Sound Loop Assignment Research/Project Cars Analysis

Sound in Project Cars:

The majority of diegetic sounds in Project Cars, and most other racing simulation games, are the sounds of the cars themselves. This may include revving, accelerating, skidding and driving in general. With the capabilities of games increasing, the attention to detail required to create a polished experience to meet the majority of today’s audience’s expectations is much higher than it used to be. The sound of rain hitting the windshield while your windscreen wipers scrub them off is something that is not important in regards to the actual game play, but rather for the overall user experience and immersion that the gamer wants to feel when playing that game. Environment sounds usually take a backseat in driving and racing simulation games, with the sound of the car itself usually overpowering any background noises. However, to create an immersive experience, the use of environmental sounds to create moods for the various racing tracks help keep the player immersed and engaged.

Different maps and tracks have different ambient and background sound effects, some might have thunder rumbling overhead accompanied by a steady downpour of rain hitting your windshield while others might have the roar of the wind ripping past you as you speed along the track pursued by the other racers and cars.

In regards to non-diegetic sounds, there barely are any. Most of the time the game tries to keep you immersed by presenting only sounds you would expect to hear from inside the car that you are currently racing. Most of the non-diegetic sounds are revolved around the menus and loading screen, with the soundtrack accompanying your menu screens and voices providing tutorials and rules for certain races, tracks and mechanics.

The sounds present in Project Cars are usually triggered via the player interacting with the game, such as pushing a button to increase speed/rev the car. The game seems to aim for realistic sounds to couple with the realistic graphics and game engine. With the aim being the authenticity of the cars, a sacrifice is made in regards to the overall user experience, an example being how pleasant the sound of a speeding formula one car is when right next to your ear. With the player being the driver of these cars, the sounds will of course be loud. How this comes across will vary from player to player. Obviously, the game has a specific target audience; car and racing enthusiasts. This, however, leaves out a large demographic of potential buyers. The graphics and authenticity might entice buyers that are usually not interested in this genre but the authenticity of the sound might turn away a few. This is not exactly the case however for all of the cars, there are plenty whose sounds do not fatigue the ears. This can possibly cause a bias for some people, choosing cars on the grounds of their sound rather than how well they perform inside the game. The sounds of all the cars vary from pleasant to fatiguing, as I mentioned above this can turn away many people, entice hardcore fans or create a bias for certain cars and car types. Editing of the sounds to make them more pleasant for the average gamer would detract from the realistic and authentic aspects and goals of the game but make it more accessible for the general public and casual gamer.

The sounds themselves seem quite authentic, climbing in volume and pitch as the cars increase speed and cutting to and fro from that iconic sound of a car speeding along a race track as it brakes or shifts gears. The sounds have a short fade in and out with the idle engine sound playing when the car is not in motion. The idle engine sounds differ from car to car, showing the dedication of the game development team in regards to the authenticity they have tried to create through the capturing of the sounds for this game. There are usually transitional sounds that accompany the fading in and out of the different sounds that have been triggered by the player.

Most of the sounds in the game are the sounds of the cars, with the only silence being before the cars start driving and if you stop your car without any others around you. During this time the only sounds present are from the engine of the car, playing its idle sounds.

Overall, the majority of the sounds in the game are focused around authenticity and accuracy, aiming to create a realistic and immersive driving experience by surrounding the player with realistic sounds collected from life; recorded from the virtual cars’ real life counterparts.