The Sound of Travian
The last part of our series about sound in games will be all about the intentions behind integrating music and other sounds into our new Travian version. Adding sounds and music to the game has of course created some challenges for us.
A game becomes more interesting and vivid as soon as particular actions are accompanied by authentic sounds. With this acoustic accompaniment, the gaming experience our players have becomes more intense. This was the guiding principle when planning the new Travian version.
Since in today’s world, we experience ambient noises almost everywhere, it seems rather odd if an action that can be seen is not accompanied by a matching sound. The action sounds in Travian should resolve this oddity. Besides this, the game should also feel more authentic to the player. And what better way could there be than to add matching sounds to a player’s click actions in the game. When selecting the Barracks for example, you can hear the shouts of soldiers, when selecting the Roman Wall, a heavy, creaking gate can be heard. All this helps to make the player connect better with the game and to make them feel comfortable.
Implementing the sounds and music didn’t turn out to be quite as simple. We faced the first challenge right after the finished sound files by Campbell Askew were recieved by our development team. Implementing the click action sounds was harder than initially thought. We had to find a uniform standard, supported by all current versions of popular browsers. Additionally, a fall-back solution had to be implemented for cases where a player uses an older browser version that doesn’t support the standard. Obviously we don’t want players to miss out, just because they don’t have the right browser.
Finding a suitable sound library also wasn’t that easy. Many of the libraries showed loads of underlying bugs, which made implementation impossible. Once a suitable and bug-free solution was found, our developers could move on to the next task. The sounds shouldn’t use up the player’s bandwidth unnecessarily and should only be loaded if requested to do so by players. Once that challenge was overcome as well, a first test run took place. Some sounds required some minor adjustments, depending on the click action at hand. According to our developers, the biggest challenge of the whole project was to actually get to grips with the issue and provide the game with implemented solutions in just a short time frame.
As the large amount of feedback shows, some players think it’s actually a good thing that the sounds can be disabled at any time. They love the more traditional Travian without any acoustic extras.
What’s your experience with in-game sounds in browser games? A must-have or an unnecessary feature? Leave us a comment.