When considering a new rig, we PC gamers tend to research on the newest and fastest GPUs and CPUs out in the market. Making sure that while playing newest shooters, we maintain a cool 60fps, no less. We marvel at the realistic textures of the world, the realistic lighting and shadows that are being casted. Then we lean back in our seats and smile, then say to our selves, God damn this game looks beautiful. But do we ever stop to really listen to the audio bytes that are being pumped through our headsets? The sharp crack of gun sounds in a distance, the clanking of empty shells that hit the floor after every shot, the crisp sound when your character racks the bolt of his gun after each reload, I can go on forever on the aural sensations that are being bombarded in today's games. I guess you can assume that I have.
I really love good sound design in games and its quite encouraging that other game developers are taking this aspect seriously during development. I honestly believe, good sound design, along with graphics truly increases the immersion and enhances the game experience. Take for example Battlefield: Bad Company 2, while positional audio definitely adds the competitive edge to this shooter, it also adds the sensation that you are in the middle of an active battlefield hearing explosions and gun shots all around. Pair it up with high fidelity recordings of real gun sounds, fluid animations and exciting gameplay mechanics and you got yourself a form of immersion that movies can't possibly recreate.
Now we have all this technology available to the regular gamer, but I still find that sound design in games are still under appreciated. It's rare that I hear people marvel on the fact that a certain game had awesome sound design. Even reviewers give a lot of details on the graphics and gameplay, but leave out a small portion on sound design. Although, we have the exception with Battlefield: Bad Company 2 as more people now realize the importance on sound design because of the popular nature of the franchise. As it is one of the AAA titles that gained awards for that aspect. And with its latest flagship title, Battlefield 3, I'm confident that the developers will be pushing the envelope once again on sound design as they did with their previous game.
So I urge you my fellow PC gamers, to not only be awed on the awesome graphics with the upcoming titles this quarter, but also, try to open up your ears and experience that another level of immersion that is brought to you by excellent sound design.
Do you also appreciate good sound design? Let us know in the forums!