Mark Damon Hughes  | Hephaestus Design: Sound

A standard library of sounds is provided with Hephaestus in 'sounds/'. You are not restricted to these sounds, however. When you create your adventure, create a directory with your game's name, store your sounds there, refer to that in your 'game.playSound()' calls, and make sure you include that directory in your adventure's zip file.

The sound library for Hephaestus is currently fairly small, but it will be increasing greatly soon.

Sound files may be in AU, WAV, AIFF, MID, or RMF formats.

Know When To Use Sound, And When Not To

Please use background music very sparingly, if at all. Background music in games is almost always an irritation - nobody wants to hear the SAME DAMNED TINKLY MIDI FILE over and over for 50 hours. If you really like writing background music, I recommend shipping the .mid or .mp3 files with your adventure, and letting the gamer decide if they want to play it in their own sound player or not. It's not the Bad Old Days anymore, when you had to assume that most gamers had MS-DOS, and were thus unable to multitask, and distributing music required pressing it into a piece of car-seat material (you may be too young to remember this, but it's true). Let people play what they want on their own speakers, okay?

Sound effects can be either very useful or very annoying. If they're used to indicate unusual conditions or events, or to set the mood of an area, they're wonderful and can help keep the player hooked. If you make a noise every time anything happens (or worse, when nothing at all is happening), that's irritating, and the player will eventually get pissed off and delete your adventure.


Recorded speech is a grey area, but I generally recommend against it. Even young children can learn to read fairly early, and the more they read for fun, the better they get at it; not that Hephaestus is generally a child's game, but if children can do it, adults should also be able to read, right?

Voice acting is a skill that most people believe they have, but do not; it is very hard to get a precise inflection to carry some tone, and most people stammer and stutter and hesitate and curse constantly; you ignore it when listening to them live, but recorded it sounds moronic. If you have bad voice actors (your friends and family, usually), your adventure will be painful to listen to, and the player will probably delete it. If you have many good voice actors (all your friends are actors and DJs), it might be worthwhile.

Having some characters voice-acted and some text-only can also break the player's suspension of disbelief; if you do mix this way, make sure only your major characters are voice-acted, or the player will waste time and get frustrated trying to activate the Barwench Quest (not that the barwench can't be an interesting character, or the focus of a quest...).

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