Learning Curves and Frequencies

I've learned a lot working on Prune. One nice, nerdy-technical thing I've discovered is the importance of choosing separate frequency spectrums for your sound effects, and music. Because the majority of effects in this game convey very important information directly to the player, my rationale has been that the sounds NEED to be crystal clear, relevant to the task at hand and able to be audible at any point in the music. In this way the sound effects, at least for the game, were more directly relevant to the player than the music. Now, I’m certainly biased toward the importance of music in any medium, but in many cases the music, compared to the sound design, was the more indirect way of conveying information. And because of this, the best way to get the two disciplines to play nicely, was to keep the music and sound design in their own respective bandwidths; this eliminated a lot of trial-and-error/hair pulling/rage-tantrums during experimentation in the sound lab. And the important part of this decision was to remain consistent, after tastefully defining the audible ranges of course.

Another trick, that isn’t really a trick because it seems obvious, if your effects have a musical quality to them at all, and you want all audio to be seamless (trust me, you do, it makes everyone smile violently), then make certain your sounds work in the key your music is in; bearing key changes in mind, remember your IVs and Vs etc..

Also, let’s talk about Interference. While testing, we received some feedback that the flower bloom sounds, performed on Harp were a bit stuffy on the low end of the sonic spectrum (around 250ish Hz I was told). While the timbre of the instrument naturally produces lower frequencies (at least for the notes I chose), I had not accounted for the fact that the sounds would frequently be playing over top of each other in game, like so:

After stacking some sounds to test, here’s what my multimeter showed:

Indeed, you’ll notice that 250 - 350Hz is quite the popular frequency range. Now, you may be thinking so what, it never peaks above -15dB! But in this case, adding in the music + all of the other potential sound effects that could be going off simultaneously, and we get constructive interference; i.e. sound go boom. Or even worse, say multiple strikes happen simultaneously:

Pretty disgusting right? Looking at it more surgically, you can see the real culprits are poking through around 340 - 480ish Hz:

Anywho, thank you kind stranger for mentioning your thoughts and expanding my understanding of audio as a result. It is much appreciated!

p.s. If you happen to be on the mailing list, look for a free track in your email soon.  If you're not, feel free to sign up ovah heah.