[ This guest post is by Conor Brace, the sound/music expert for Project: Gorgon. Thanks, Conor! ]
Designing Project: Gorgon’s combat sounds
When Eric and I started discussing combat sound effects for Project: Gorgon, it was clear that we wanted to emphasize two things: the game’s huge diversity of skills, and its unusual armor/health mechanic. I would first establish a cohesive audio style for each skill set, and then put together unique sounds for each individual ability, with armor and health variations when appropriate.
But I had a TON of questions. Not all the combat skills were implemented in-game, and those that were had limited animations. I needed more details!
At a lower level, how do the individual abilities work in practice? What role does each ability play? Which can be spammed? Which deviate from the overall combat style? Which are the most satisfying to use?
Currently we have unique sound sets for nine combat skills — Animal Handling, Battle Chemistry, Combat Psychology, Fire Magic, Necromancy, Staff, Sword, Unarmed, and Werewolf — and we had an in-depth discussion about every one of them. Not every question had a 100% clear answer, but the process was very useful in helping me tailor sounds to fit Eric’s design.
(And I know Eric answered one or two of my questions by making a decision on the spot, so hopefully he got something useful out of the process as well!)
Let’s get back to Sword combat. In Project: Gorgon, the Sword is a balanced weapon that’s equally useful against armored and unarmored targets, and is especially good at controlling the enemy’s Rage. (Enemies need a full Rage bar to perform their most dangerous attacks.) Eric confirmed that it should feel a bit like fencing — more agility than strength, with a sense of finesse. In audio terms, this led me toward quick swishes and sharp, high-pitched impacts.
Looking at the individual abilities, there are two strong openers (#2 Many Cuts, #4 Wind Strike), a weak but efficient filler attack (#1 Sword Slash), a defensive ability (#3 Parry), and a brutal finisher (#5 Finishing Blow).
In other words, a full Sword rotation should feel like WHAM-BAM, steady, steady, steady, KAPOOOOW! :) Here’s my audio contribution:
Audio example: Wind Strike (armor), Many Cuts (armor), Sword Slash (armor), Parry, Sword Slash (health), Finishing Blow (health).
How about the Unarmed combat skill? Gorgon’s hand-to-hand combat is inspired by highly disciplined martial arts. It’s an extremely power-efficient skill, and although not terribly lethal at first, you can meditate to unlock combos that make it more dangerous.
It’s also more effective against unarmored targets, as the sound effects help demonstrate:
Audio example: Punch, Kick, Cobra Strike versus Armor.
Audio example: Punch, Kick, Cobra Strike versus Health.
(We also decided that it should sound a bit like an old kung-fu flick!)
Finally, here’s one more audio sequence in honor of Halloween. You’ll hear four Necromancy abilities: 1) a dark magic attack with a treasure system mod that roots the target, 2) raising a skeleton from a tomb, 3) healing your undead minions, and 4) healing yourself. I used a synth choir as a component in many of Gorgon’s healing sounds — usually a pleasant effect, but here it’s dark and haunting. (Necromancers regain health by devouring raw hearts!)
Audio example: Life Crush with Grasping Dead mod, Raise Skeleton, Heal Undead, Heart’s Power.
Thanks to Eric for having me on the blog, and thanks to all of you for supporting Project: Gorgon!