Modding and audio progress

Posted November 24th, 2013 by Tynan Sylvester

Hey all, just a quick update on what I’ve been doing. In short: audio and modding.

I’ve been working on the system that our audiopath Alistair Lindsay is going to use to define the sounds for the game. Up until now I’ve created simple sounds myself from free source files found at The code would then just play the appropriate sound file directly when triggered. This filled the gap enough for my own pre-alpha purposes, but now that we’re getting serious about audio it’s clear something much more is needed.

Al wrote me an awesome document describing the kinds of features he needs in an audio authoring system and I’ve been working on getting it done for him. He’ll be able to define sound containers that the game will randomly choose between (like creating several sounds for a punch hitting someone). It’ll avoid repeating sounds frequently, if desired. Loopers can now define a maximum number of voices, so if there are 40 fires near the camera, Al can choose to have the player only hear the closest three of them, fading between sources as the camera moves around. Soon I’ll be doing a loop-shuffle system where he can define sounds in a container and the game will crossfade between them to create one long sustained sound. So, there might be several short samples of fire burning that the game will shuffle up into a never-repeating fire mixture.

After that will be the really fun and hardcore stuff – tying sounds to game parameters. So we might tie a fire size parameter to some processing in the fire sound. It might fade from a small fire sound to a big fire sound, or change EQ settings or volume as it gets larger. I’ve created an editor to define these things while the game is running, even adding and changing sound files without stopping play.

This progress isn’t just about the audio, either. This editor generalizes to anything you can define in the game. It is the in-game mod editor. Some day it’ll be usable to creating new weapons, configuring them, creating audiovisual content for them, and playing with it all while editing it without ever closing the game. I’m hoping that a really powerful modding interface will encourage modders to create lots of new content. Here’s what it looks like now after a week of development:


Another fun detail is that this interface with line-by-line editing and collapsible objects is really modeled after the property editor in UnrealEd, which I used for many years at Irrational and before. It’s funny how some things stick with you and you end up using them where you might not expect.

I don’t know when the next public content update will be. There is some pretty heavy technical lifting to do over here – I’m doing this audio/modding system and planning to switch the game to use Dwarf Fortress-style on-map stockpiles. It could be a little while.


19 Responses to “Modding and audio progress”

  1. Anon

    Is this the same Alistair Lindsay of Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 fame?

  2. I guess it is! I know he did Defcon. He’s featured quite heavily on he Kickstarter page for RW.

  3. Starlight

    DF style stockpiles are wonderful.

    DF stockpiles items take 1 space. (Say 1 bar of stone, steel, etc).To take up less space you have containers, which can store 5-20 of an item.

    The problem is that the algo for stacking items into containers has major bugs – which often gets your stockpile full while stacking 1 item at a time, and still having containers to stack.

    So please make sure that the experience in stockpiles is smooth.

  4. Starlight – yeah, that sort of thing is why it’s going to take me some time to have it all working just right. The number of ways stockpiles can go wrong is pretty staggering. Especially with odd situations like: A dude is walking across a big stockpile that is at full capacity and is carrying a stack of food. Someone shoots him and he drops the food. What happens? Does it magically overstack a square on the pile? Does it propagate to the edge of the pile? Does it destroy something to make room for itself, or vanish? Oh, the glamour of game design!

  5. Ernest

    Looks like you have your work cut out for you, business stuff, community stuff, rewards, audio engine, bugs, features, A.I. and the finishing the rest of the game.

    I know we talked about the about the whole hiring more ppl thing at Dirty Rects last month, and how it would almost seem counter-productive, have your thoughts changed on that much? I’d probably have a hard time letting go of some control as well.

    Game is great btw, so, so, so much potential to be amazing. Good luck!

  6. Christian

    This is wonderful news 🙂 It’s great that you take time to tell us what is going on! Tank you. Keep up the great work!

  7. Miles

    Thanks so much for creating an excellent game concept. Also, stinks about the crappy neighbors. Our neighbors cook food that makes our apartment smell like stale farts. I know your pain.

    Glad to hear the business side is working out. Every day I think “should I check the Rimworld Dev blog today?” but I silence it remembering that progress and solid work come with your perseverance and my patience.

    I hope I speak for everyone when I say we look forward to more news!


  8. Erik

    Thanks for the update Tynan! Just take your time, we’re privileged as it is, taking part in the pre-alpha version 🙂

    Can’t wait to see tho where I can use my hoarded medkids, uranium, missiles and shells on 😉

  9. Andromeda

    would you mind addin additional payment methodes later?, otherwise youre cutting out alot of people for a good experience…

    (it’s hard to get a credit card in hell :D)

  10. Suhov

    Tynan, could you re-post such articles to KS page or post a link. Thanks.

  11. Descrocs

    Yup ! Keeping up to date when I can, here too = ). But never forget to rest too Tynan ^^. It is going to end well !

  12. Danieo

    Tynan, can you make an Mod API for the game ? For example for making new storytellers ,modify the world generator , or making new features etc.

  13. Nekyz

    Hey just a little feedback to say that your game is awesome, and i like your ideas and where it’s going.

  14. Andersw

    Could you set up different payment methods beyond PayPal?

  15. @Everyone – thanks!

    @Anders – I should look into other methods. It will be on Steam and other services eventually as well, mind you.

    @Danieo – Mod API is planned, for the future. Not in the first moddable release (which will allow content modding only).

  16. Santoverso

    French Love your work and wait for the Alpha !

  17. JKTD1919

    Glad I’m not the only one who asked for an alternative payment method. Cash is da bes.

  18. Awesome! I am actually trying to get my foot into sound-design for games as we speak, so this post was very nice to read! Sounds like a pretty nice system.
    I had an idea of offering my services if you wanted them 🙂 this was before I read about what was going on sound-wise on this project. Looking forward to hearing the results 🙂

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