Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Pele is Filled with Natural Sounds
Written 20 September, 2007


Sound in Second Life is problematic. Sometimes sounds refuse to play, and sometimes they play only after a delay. Worse, they are limited to 10 seconds.

While sounds can be broken into segments and played sequentially, allowing, theoretically a song to be played, the laaaaag moooonsssterrrr makes this impractical.

And yet…

Sound contribute hugely to my Second Life experience. The sound of the wind, waves, birds chittering, frogs croaking, crickets chirping, and auditory feedback for interface actions, the typing sound that lets me know avatars are about to speak, even those annoying shoe clicks that seem to be everywhere lately—all contribute to my immersion in SL.

When I log on from a computer with no sound, or when I log on with the sound turned off because of the previous night’s Skype with Sweetie, it takes me only seconds to realize all is not right with my second world.

Pele has lots of sounds: frogs (bull and tree), crickets, more than 20 species of birds, humpback songs, chimes, gongs, bells, door slams, thunks, clicks, bubbles, hisses, instrumental tunes, steam train whistles and rolling sounds, and, upon command, ten seconds of Jimmy Buffet singing "Volcano."

Woo hoo!

I have an ancient sound editing program, the name of which I tend to forget because it's difficult to use. I don't load it at all now because someone (maybe Peter, who has URLs for everything) about the free program Audacity. I downloaded it and since then, making sounds for Pele has been a snap. I've found many free sounds on the internet, and have begun to make others, using my iRiver MP3 player, which makes high-quality sound recordings.

Sounds get short thrift in SL. They're hard to find, and, for the most part, imaginative. There are, not surprisingly, maybe one hundred passionate sex moans for every bird call you can find-- but there are some nice environmental sounds. Bliss Gardens, for instance, has a nice sound vendor, although, darn it, the bird calls aren't named for the species. The signage indicates the type of bird, but the actual sound doesn't. So I got home with six or seven bird calls, and have no idea which is which-- although I did meet, here on the grid, a real-life ornithologist. Maybe I'll invite him over and serve him a virtual supper and ask him to go through the bird songs with me.

I've been using scripts to play sounds, too. I'll do a post on that soon.


Indigo said...
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Indigo said...

Great reading, Chey...I'm gonna use your cool sound scripts. Thank you! ~ Indigo

Cheyenne Palisades said...

Thank me when the script compiles, Indigo!