Week 5: Spatial Sound Cues

This week introduced creating sounds with a synthesizer—a software version called VCVRack, and sound cues in Unreal. While I initially looked forward to the prospect of using a synth, I didn’t get anywhere exciting to my liking, and since we’ll be using Unreal Engine for one more week, I decided to focus on learning sound cues instead.

Sound cues are like blueprints for audio files. Whereas last week we learned how to adjust settings for individual sounds, sound cues make it extremely easy work with a group of sounds in a given location, especially if you want them to play in a sequential order, randomly, or with slight modifications. For example, you can rig a cue with multiple sounds of which only one will play at random. You can layer multiple sounds (with the mixer or concatenator palettes) for random playback when the player triggers the cue or enters into its radius. You can send sounds through a modulator to diversify pitch and volume during playback. So many options!

My guiding question for this week’s sketch was: how I can use sound to promote playful exploration of an environment? In my scene, jumping off each large stair (three giant staircases in total) triggers a goofy playback. And while it looks nothing like a fun house, that’s kinda the point: how can I synergistically pair action and sound to drive discovery despite the drab look?

Credits from Freesound.org:
blip-plock-pop by onikage22
Boing.wav by juskiddink
cartoon slide sound effect.mp3 by reasanka
Comedic Boing, A.wav by InspectorJ
Cute Question Mark by plasterbrain
jawharp_boing.wav by plingativator
Pop!.wav by kwahmah_02
Slide Whistle, Descending, B (H1).wav by InspectorJ
Wood slide whistle - cartoon fall.wav by casemundy