This is a rant about something that has been getting on my nerves a lot recently; the fact that that developers (and not just indies, but big ‘triple-A’ studios too) seem to be happy to release a game without seemingly any effort going into the game’s sound design and/or without proper audio settings. Good sound design can tell you a lot about the game world and improve immersion for the player, but not everyone gets this right.
The thing that really bothers me is that it is not only easy to avoid the problem in the first place, but that its simple to provide an adequate solution and yet many studios fail to do so.
This week saw Valve (the developers behind games like the Half-life series and the Steam network) announce their new set of technologies that aim to bring the Steam gaming experience into the living room. Whether their intention was to simply expand their empire or to throw the gauntlet into the ‘Next Generation’ of the console war, for me they’ve pretty much already won against the PS4 and the Xbox One. All without any fancy launch events and without announcing any new games or pointless motion-control gimmicks! Here’s why…
The original Portal was basically a tech demo, included as a bonus alongside other titles in the Orange Box. And that was all it needed to be. However, it turned out to be full of dark humour and featured a computer that is one of the greatest villains/characters in any video game… ever!
Now, though, Valve have produced Portal 2. The sequel includes a cooperative campaign in addition to having twice the content in the single player campaign. This is probably the most anticipated game of the year, and if anyone can live up to the hype, its Valve. But have they done it?