Players can’t wait for Sony Online Entertainment to release zombie survival game “H1Z1,” but the San Diego, California, developer wants to wait until everything’s just right before the launch of its masterpiece. Greg Spence, the game’s technical architect, Friday discussed how the sounds and music of “H1Z1” will contribute to the game’s realistic yet scary atmosphere.
“Creating an immersive environment is what ‘H1Z1’ is all about. We have day/night cycles and weather changes that play a big part in shaping your environment,” Spence said. “Ambient sounds also need to reflect these changes. So how do we do that?”
Spence said much of the advanced sounds and music are created by audio engineers. His job is to help them deliver data about the game state and environment so they can correctly manipulate the sounds themselves.
“Music is a very powerful entity in games. It stirs emotions, builds suspense and excitement, and can warn of impending danger,” Spence said. “We have a lot of capabilities when it comes to delivering music tracks during gameplay."
Spence said music is associated with certain points of interests. One of the most recent additions, he said, is tailoring the music based on a player's distance from specific points.
"So as you're walking a lonely road and come across a small town, music cues let you know that you're approaching something of interest," he said. "As you get closer to the center, the music builds like something you'd experience in a movie.”
Spence also discussed individual sounds, like the sound of gunfire -- and how they change in various environments.
“When you're outside on a nice sunny day, and decide to fire off some rounds from your assault rifle, you expect to hear those shots ringing from the mountains and valleys around you,” he said. “The outside air makes the gunshot sound a specific way. Now take that same assault rifle and go indoors. The sound should be quite different. On the game engine side, we mark up all of our terrain buildings with volumes and flag those volumes to indicate that you are indoors.”
“H1Z1” is an upcoming, open world, survival horror game from Sony Online Entertainment. The title was scheduled for a 2014 release, but as yet, there’s no specific launch date.