big heavy drums start beating!
“You can’t talk about music without talking about the sounds, and sadly we weren’t able to find the original sound effects to reuse this time around. Even if we’d found them, we would have had to work heavily to make them fit for today’s use. Modern gamers expect a higher level of variation and dynamics than in 1997.
“We did find some voice samples, but not at CD quality, and with very limited variations. There was only one voice for the Mudokon Slave, for example – the sound was pitch-shifted up or down depending on environment and location!
“So we turned to Lorne Lanning to provide the iconic voice of Abe and the Sligs. Who else would know best about how to keep the original rhythm and feel of the Abe/Mudokon “Hello / hello / Follow me / OK”?
“And for New ’n’ Tasty, we’ve enlisted the help of the fans to supply us with the array of potential Mudokon voices that we need, as well as a few very special guests.
“The details of who we’ve chosen to include will be coming in a later Dev Diary or Oddworld update. We’re hard at work filing off the edges and slotting them into the game where needed, but we know you want to hear if you’re going to be hearing yourself in-game!”
Well there you have it, Inhabitants! Your first peek into how New ‘n’ Tasty is going to sound. Next time: How New ‘n’ Tasty is going to smell! …Just kidding, television technology haven’t caught up to project the horrors of Abe’s fart stench. And seriously, we hope for Earth’s sake it never will.