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Sound

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.

Posts

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Less is more.

Don't use low-quality sound or music, they add little to nothing. That said, good music and sounds can add exactly what you want. I take Radical Dreamers as an example. There's not a whole lot of sounds and only about 5 songs, but several of them are SO PERFECT that I find myself playing that game over and over and over. The Viper Manor music, Lynx's theme, the ending music, it's all so good.

So, my opinion: music and sound are important to give the player something to listen to, but don't have them for the sake of having them. Only use them if you have good music.
Go into more detail about those games! I have little to no experience at all with things beyond, say, Zork when it comes to text-based games.

"dont use bad stuf" is... painfully obvious advice. Tell me about your examples!
I am always in favor of music. I'm actually frequently disappointed that novels are one of the few forms of media nowadays that can't use music. Music adds a whole new dimension of storytelling that can't be conveyed through words alone.
hip-hop and rap. jam it
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