Shrike 'n' AssumedPseudonym's 'Superior' Sounds (SNAPSS)

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Shrike
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Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:56 am

SNAPSS: The Premier (and only) comprehensive sound overhaul mod for Transcendence

This is the development thread for SNAPSS, the collaborative project between myself (the sound-designer and annoying concept person) and AssumedPseudonym (the coder for the project). The mod in its current form replaces the stock weapon sounds with a much wider variety of WAV files to make up for how awful the stock game audio is. It's a workaround, but we're quite proud of it.

SNAPSS works using virtual stations (the SNAPSS 'Wizard') and the overriding of the stock WAV files with silent fakes. Code on the station then checks whenever a weapon is fired, determines the correct sound based on UNID, damage type and the weapon's average per-shot damage and then plays that sound in addition to the now-silent WAV played by the engine itself. This effectively replaces the audio and removes that damned clicking that everyone loves to hate.

SNAPSS was released as an alpha some time ago, but is no longer publicly available. This is set to change soon.


The march to 1.0

Development has recently resumed on SNAPSS with the intent of putting it on multiverse, and I realised that we never actually had a development thread the first time around. SNAPSS doesn't have overly exciting development compared to some other mods, but it's grown popular enough that I feel that having info put out before changes actually occur is a nice thing.


SNAPSS version 0.1 has been out for a while, and the download link died with Dropbox changing its systems. While the original mod does things very well, there's a few things that need improving before a public release of the revised mod:


On the code side of things, AssumedPseudonym has a really easy time. There's not much that needs fixing just yet for our 1.0. He will, however, have a lot of work in future.

On the sounds side...I have quite a bit of work! SNAPSS 0.1 only functions for Part I. That will not change for 1.0 release. That dramatically cuts down the number of audio files required to make the mod function. However some sounds in the soundpack are placeholders or early versions left from 2016. In particular the "exotic1" catch-all was...less than ideal. In general I like the feel of the SNAPSS soundpack, but there are bits that aren't up to our standards for a finished (or "finished enough") product. These lower-quality files need replacing, and audio work can take a considerable period of time. SInce that's my side of things and my scheduling and ability to get things done is truly legendary by the standards of registered developers, this may take some time.

There are also a few things that need outright removing. The 'HONK' easter egg is, regrettably, one of them. The sound will be there, but it's not going to turn up ingame. There's a few more unique sounds to add for mod-friendliness. Other mods will be able to call on these sounds even if they're not used by SNAPSS by default. Alas, I still need to make them.


Version 1.0 will arrive on multiverse as either a registered or unregistered extension (we haven't decided yet) 'when it is done'. It will operate only on SOTP Part I, Eternity Port, and other adventures set in human space. It will not function in the Vault of the Galaxy campaign. That's going to require a lot more sounds before we can make a compatible SNAPSS version.

Future versions will, hopefully, include additional features:

-VOTG support and additional sounds for nano, graviton, etc damage types (replacement of "Exotic 1")
-Limited replacement of armor and shield hit sounds with new sound effects (these would be by weapon class (matter/energy) and damage proportion most likely, rather than by damage type.
-Additional sounds that can be called by other mods (registered or unregistered).

None of these features are a promise, but we'll work on them.


Regrettably due to technical limitations it is unlikely we will ever have customised missile sounds beyond the one we have for the Makayev launcher. These have to be hard-coded into the mod on a per-missile basis and are very unfriendly to expansions that add extra missiles.

I'll probably update this thread with my progress through remastering the soundpack over the weeks ahead. It might not be overly exciting, but it'll let folks who've been waiting for SNAPSS to return know what's taking so long. :)
Your friendly local genderqueer weapons designer & forum moderator. My pronoun is "They".

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Shrike
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Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:04 am

Today I started some work on new antimatter sound variants. As these need to work for Part II, I'm sure whether to start over or not: it's quite a difficult balance that will be needed and antimatter weapons in Part II include relativistic beam weapons which may require a different sound (which may or may not even be possible). This doesn't really add much right now (except for third-party mods that add additional high-level weapons, like The Stars Beyond) but will set things up to save time later when VOTG support is on the cards. I've already gotten this process underway with the currently-in-progress graviton sound line.

I've also been working out roughly what new effects I'll need to make up for version 1.0. In order to allow for the exotic damage types likely to appear in Part I, I need to get the Graviton, Antimatter and Nano sound lines ready in some form. I also need a unique sound to replace the "exotic 1" sound used by exotics in 0.1.1, which will probably only be seen on the Absolution cannon (as the chimeric graviton cannon will be covered by the standard system). This will be an interesting challenge, and will probably mean some serious testing and feedback-seeking at some point in the (hopefully not overly distant) future. As each damage type needs a unique 'feel' of sound, as more damage types go into the mod it becomes harder and harder to find something that works well and is able to be scaled/remixed to cover the different damage tiers of weapons. Fortunately it's reasonably pleasant to develop and test test, although damage thresholds will likely be extremely placeholdery until Part II support is in the works. I've recovered an archive of sounds that AP worked on and sent to me earlier this year. While they're not ready for use (they're a bit rough since AP had less experience with this stuff at the time), they're great sources to work off and should save a lot of time with creating new sounds, as several of them are significantly different to my own older work...the perfect thing for a new damage type.
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Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:44 am

This is great! I'm looking forward to improved sounds. I hope you'll submit it as a registered extension - there's no reason it shouldn't be allowed in registered games.

It's possible to find all the launchers that fire a missile, so their sound could be based on the fastest fire rate among them.

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Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:14 am

That might be do-able, but it runs into issues if someone makes a launcher that fires the same missiles at a different rate of fire. You'd need to get ROF from the launcher and other data from the missile....and it would probably be error-prone. It's probably do-able in some form, but it's not on the list right now (the stock sound is actually pretty decent).
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