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Old 1st Oct 2012, 09:21   #1
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Of Battle-Chatter and Whizz-Bys

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Old 1st Oct 2012, 09:30   #2
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Another puff Piece not marked done for EA? Its getting really hard to tell.
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Old 1st Oct 2012, 09:51   #3
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You think those are gunshots in all your favourite action movies?

Nope. They are all added post-production with created sounds because guns don't sound like they are "supposed" to. Audiences have been conditioned by decades of Hollywood to expect .44 Magnum like roars instead of the more realistic pops and cracks of varying sorts. Also, the sound changes depending on the environment and the position of the listener, which can muffle, flatten or distort real gunshots.
In some instances the sounds used may originally have been based on real gunshots, but they have been processed so much that they may as well have used generic sounds.

And it always amazes me how tiny little silencers a few inches long can turn a pistol shot into a barely audible "pftz". Even more incredible are the suppressors on M4 carbines that can do similar wonders to rifle rounds, which is a common feature in every single SpecOps movie/game. Such suppressors aren't meant to silence the gun, it's used to obscure the firing location by suppressing the muzzle flash and muffling the loud report so the enemy can't immediately locate the firers position.
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Old 1st Oct 2012, 09:56   #4
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Best game for sound at the minute has to be Battlefield 3. Turn on War Tapes and just listen. There was a videoblog about how they recorded the audio for the weapons. Not only did they fire the weapons, they did it from varying distances, through varying distortion and varying materials. Absolutely amazing.
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Old 1st Oct 2012, 10:06   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrightCandle
Another puff Piece not marked done for EA? Its getting really hard to tell.
Perhaps, or perhaps because of EAs marketing effort for Medal of Honor: Warfighter they have been making the developers available for media purposes and have been talking about game production, which in turn has initiated discussion and reflection on aspects of game production?

Personally I'm very sensitive for the kinds of media manipulation that you allege, but I don't get that feeling from this, although I think that it should probably be marked Green for Blog and not Red for Article.

Besides, aren't there laws in the UK/EU that require the media to declare if any financial or material consideration was received by a publication in return for media exposure? I know there is in my jurisdiction.
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Old 1st Oct 2012, 10:33   #6
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Yes, Battlefield 3 really does have the best sound effects I've heard in a game. Best game music has to go to Total Annihilation.
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Old 1st Oct 2012, 10:58   #7
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Regarding sound effects - I would say its like SFX work in movies - the true mark of truly excellent work is that you don't notice it - it sounds 'right' to you. Its bad sound work that sticks out.
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Old 1st Oct 2012, 11:04   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adnoctum
You think those are gunshots in all your favourite action movies?

Nope. They are all added post-production with created sounds because guns don't sound like they are "supposed" to. Audiences have been conditioned by decades of Hollywood to expect .44 Magnum like roars instead of the more realistic pops and cracks of varying sorts. Also, the sound changes depending on the environment and the position of the listener, which can muffle, flatten or distort real gunshots.
In some instances the sounds used may originally have been based on real gunshots, but they have been processed so much that they may as well have used generic sounds.

And it always amazes me how tiny little silencers a few inches long can turn a pistol shot into a barely audible "pftz". Even more incredible are the suppressors on M4 carbines that can do similar wonders to rifle rounds, which is a common feature in every single SpecOps movie/game. Such suppressors aren't meant to silence the gun, it's used to obscure the firing location by suppressing the muzzle flash and muffling the loud report so the enemy can't immediately locate the firers position.
You've evidently never fired a gun then. Many cartridges make a hell of a bang/crack, though not all. Silencers, when twinned with subsonic ammunition, can reduce the noise so much that the loudest sound is the action of the gun as it cycles. For your peace of mind assume they are using subsonic rounds every time you see a silenced weapon :P
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Old 1st Oct 2012, 11:13   #9
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i think many reviews do speak about the sound and how it is. maybe not average "sounded" games but good quality and they speak about it.
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Old 1st Oct 2012, 12:15   #10
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Yes BF3 does sound awesome, especially the 64 player battles...
And the latest patch for World of Tanks has introduced some more in depth sounds. the guns and explosions are now booming
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Old 1st Oct 2012, 12:31   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bede
You've evidently never fired a gun then. Many cartridges make a hell of a bang/crack, though not all. Silencers, when twinned with subsonic ammunition, can reduce the noise so much that the loudest sound is the action of the gun as it cycles. For your peace of mind assume they are using subsonic rounds every time you see a silenced weapon :P
I have as matter of fact. As I said, it depends on the gun/munition type and the environment, but it doesn't sound like a movie fire-fight.

The higher the propellant load the larger the silencer needs to be to contain the expanding gasses, so the silencers need to be of a decent size and not a tiny thing on the end of a gun.
You see it in the movies all the time, the hero/villain screws a silencer two inches long on the end of a 9mm and then goes taking out people in Predator-like fashion. The reality is that a 9mm fitted with a silencer longer than the gun itself and firing full load ammunition is going to have the report slightly suppressed, not silenced.
And the cycling of a semi-auto mechanism is going to be a loud "clack" itself, which is going to be audible up to 50m and recognisable as a gun mechanism at lesser distances.


Once you start using subsonic ammunition you are also losing muzzle velocity, range and penetrative power, and 5.56 is already weak in this respect with the rounds often not even penetrating clothing.
It is why there is a push to use more 7.62 in Afghanistan where the engagement distances are so great that the standard 5.56 round loses energy after more than 300m. A problem worsened by the US Army adopting the shorter barrelled M4 for general infantry use. It might help the GIs posing for photos feel like Green Berets, but wasn't meant for general use.
Subsonic 5.56 may be fine plinking on a range, but shooting subsonic 5.56 in combat would be as useful as .22 LR. Unless you get a head-shot then any thick clothing (before mentioning body armour) is going to make using it a worryingly random event. As for whether it is actually being used in combat, I'm not a SpecOps operator, so I wouldn't know. I know other subsonic rounds are, but in larger pistol and rifle calibres, where the extra projectile mass somewhat makes up for the lower muzzle velocity.

Having said all that, I do take your advice and suspend my disbelief temporarily in order to enjoy quality entertainment, and there is a certain satisfaction in the old silent head-shot and move game mechanic. I did have a moment's qualm about typing that last part.
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Old 1st Oct 2012, 18:53   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parge View Post
Yes, Battlefield 3 really does have the best sound effects I've heard in a game. Best game music has to go to Total Annihilation.
Agreed - one of the best reasons to own the game is for the sound alone - spectacular, especially with quality headsets.

Surprised no one has mentioned it yet.... AWP.
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Old 1st Oct 2012, 20:01   #13
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Look back over the last dozen reviews on Bit-Gamer and tell me how often "Sound" gets mentioned other than a particularly good soundtrack.

I have been waiting for ages for SFX and Soundtracks to be treated not only as a metric period, but as separate metrics in games reviews, but the only time it may have been mentioned is when it's been especially bland or poor.

So with this article are Bit-Tech / Gamer making a statement that they are going to expand and improve their reviews?
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Old 2nd Oct 2012, 05:13   #14
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For music...

The Halo series, by far. Absolutely epic.

Sound effects have to go to BF3 though, the sound of an rpg as it flies just past your face on my monitors makes me duck instinctively. It's amazing
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Old 2nd Oct 2012, 21:41   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adnoctum View Post
I have as matter of fact. As I said, it depends on the gun/munition type and the environment, but it doesn't sound like a movie fire-fight.

The higher the propellant load the larger the silencer needs to be to contain the expanding gasses, so the silencers need to be of a decent size and not a tiny thing on the end of a gun.
You see it in the movies all the time, the hero/villain screws a silencer two inches long on the end of a 9mm and then goes taking out people in Predator-like fashion. The reality is that a 9mm fitted with a silencer longer than the gun itself and firing full load ammunition is going to have the report slightly suppressed, not silenced.
And the cycling of a semi-auto mechanism is going to be a loud "clack" itself, which is going to be audible up to 50m and recognisable as a gun mechanism at lesser distances.


Once you start using subsonic ammunition you are also losing muzzle velocity, range and penetrative power, and 5.56 is already weak in this respect with the rounds often not even penetrating clothing.
It is why there is a push to use more 7.62 in Afghanistan where the engagement distances are so great that the standard 5.56 round loses energy after more than 300m. A problem worsened by the US Army adopting the shorter barrelled M4 for general infantry use. It might help the GIs posing for photos feel like Green Berets, but wasn't meant for general use.
Subsonic 5.56 may be fine plinking on a range, but shooting subsonic 5.56 in combat would be as useful as .22 LR. Unless you get a head-shot then any thick clothing (before mentioning body armour) is going to make using it a worryingly random event. As for whether it is actually being used in combat, I'm not a SpecOps operator, so I wouldn't know. I know other subsonic rounds are, but in larger pistol and rifle calibres, where the extra projectile mass somewhat makes up for the lower muzzle velocity.

Having said all that, I do take your advice and suspend my disbelief temporarily in order to enjoy quality entertainment, and there is a certain satisfaction in the old silent head-shot and move game mechanic. I did have a moment's qualm about typing that last part.
The whole sonic/subsonic thing in particular is something I'd wish more games would work on accurately portraying, both in sound and in balance. BF3 does a decent job, but ARMA 2 is the best I've heard so far for capturing the distinct crack of a little sonic boom (and for implementing subsonic ammunition). At a more "realistic" combat distance (accepting that combat can happen at any distance and depends on so many variables) it's entirely likely that this is all you'll hear and not the report from the muzzle at all. Hence the whole suppressor on weapons firing supersonic ammunition bit as you went over in your earlier post. It's not silent, you just can't locate the shooter.

As an extention of that thought, good luck "silencing" a round like 5.56x45mm NATO. This goes to Bede a bit in that yes, you can get some combinations where the action will be the loudest thing you hear, but many games take it a bit too far. While it's no problem just assuming that fitting a silencer to something like a 9mm handgun means your character is also making sure he/she is using subsonic ammo (normal loads typically are, but I like to imagine they're making sure) when it comes to high velocity rifle rounds my imagination can't stretch that far. Something like 5.56 NATO will produce muzzle velocities around three times the speed of sound, subsonic loads just aren't practical. Yet plenty of games slap a suppressor onto the end of the classic tacticool M4 complete with the cute little "pew pew" sound effect and no difference in bullet travel speed or damage done on hit.

On a broader level complaint/thought, it's understandably a challenge trying to capture perfect sounds for firearms because of the simple fact that speakers and headphones can't recreate the brutal loudness of such sounds. I can't help but think this is part of why we get ridiculous deep booms for firing weapons, and whisper quiet silenced weapons to try to capture the difference between a real shot and the still decently loud but signficantly quieter suppressed shot.
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Old 2nd Oct 2012, 23:57   #16
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I was playing devil's advocate a bit. Both Sloth and Adnoctum are definitely right in that 'silenced' weapons are taken way too far in most games/films. That said, you don't often see ridiculously mini cans put on the end of weapons in films nowadays - in FPS games foreshortening probably makes them look shorter than they are.
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Old 3rd Oct 2012, 13:36   #17
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For me a good soundtrack really makes a game. Not that I can't enjoy slightly poor ones, but the extra effort in a good soundtrack really makes a difference to how I enjoy it, BF3 is one that strikes me as being extremely carefully done in the semi-realism genre, but at the other end of the scale FTL was very pleasing because it had such a good musical soundtrack and simple FX.

I'm the same with films - the only reason I bother going to the cinema is the much greater soundscape of a cinema system. It might be possible to replicate it small-scale at home (or better it of course), but for me the scale is a real winner.
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Old 3rd Oct 2012, 16:27   #18
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The sounds that are often missing from games and that lend the most, I think, to atmosphere are things like bullets in flight and bullet impacts. Playing Arma 2 with a good sound mod, or even without, it's these sound effects, much more so than the gun sounds, that create the atmosphere. When you hear rounds cracking over head and thumping into the dirt at your feet, or pinging off metal, that's what gets your adrenalin going. Just the constant bang-bang-bang of assorted guns makes for a very lifeless sound setting.
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