[TIP] When should you use Background Sound vs. audio volumes?

Hey, Torley here, I'm Sansar's sound designer. Just wanted to share a quick audio tip with you...

If you want a sound to be spatialized — like it's coming from within a scene — then Background Sound (in Scene Settings) is likely not what you'll want to use.

Here's the option I'm referring to:

Background Sound is intended for non-diegetic sounds that play at a constant level no matter what you do in a scene.

For example, you know how in movies, there's music that characters can hear — coming from a radio or TV on-screen — and then there's music that we (the audience) can hear but the characters don't? And furthermore, there's no onscreen source that could possibly be playing it? Well, that's like what Background Sound is, except we are in effect both the character and audience. :)

As such, Background Sound will not sound interactively immersive, since it isn't affected by in-scene objects or your camera angle. But, it's still useful if your intent is to play background music that visitors will hear regardless of how deep they go in experience.

But generally for room tones, nature ambience, and so on... if your goal is to have sound fill larger spaces and be spatialized, use audio volumes (as in "sound shape", not "loudness", which can be a sphere or cuboid (box) shape.

You could have a seashore sound and confine it to the area near the beach... you can setup a urban street ambience and position it where your roads are... and ultimately, a lot of sound design's power comes from transitions from one area to another, and subtle layering. A fantastic (in the truest sense of that word) source to draw inspiration from are the greats at Disney, and theme park sound design is a useful parallel when creating your Sansar scenes.

Have fun exploring audio!


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