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TUG is a multiplayer open-world sandbox-RPG using new technology and social sciences to directly involve players in the game’s design.
7,231 backers pledged $293,184 to help bring this project to life.

A Whole New Sounding World

Posted by Nerd Kingdom (Creator)

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.



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    1. Missing avatar

      Nathan Scutt on

      If this is the case, I think I'm gonna try to take an instrument into a cave. the sounds (or lack of) must be maddening down there!

    2. João Paulo Tannus de Souza on

      @NerdKingdom Nice! Didn't know about Friday. Well I think that is the best approach really, I just didn't see a tech video, but now I'll have one and be more happy about it =)

      @Brian My concern is exactly the promises. They are talking about a lot of awesome features and ideas, by doing that I only hope that the game will contain these ideas. So I'm worried about the development progress that is all. I backed other project and understand the way this works. And I really like it =)

    3. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Eli, the alpha is coming in July and the Beta is coming this coming January 2014 with the official release in January of 2015

    4. Eli Butcher on

      I may have missed this, but do we have a date on when the Alpha/Beta will be rolling out? This detail is what's stopping me from upgrading may pledge. Thanks! oh, and this is looking amazing!

    5. Chaonic on

      I'd totally like to have some kind of automatic or water powered organ to play in my city! :D

    6. Philip Bretschneider on

      When can we see some type of early demo of this? :)

    7. Brooks P. Weaver on

      It's one thing to make a game world that is pretty and has tons of side quests to do. It's something else if the world isn't properly equipped with the ambient noise that truly immerses the player in this fictional world.

      Really happy to see that this game is putting a lot of focus in all the right areas - including ambient noise of the forest, the animals, the sea, etc.

      Best of luck now and in the future with TUG!!

    8. Missing avatar

      Brian Stottlemyre on

      @merylisk sorry for third post in row but on the subject of music,food, drink.. if they add all of them im going to run a tavern for adventurers to all relax at, swap stories, play card games, and maybe nab one of the player made "quests" issued by a favorite player. :D

    9. Missing avatar

      Brian Stottlemyre on

      @merylisk not sure if you ever played final fantasy crystal chronicles for gamecube but that annual festival at the end of each year was epic.. the feeling. Cept for ours would be a harvest festival of sorts or other kinds.…

    10. Missing avatar

      Brian Stottlemyre on

      @Merylisk weeeeew! Now all we need is a way to make alcoholic beverages and crops and foods with real meaning :3 oh and tamberines :p gotta have those.

    11. Toby on

      Hey guys, I'm keen to know if the song/soundtrack used in the beginning of the youtube videos will be made available for download at some stage? It's a really catchy tune.

    12. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Brian, instruments and festivals will totally be a thing. :3

    13. Missing avatar

      Flammablezeus on

      This should be great if done right. I hope you guys can pull it off. This game just keeps sounding better and better to me.

    14. Missing avatar

      Brian Stottlemyre on

      Ah so i got it right :p and sorry i meant video not demo... derp lol

    15. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @João, we will cover the where we are at now in this Friday tech video update. And your concerns are understandable, however our approach is in taking a phased/modular approach, building out systems with alpha, watching and listening to what is happening, changing and adding more systems in beta and the formula will be complete by the time to official launch roles around. At that point it's just about adding new content around these systems :)


    16. Missing avatar

      Brian Stottlemyre on

      Paulo. I think its a fine dance really. First off i do believe they are coming with a tech demo friday that will show some of what you want.

      In the other case, i cant fully speak for them as im not an employee, but if i understand the nature of all this they have some basic stuff and where they are going in their mind but they cant fully say what they are doing becuase on some peoples eyes that would be a promise.

      If i understand how this will work, is that they will give us stuff to do and we'll shape how the game is made.. some by our ideas.. some from theirs plus their experence, and some adjustment as we go.

      As this is a bit different than how standard games are made we must understand this and work together.

    17. João Paulo Tannus de Souza on

      As a backer I'm a bit worried about the focus. Your posts are really full of great ideas e a good amount of innovation, but what is done by now? What you are doing next? What will be done by the end of this semester?

      This is really a great project, I love to hear the great ideas but let us know what you guys are doing so we can back you more and believe more.

      Keep up the good work!

    18. Missing avatar

      Brian Stottlemyre on

      I like the concept of this. It was an idea i had a long time ago so this is all kind of want. It will help immersion. I only hope you all let us play instruments so we can have festivals and stuff :3

    19. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Paul, I'm actually a fan of myst myself! But we should also consider the impact of the experience in a click adventure, vs a more action/responsive method for play. There are a number of elements that exist that certainly can add or take away from the significance of sound/music, and all things we take seriously. This is also part of the reason why us eggheads are here too, to tear apart, study and share thos findings with everyone.

      @Michael, we do have a few more fantastical elements in the world that allow for beautiful music to be created. Whether it be chanting spirits in lost woods, or a traveling group of musicians in the world. Our focus is to simply give all things a logical source, as its an important element of discovery.


    20. Missing avatar

      Michael Krell on

      Generally, I must say that I do favor scored music within the titles that I play. Perhaps TUG will take this to a new level, and I'm definitely one for experimentation, but part of the reason I play games it to get that wide, engrossing soundscape, and to me music and cues are significant parts of the soundscape. (Conversely, this explains why none of the backer rewards offer a soundtrack - I tend to contribute more funds to any KS that offers soundtracks and was wondering why such an incentive was missing from TUG).

      I look forward to more reveals of the sound design, but I hope sound design and score work are still possibilities (even if modded in after-the-fact).

    21. Mike Wilson on

      When I get stressed I can hear the blood pounding in my ears. Will that feature in the soundscape?

    22. Vaendryl on

      Now, I know you don't want to hear this as music costs a lot of money but they thought about doing the same with the original Myst and it turned out that the music score really improved the overall feel. I think the same would go for TUG. In fact, a similar musical style could work very well.

      I highly recommend you try running through Myst without any of the music. they also put a lot of effort into the ambient sound effects but the music really lifts it to another level.

    23. Missing avatar

      Mohfuu on

      I like the dynamic aspects of this game, it looks awesome and will probably sound awesome too.

    24. Missing avatar

      Something Studios on

      Every day this game is sounding better and better. I wake up and look to see if their if any new news on this page. I simply can not wait to play this! I upped my pledge because I have faith in this game and company! You are the first to really care what the community wants and thinks! Good work!!!

    25. Missing avatar

      Hotchkip on

      If this can actually be completed..oh man, words can't describe the serenity and magnificence of it.

    26. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Aneka, A lot of this stuff is already implemented! We're hoping to have some videos showcasing this later this week!

    27. CashWiley on

      (as a musician I'm pretty interested in this aspect)

    28. CashWiley on

      Join me in my Manouche village. We'll have a Fado suburb.

    29. Aneka K. Bean on

      Sounds like a really fun musical project. Will you be using musical mathematics, or by what means do you plan on developing this?

      I'd be really interested to know.