Sound design – hits and themes

I had recently had a conversation with Pat, our music powerhouse. We were discussing the different musical themes and hits that will punctuate the gameplay.

The majority of Goblin Diplomat is spent in conversation with angry humans. Each conversation starts out tense and only escalates as the human runs out of patience. By the conversation’s end, you’ll either be attacked, have the guards called on you, or have just barely managed to make a friend. So the music has a theme of rising tension and alarm.

But I’m hoping we can be more dynamic than just a slow increase in intensity.  There are certain turning points in the conversation that I’d like to punctuate with a musical shift: When the human draws a weapon, when the guards are called over, or when you’re reliving a past trauma. Those are the moments where I want to layer in a drum track or an alarmed chorus of flutes.

There are a bunch of smaller moments that need musical hits – a single high note on a flute, or a quick drumming flurry – moments like the human shouting “I’ll gut you!”  A moment like this might cause your goblin’s mind to go blank, or scramble into a confusion. It’s important that the player realize why their goblin’s thoughts are suddenly in turmoil. In addition to visual cues, having a distinctive sound will help forge that connection.

I also want a distinctive sound for your success. Beyond Good and Evil had a variety of short musical hits for your success. That game had such powerful and consistent musical conditioning that hearing the success themes still gives me a little rush. Hopefully we can do the same in Goblin Diplomat!

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