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Moriash Moreau: My Second Life
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
 
Sound and Fury
I've spent the past couple of evenings working on the entry lounge for the Garage of DOOM! Basically, I'm going for a typical small office building security office. Well, actually, I'm going for as-few-prims-as-possible chic, but with a general security office theme. So far, I have a plain little 8x8x4 room with a desk and a few chairs inside.

The desk holds a couple of black-and-white security monitors that show scenes from the four corners of the garage (one via a four frame animated image, one with a static texture displaying all four tiled onto the screen). I plan to add basic camera controls to the desk, allowing people sitting at either of the two desk chairs to observe the action inside the garage. The chairs will include four fixed camera positions, one in each corner of the complex, selected with the direction keys. At least, that's the plan.

I've also completed the down-transport system. It's a simple wooden chair that carries the player back to the ground. Or, if he prefers, he can simply open the back door and fall the 1.5 kilometers to the ground. It doesn't really matter which. And freefall can be quite relaxing after a life-and-death struggle with the undead.

A largish bulletin board has been placed on one wall of the security room/player lounge. For now, it's blank. Eventually, it will contain information on the monsters, power-ups, and so on. I'm of two minds about how much data to include on that, though. I'd originally planned on posting data on offense strength (in general terms, like "Low" or "Massive"), defense strength (same), and special abilities (flight, insubstantial nature). But I don't necessarily want to give away everything right off the bat. And I doubly don't want to have yet another impediment (development time for new game documentation) for game improvements.

I'd planned on getting a little work done on all this during lunch today, but I forgot about the grid update. So, instead, I spent my lunch hour finding and processing moans and groans. I've decided that the monsters are entirely too quiet. This is kind of bland, and also makes things a bit too difficult. For the most part, these creatures aren't of a type that should be able to sneak up on you. Zombies aren't known for their ninja-like stealth.

Each of the zombie types (ultimately, there will be four) has a set of three different moans. Newbie Zombie has regular, masculine sounding groans. Coffee Zombie has kind of dopey, tired sounding moans. Mall Zombie has three different groans in a higher register, including one 7+ second long aria of uncertain warbling that cracks me up every time. And the Kneebiter has the same moans as Newbie Zombie, only sped up about halfway to chipmunk speed. Each of these sounds will occur at random intervals, coinciding with the already included randomized chat channel lines.

Skeleton zombie will now have a soft, looping sound of rattling bones. The Rippers have had whining saw blades from the beginning. I'm not altogether certain what kind of noise the Jack o' Lanterns should make while in flight. What sound does a flying pumpkin make? I'm leaning toward a crackling flame sound, to go with the half-meter long torch particle effect, but I don't know if that will be sufficient. In early playtesting, I've found that I lose a considerable amount of health to unnoticed pumpkins exploding behind my back. I'd not really intended the Jack o' Lanterns to be quite so lethal. But I suppose that's a matter for playtesting.

I've created a couple of rasping/hissing sounds for the Vampire, including one that was originally sourced from a recording of a gila monster. But I'm not certain if they're really appropriate. The Vampire may stay just silent. I know that the Wraith will do so. That's part of the whole theme. The only time it makes a noise is when it's attacking.

My concern is whether anything can be heard during normal play. It's quite tempting to just run about with the machine gun chugging away (one argument for ammo limits, I guess). I've found that it's often difficult to hear the monster dispensers cycle (they make kind of a roaring/screeching sound when a new monster is rezzed). This early warning system is fairly important for long-term survival, especially when a monster appears right behind you. I'm going to have to come up with incentives to lay off the trigger from time to time.

More later.
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