Immersion Starts with Sound!
It is my belief that music and sounds are the best tools for getting the player immersed in the game.
From the dictionary, immersion is a ‘deep mental involvement in something.’ - and I believe games exist for us to lose ourselves in them, even if for a tiny amount of time. Every game developer should strive to make this immersion possible for players to get lost, forget about real-world problems, and relax. One great way how we can achieve this is by adding music and sounds to our game - to make them more alive, believable, and even ‘real.’
It is something we remember years after playing the game, something we all get nostalgic about when we hear those tunes once again, remember those good feelings about playing that game, something that makes us smile even on the bad days.
I would differentiate mainly between four different types of sound effects.
- Interactive sound effects
- Ambient sound effects
- Background music
- Voice over
Interactive sound effects
These are the sound effect that plays as a reaction to the player input, his interaction with the world on other GameObjects. It can be something like firing a gun, the sound of footsteps as the player moves around the world, the sound of moving a crate across the floor…
They give the player feedback on their actions, making the player immersed by playing sounds that they would expect on each of those specific actions, getting closer to the real-world experience.
Ambient sound effects
Ambient sound effects can be defined as background noise. They help make the world feel alive by adding depth to every scene. The buzz of traffic, the sound of rain, birds, and bees rambling through nature, the sound of wind rustling the leaves… all of these sounds add to the players' immersion. Making the scene real, making him see without having to look.
Game music is the essential factor when remembering games; I still play game soundtracks on a daily basis, even when I have no time to play games - they make me relaxed; and remind me of the good times I had when I played each of those games. There is simply an emotion that almost can’t be described. And this kind of music can emphasize and empower the emotions that the game makes us feel - be that happy, sad, or angry… There is no greater way to immerse the player into the game than to create a piece of powerful music that precisely catches the game's intention.
Video games have become a great way to tell a story. Having a great voice over for the game's dialogue can be one more step towards success, as it also helps us immerse the player into the game so that he does not need to read - or in some cases, skip the text, cause they don’t want to read it by themselves, which in turn makes him confused from the game's story. But it is vital to have a high-quality voiceover, as bad ones can completely ruin the experience for the player.
As you might have probably noticed, I believe sound to be an essential factor in the success of every game - and Unity gives us great tools to make that a success story… alas, more on that in the following article!
But that is it for now, thank you for reading and feel free to follow me for more articles - and as always, good luck and see you next time!