A Whole New Sounding World
Games and entertainment as a whole have utilized and relied on traditional music soundtracks forever. Even the phrase “silent movie” is a misnomer; though the film strips themselves could not produce sound, music was always played live alongside the screen. Music can do anything from setting the mood of a scene to changing time. It’s ingrained in us so deep that we don’t even know it, and that’s what makes it so perfect to go alongside immersive experiences like games.
We don’t need to know music theory to know that major chords make us feel happy and minor chords bely darker emotions; it’s part of us the same way that color is. But in TUG, there is no typical soundtrack. We’re striving to encourage immersion through sound in a new way--that starts with the omission of a musical score.
As you walk through the world of TUG, you won’t hear adventuring music or battle themes. What you will hear is the sound of the world. The leaves rustling, the calls of animals, and the sounds you make as you move through the environment. And though you might not notice it right away, they all come together to form a new kind of symphony.
All of the sounds in TUG are part of one chord structure. The wind, the animals, even your footsteps all fit together harmonically. These elements will build and change as you move through the game, creating a mood wherever you go. The sound of the forest will change from day to night, your world will sound creepier after dark, and the harmonic structure of the seashore will feel totally different than the harmonies in the forest. Music uses chord structures to imply or enhance the mood of the experience; TUG takes that idea and embeds it into the sound effects.
In addition to your world creating its own dynamic harmonies, it will build its own rhythms as well. Unlike dedicated rhythm games, however, TUG doesn’t lock you into a grid system to do it. Sounds don’t conform to a downbeat that mandates things happen at a specific time; they play out naturally at a speed that is consistent throughout your world.
The sound of your footsteps, the chirp of a bird, and the crackle of a campfire will all come together to create a type of bass line that will change dynamically depending on what you do, all while linking to the natural ambience of a natural environment that subtly connects itself to this same tempo. Waves crashing on the shore, or large gusts of wind through the trees may sound completely natural when heard alone, but as you take action in your world the sounds you make will sync with the sound of your world to form your own score. This will help to not only lend to the immersiveness of your world, but give players real control over the soundscape of their environment, should they want it.
The sound of TUG will be like the game itself, dynamic and craftable. Using this system allows players to experience a unique soundscape every time they play, but also allows them to take charge of the sound of their environment. Players can capture and move elements that make sounds they like to create a soundtrack for their home, or merely sit back and listen to the sound of the world play out. In the end, we want it to make the world you play in feel like your own.