The Power of Sound Effects

As someone who is a big fan of Subnautica, I often keep up with updates to the game, usually via various Youtubers who cover the game extensively.  Without spoiling too much, a huge portion of the end game is in development right now (when this article was written anyway).  Since it’s a key story point, it’s being tweaked to be as impactful as possible.  Animations, voice acting, textures, and tons of other aspects keep being overhauled to present the most satisfying moment that could be achieved.  However, in some of the more recent updates, one additive that added a ton of impact caught my eye: the sound effects.

Sound effects are one of those aspects of creative media that often get overlooked.  Whether the sound effects are audio or implied to with words, they make a huge difference despite being minor additives.  Unfortunately, in numerous indie industries, they can often be underused.  While certainly you run the risk of oversaturating a piece with sound effects, they are still an essential that should never be neglected.  To hammer in this point, let us examine why the sound effects make a difference in two industries: gaming and comics.

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Side Quests: Making Interesting “Fetch Quests”

Warning: Spoilers ahead for Dragon Age: Inquisition (specifically the Hinterlands).

 

The week before last I analyzed side quests and how you could make them more compelling than the generic fetch quests one might see in a grind-like MMORPG.  At the heart of the matter, I illustrated three ways one could make them interesting, namely: having side quests add to the story, having side quests with worthwhile loot, or having side quests with an enormous gameplay challenge.  In regards to story, I discussed certain aspects in Dragon Age II and how some of its side quests vastly change outcome of the story.  However, today I would like to expound on this point some more, and also tackle fetch quests which I didn’t talk about fully in that post.

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When Game Mechanics Break Lore Pt. 2

Warning: Spoilers ahead for the Dragon Age series.

 

Welcome to Part 2 of this discussion about game mechanics breaking lore.  Yesterday, I talked about how the Blood Mage and Spirit Healer specializations were heavily tied in via the lore and story of Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II.  However, as I hinted at the end, things began to go downhill when Dragon Age: Inquisition joined the franchise.

Like its predecessors, Dragon Age: Inquisition utilizes class specializations for character builds.  As technology and know-how has come quite a long ways since the first of the series, companion characters within Dragon Age: Inquisition will actually comment upon your choice of specialization.  Like when Dragon Age II entered the franchise though, mechanics were changed in an attempt to improve the game’s entertainment value.  For mages, the specializations available in Dragon Age: Inquisition are Knight-Enchanter, Necromancer, and Rift Mage.

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