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Game Design


Given that this is a text-based game, a lot of questions are raised regarding something that's generally taken for granted in an RPG: sound.

By and large, most novels don't make sound. The vast, vast majority of novels lack a soundtrack, or sound effects, beyond the turning of a page. The closest thing that commonly plays music would be a visual novel, but that means sound comes long after a graphical element. After all, plenty of novels are illustrated, often beautifully. But how many times does a story have sound but no imagery?

The question is thus: exactly what level of sound is expected from a text-based game? Generally, I'd expect, the answer would be none. Total reliance on written description is acceptable in this case. But is it optimal, or demanded?

Sanctum has a rather elaborate combat engine. There's a lot of information scrolling by each turn, and sound could help ease the burden and the pacing of this information. A sound for friendly damage and enemy damage, a sound for KO, a sound for the start of a new turn. All of these could do a lot to streamline the flow of combat, and therefore the entire game. Simply having sound effects at all, however, brings up a whole host of other issues.

Having flat sound effects draped against a backdrop of nothing creates issues. That is, with sound effects comes the expectation of music, and that could be an issue. Reading plot events book-wise can become difficult if your speakers are constantly reminding you that you're playing a video game. Inversely, dead silence while deep in the dungeon can deaden the mood entirely. Which is worse?

Further effort in writing can clear up the battle log, maintain tension in the dungeon and in battles, and steer the game in a novel-based direction. A well-chosen set of songs and sounds can provide a framing devise, set a mood, and steer the game in a, well, game-based direction.

The benefits of one over the other are not clear at this time.
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