Fixing the Soundscape.

PerringaidenPerringaiden ✭✭✭✭✭
edited September 2019 in App Feedback (Archive)

I am one of those people who always uses sound in games. Some games, you can literally do parts with your eyes closed because of the soundscape.

For a long time, Ingress was one of these. I'll start with two key points of the Classic scanner and then discuss Prime.

Classic Scanner

a. Combat damage - There are actually 5 different sounds for a Resonator taking damage.

  • 1% or less
  • up to 5%
  • up to 25%
  • above 25%
  • the resonator exploding.

With these, you can do things like fire bursters without having to watch for damage to know how well you're doing. You can walk down the street secret agent style, with your phone in your pocket, headphones on, blowing up a farm without needing to see that you're succeeding or not.

b. Relative silence - Another key thing about the Classic scanner is relative silence when not acting. If you turn off the background noise and do nothing, you hear nothing. Tap a portal and you hear a beep, but then you continue to hear nothing while looking at the portal. This is significant in the age of wireless, battery powered headphones. If I'm walking towards a portal in the distance, I usually would simply open the portal on the screen, put away my phone, then walk towards it until the scanner says "Portal in Range" at which point I pull out my phone again. In the intervening period I can listen to music, or talk with friends, etc.

Prime Scanner

The greatest problem with the Prime Scanner's soundscape is the "noise". Using the analogy of signal to noise ratio, the noise for the scanner is extremely high and unavoidable. There are so many unnecessary and uninformative sounds cluttering up the soundscape, and they are not separated out into a band that can be disabled, without losing all sound.

a. Screaming in portals - Particularly annoying with ENL P8s, but also with RES P8s to some extent, simply having the portal open, floods the soundscape with ADA and Jarvis. Jarvis is so noisy to the point where you often can't hear music over his ranting. No-one needs to hear how he's not dead, all day every day. It's background noise that only the most lore-encased players want to hear. I don't select portals and walk to them any more because P8s are a screamfest for far too long. I also can't navigate in game to the portal, so I can't use that method to know when I've arrived. Additionally the crackling noise of the portal is just as unnecessary and should be moved.

b. External activities - I don't know the number of times I've heard "Link detected" and "Field detected" with no idea where on earth it happened. Once I opened up the map to find out that the link I 'detected' was more than 2km's away at its closest point. Four times what the scanner can show me. There is no way I could even see the link let alone do something about it in the moment. That was annoying, but not so bad. However, yesterday I did an entire Mission Day on Prime and discovered that not only was the nearby attack sounds saturating, but there was no way aside from turning off all sounds, to get rid of it. Playing with headphones, I was 'assaulted' with portal explosions and noise for nearly 3 hours while doing Missions, because everyone else was doing missions and the portals were flipping back and forth constantly.

c. Attacks - I can't yet confirm that there's actual information in the attack noises beyond the 1% vs anything else, but I'm yet to hear it if it is. I regularly fail to hear mods popping either because the sound is truncated because of everything else, or it simply is too heavily covered up by all the noise.

d. Scanner Sweep and Background Hum - This is also one of the most annoying examples of unnecessary noise. The constant background noise (while Background is off) means that wireless headphones are constantly on, and a run time of 12-15 hours is cut down to its minimum of 5-6 hours. Often I will play without music and just the Ingress sounds on, usually because I'm talking to others. The constant noise of the scanner pulse and the background "dum dum" every few seconds makes me either turn sound off completely, or turn down my headphones to the point that useful noises are far too quiet.

It's clear that no developer has ever left the client open with headphones on (sitting on the table beside you doesn't count), while the Background channel is on. It literally would drive you insane, like a Guantanamo Bay prisoner torture. It's also clear that developers haven't embraced the soundscape of Classic and its very good Signal to Noise ratio.

Suggestions

Either create a "flavor" channel, or move the majority of non-interactive sounds to Background.

  • Scanner sweep and background hum - This must go to background. It is literally the background noise of the game. Turning on the Background channel simply amps up the amount of static. Turning it off does NOT remove the background noises.
  • Portal attacks and external changes on the game field, both the voice and the sounds of attack, need to be moved to a combat sound channel. It's sometimes useful and in many cases would be left on, but at times, it makes audio impossible to use (e.g. mission days).
  • The portal screaming needs to either be removed completely, or moved to Background. It does not provide any useful information and actively prevents Agents from playing in an efficient manner.

I'm sure other people can add more in the comments, but the logic here is that we should be able to configure our soundscape so that we hear

  • Only voice associated with our actions.
  • Only sounds associated with our actions.
  • Silence when we're not doing anything, without completely disabling sounds.
Tagged:

Comments

  • yes, bring back the soundscape...

  • I've only ever turned sound on once - hoping redacted would tell me when I drove past a portal (It didn't).

    If walking around while playing you really don't want any sounds at all - leaving your ears to detect cars and pedestrians that your eyes don't notice because they are 'busy' looking at the screen.

  • PerringaidenPerringaiden ✭✭✭✭✭

    Actually, with the sounds on, I can look at the screen less, and around more because the sounds can tell me when I've finished deploying, or when I need to cube. You are safer with the sounds on and less eyes locked to the screen.

  • 1valdis1valdis ✭✭✭✭✭

    I agree 100% with that. Some noises like Jarvis/ADA rant may seem cool at the beginning but are actually useless. I'd prefer old soundscape.

  • The old soundscape had purpose.

    While I rarely used it, several vision-impaired players were BIG FANS.

    Perhaps good soundscape might reduce some complaints about the "visibility" of the game

  • GersterwindGersterwind ✭✭✭
    edited January 2020

    Switching to Unity means all the people who could be working to fix ingress could also be working to fix PoGo or HPWU.

    Considering what makes them money, I'm not surprised nothing has been done on Prime since they've got kinks to iron out in PoGo right now.

    But it would be really nice if we could have an actual team dedicated to ingress, who might iron out even one of the kinks I've been reporting since August.

  • PerringaidenPerringaiden ✭✭✭✭✭

    PoGo and HPWU don't have a soundscape to speak of either. They're both very simplistic in that respect. I think it's more a lack of engineers who understand how Ingress players use the game, despite Phil Keslin having some sort of clue.

  • I usually don't play games with the sound on, just the first time out of curiosity, and my phone is also usually in silent mode.

    It was the same with Ingress Prime, besides, the tutorial was really noisy. But there was an update while my phone had the sound on, and suddenly, without having changed any setting, I could hear just the resonators decaying or being attacked. And it was really useful!!

    After the first heartstopping scare due to decay, I checked the settings and all the sounds were disabled, so I assumed it was a bug. Although I found it was a feature for me when my hood was being attacked, that's why I didn't complain anywhere and started having my phone with the sounds on. Sadly, it was fixed with the following update.

    So, yeah, it would be great if the sounds were kind of separated and we could choose wich ones to hear.

    Btw, prior to reading this post I had no idea that one could gather so many information in this game just using the sound, perhaps I'll give it a try if they give us the opportunity of getting rid of all the unnecesary sounds. My neck would appreciate it.

  • jontebulajontebula ✭✭✭✭

    I hope Niantic fix more high volyme of the sounds REDACTED have. Now Prime have low volyme on maximum. I have Samsung Galaxy S10+


    Please help @NianticBrian and update it in Prime soon.

  • I also used to have sound on in redacted for similar purposes - the ‘portal in range’ message and the clearly distinct damage sounds were great.

    Prime sounds noisy - even when it is just me in an area and background is off. And at events like iFS it is completely painful to have sound up at all, as well as any kind of farms. The Jarvis and ADA voices were interesting once. If they could be moved to background or if frequency and relative volume could adjusted that would be a big improvement.


    this also falls into the accessibility discussion: for those of us who still get headaches, eye strain and migraine from the prime graphics, as well as visually impaired agents who cannot clearly see the game elements, the sound effects could provide a meaningful way to interact with the game without constant exposure to the graphics.

  • HydracyanHydracyan ✭✭✭✭✭

    And when looking a key, you can see resonators exploding and link animations that happened hours ago, and mistakenly think it's happening now.

  • "PoGo and HPWU don't have a soundscape to speak of either. They're both very simplistic in that respect"

    Actually no. While I cannot speak for HPWU, pokemon Go has a considerable soundscape.

    There is a sound effect for when a pokemon appears on the map. A different sound effect for when you get in range of a gym, a different sound for a gym with a raid battle, a different sound effect for a pokestop, another for a pokestop controlled by team rocket. Literally ever possible different interaction on the map has a different sound effect.

    When catching pokemon, theres a sound for missing your throw, a sound for catching, a sound for escaping, a sound for fleeing.

    In a pokestop, one sound tells you if you're in range, one if you've spun it. When it's ready again it makes a sound.

    In a gym, there a different sound for raid vs regular, a different sound for friendly/neural VS enemy control.

    When feeding friendly pokemon in a gym, there's a sound effect when they are very happy.

    In classic battles, there is one sound for super effective attacks, one for regular attacks, one for not very effective attacks, one for your charged attack being ready, one for using charged attack.

    In trainer battles, there's also sound effects for incoming attacks, shield deploys, and catching charges for charged attacks.

    You can literally play by Sound alone unless you're trying to check pokemon stats, select parties, or manage inventory.

  • PerringaidenPerringaiden ✭✭✭✭✭

    d. Scanner Sweep and Background Hum - This is also one of the most annoying examples of unnecessary noise. The constant background noise (while Background is off) means that wireless headphones are constantly on, and a run time of 12-15 hours is cut down to its minimum of 5-6 hours. Often I will play without music and just the Ingress sounds on, usually because I'm talking to others. The constant noise of the scanner pulse and the background "dum dum" every few seconds makes me either turn sound off completely, or turn down my headphones to the point that useful noises are far too quiet.

    It's clear that no developer has ever left the client open with headphones on (sitting on the table beside you doesn't count), while the Background channel is on. It literally would drive you insane, like a Guantanamo Bay prisoner torture. It's also clear that developers haven't embraced the soundscape of Classic and its very good Signal to Noise ratio.

    So either someone listened to this feedback, or they actually left the client open with headphones on, because as of 2.59, when you have the scanner open but no portals selected, even when you're sitting right on a portal, there's no sound when Background is turned off, except for active collection of XM and the occasional speech updating you on changes.

    Thankyou for this improvement!

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