Weekly Shiryo Update from The Shiryo Team #55

In this week’s feature, our gifted sound engineer unveils his latest audio creations!

Along with sharing some captivating soundscapes for us to enjoy, he has also included some BTS insights and analyses of each piece in the article.

All the soundbites mentioned throughout the article can be found here, in our announcement channel.

Now, let’s get into it!

Hello Wolfpack, it’s great to see have you all here!

In this week’s update, I’ll be focusing on some of the UI sounds I’ve been working on, along with sharing some of the process of creating these sounds.

My recent efforts include incorporating some of the soundscapes I shared in previous updates, ensuring they blend seamlessly with the new elements.

Additionally, I have been busy creating sounds from scratch, which involves a variety of auditory elements such as button noises and UI animation noises, including clicks, boops, and sweeps.

But these aren’t just any old clicks, boops & sweeps!

Creating and using the right sounds is critical to enveloping the user in the world of Shiryo, by providing auditory feedback while interacting with the UI thus making the interface more engaging and intuitive.

My goal for the UI is to create a subtle but immersive experience, making the user feel as though they are standing in the middle of a mythical forest where magical creatures could be lurking in the shadows.

In the demo provided, you will notice a variety of background sounds that
contribute to this enchanting environment.

These include the subtle rustling of bushes, the distant noises of mythical beasts, and an array of forest soundscapes that blend seamlessly.

These background sounds have been crafted to run quietly, adding depth and realism without overpowering the primary UI interactions.

It is important to note that the sounds in the demo are intentionally louder
than they will be in the final version.

This adjustment has been made to ensure that you can clearly hear all the different elements and understand how they contribute to the overall sound design.

It’s always such a fun process exploring ways in which I can find, create and combine sounds to achieve the desired outcome.

So, to create these sounds, I have used a range of techniques, including real-world sound recordings from nearby forests, objects from around my studio, and even sounds from my dog, Ziggy!

Alongside these, I have created fully synthetic sounds using a process called FM synthesis.

FM synthesis is a fascinating process where you take two frequencies and use them to modulate each other to create weird and wonderful sounds.

In other words, you take two sounds and mash them together in a variety of ways, and you get some really cool results!

I chose this process for its ability to create complex and harmonically rich sounds, which helps blend real-world sounds with synthetic ones.

Using my field recorder, I visited a local forest and captured 360-degree, 24-bit forest soundscapes, including bush noises and my dog running and panting.

Once I had gathered all the sounds, the real fun began: crafting the sound stage.

In real life, we don’t hear sounds at the same level from a mono signal directly in front of us, so I spread out the sounds across the stereo field, keeping only the important sounds in the centre.

Additionally, I used volume levels combined with reverb to place sounds closer or further away from the listener. This style of spatial arrangement creates a more realistic and immersive experience for the user.

Please note that this demo is designed for a 2-speaker stereo system. In the future, it will be optimised for Dolby Atmos 5.1.

By combining these techniques, I aim to transport users into a rich auditory environment that enhances their overall experience with the UI.

Whether it’s the subtle rustling of bushes or the complex tones generated through FM synthesis, each sound is crafted to contribute to the enchanting atmosphere of a mythical forest.

While the sounds may seem simple, the UI is one of the hardest elements to design for, as it sets the tone for the entire game and is used repeatedly.

The challenge is to establish the atmosphere and tone of the game without sounding repetitive and annoying to the listener, especially with beeps, boops, and sweeps, which the user will hear over and over again.

Our ears are less annoyed by real sounds than by synthetic ones, so blending the two types of sounds together helps to seat the
sound better in the mix.

Additionally, I used EQ to remove any frequencies that I deemed annoying or harsh to the ear.

This approach to sound design is essential because the UI sounds need to be engaging but not overwhelming.

By integrating natural and synthetic elements, I can create a balanced soundscape that maintains the user’s interest without becoming intrusive.

You will also notice melodic elements in the background. These elements are derived from the Shyrio theme motif and modified to fit the UI.

Since we need an audio loop and cannot infinitely generate a soundtrack, I have created a loop that seamlessly repeats without the listener noticing.

I avoided creating strong melodies that could alert the listener to the loop’s restart while still referencing the motif.

The melodic parts of the sound design have all been created in the B minor scale.

This allows me to pull sounds and ideas from other areas of the game’s sound design and have them blend seamlessly. It also enables me to create tension and release when needed.

This consistency in the musical scale ensures a cohesive audio experience throughout the game, making transitions between different soundscapes smoother and more natural.

Moreover, using EQ to eliminate harsh frequencies is a critical step in the process.

Harsh frequencies can cause listener fatigue, which is particularly problematic for UI sounds that are heard frequently.

By carefully sculpting the sound with EQ, I ensure that each audio element is pleasant and comfortable to listen to over long periods.

Another important aspect is the spatial arrangement of these sounds. Positioning sounds within the stereo field can enhance the user’s sense of immersion.

By carefully placing sounds, I can create an audio environment that feels three-dimensional, adding depth to the user’s experience.

Overall, the goal is to create a sound design for the UI that supports the
game’s atmosphere and enhances the user’s experience without drawing undue attention to itself.

Each sound element, from the subtle background melodies to the interactive beeps and boops, is designed to work harmoniously together, contributing to a cohesive and immersive auditory experience.

Well, that’s all for this week’s update. I hope you guys enjoyed it.

Thank you all for your continued support, and I look forward to sharing more with you in the future!

Take care, Wolfpack strong!