Matthew Florianz

Planet Coaster - Additional Layers (3/3)

Published on: Thu, 20/07/2017 - 3:43pm

Excerpt from

Planet Coaster - Crowd Audio : Additional Layers (PART 3)

Additional Layers

The Soundbox is a system that distils an audio-centric view of the gameworld through available data. It virtualizes positioning of emitters based on the data it gathers. The crowd Soundbox is the perfect tool to create an impression of guests around the camera, but in order to deal with rapid camera transitions or extreme close-ups, we needed two additional layers that can be added or dropped when necessary:

Background Layer 

The Soundbox is an optimization which uses a ‘distance limited area’ for data gathering. Thus, at the distant end of the visual range, it cannot describe crowds as they are beyond the analyzed range. A very simple, volume driven background loop (which sits quiet in the mix) adds a sense of ‘presence’ to the entire park. We added this layer towards the end of production when we found that the park sounded a little ‘flat’ when observed from a distance. The assumption can be made that the crowd is far away so it is filtered to diffuse sound, and this negates the need for accurate sync. It is pure mood.

Close-up Layer

The close-up system uses a Soundbox that is optimized to look for individual guests and what they are currently doing. This Soundbox finds the immediate cells around the camera and distributes ten emitters around those guests which are closest. The Soundbox then tracks their positions and monitors when guests switch between animations. To keep sound in sync, senior sound designer James Stant has offset each event with an appropriate delay.

Normally we’d put events on frames, but because that can be prohibitively expensive for so many guests, we use this fallback system. It can be susceptible to falling out of sync and it is harder to track if animation changes have been made, but in practice, it adds so much character to the guests that we chose to implement and maintain it.



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