Gaming History 101

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Posts Tagged ‘digital

Sound’s Good: Your Video Game Audio Buying Guide

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This week I decided to take on another technical escapade and look into the sound options for video games.  This requires you to know quite a bit about the concept of analog sound vs digital sound, then compressed audio vs. uncompressed, stereo vs. surround, and all the wonderful tidbits mixed in-between.  Just to make things more complicated, the Internet forums are chock full of people who have no idea what they are talking about and will pollute decent message boards with misinformation only to be ignored by the elite knowledgeable on that board, thus making anyone who does a search end up on a page where the misinformation is the only answer in town.  Additionally companies like Dolby, DTS, and a whole group of fun little logos that can appear as stickers on your receiver’s box, case, or display fill you with the joy and satisfaction that what you see is what you are hearing and that it’s better.  Well guess what, it’s not.  In fact, probably the best surround sound you can possibly get is LPCM (or Linear PCM), which is uncompressed audio that has been around since before CDs and still stands as the best surround sound format – albeit at the cost of TONS of storage space that most consumer products refuse to utilize (remember that TitanFall’s uncompressed audio weighed in around 40 GBs).  With all the mess and bull that exists, I figured why not enlighten my fine readers with a lesson and best practices so that you can easily determine the sound options for your consoles and get them up and running and sounding great.

Please Note: As previously mentioned, there’s tons of misinformation on the web about sound profiles.  For that reason I may be more restrictive about comments that I know are incorrect and whether you choose to disregard this post for that reason is up to you.  Additionally sound, like visuals, is a subjective medium and therefore it won’t be the same for everyone.  Some swear 1080i looks better than 720p and visa versa, the same can be said for compressed DTS 5.1 and uncompressed DTS-HD Master Audio.  Despite the research and blatant facts suggesting otherwise, pick what helps you sleep at night, this is merely a guide of options.

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Written by Fred Rojas

December 2, 2014 at 4:13 pm

Sine Mora (Grasshopper Manufacture/Digital Reality)

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Many would tell you that the shmup is officially dead in the United States, especially when you consider that we’ve never been all that hot at creating titles for the genre and recent sales for retail titles (Deathsmiles, Otomedius) suck.  Fortunately a venture between the eccentric Suda 51 (Killer 7, No More Heroes) with his development team Grasshopper Manufacture and Hungarian developer Digital Reality (mostly PC MMOs) brings one of the best contemporary shmups to date.

Sine Mora is all over the place.  I can’t quite make out the language, but there’s clearly some German in the spoken word, although looking over the development teams perhaps I’m mistaking a Hungarian/Japanese hybrid for German.  A complex story is told in the main campaign, the key to unlocking the true staple shmup options, but don’t worry if you don’t get it because it’s all text-based and has no relevance to the action.  Characters are anthropomorphic versions of various animals from leopards to buffalo and even an incomprehensible robot.  I was also surprised that while the activities in the game aren’t mature, it definitely deserves its M rating with some severely adult themes and language in the dialogue.

After you strip away all that, it’s just a solid horizontal shmup with gorgeous graphics in a steam punk world.  That previous statement honestly sells the graphics short because as a download title the game is stunning.  With 2.5D graphics (3D rendered characters on a 2D plane, much like recent fighter Street Fighter IV) it amazes me how close the actual graphics are to the concept art (see example below) and the attention to detail shows.  What’s a shmup without boss battles, right?  Well Sine Mora is not only filled with them, but they were all conceptually created by legendary anime artist Mahiro Maeda (of Neon Genesis Evangelion fame).  Each ship also has enough detail to be distinguishable, which is useful when trying to imagine the pilots that occupy it and the strengths/weaknesses when using them.  There are also big sweeping moments within the levels that allow you to enjoy the landscape and aircraft you’re piloting before returning to the battle.

Concept Art vs. Actual Visuals. Impressive, no?

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Written by Fred Rojas

March 30, 2012 at 12:00 pm