Partner Spotlight: Q & A with FunPlus
We’re delighted to have worked on the audio for the recently released, free-to-play mobile game, Barn Voyage. We think that this project artfully demonstrates how the world of a game can be united through a complete audio experience–including music, voice acting, SFX and overall sound design. We spoke with FunPlus Senior Product Manager Steven Johnson about the thinking behind this game, as follows:
STi: What was the vision in creating Barn Voyage? How does Barn Voyage build on the popularity of Family Farm?
SJ: FunPlus users love to farm, our goal was to take the established mechanics and features of farm games and elevate them to a new level with an experience that was more tightly knit and customized to the player while infusing it with a unique and appealing personality. We’re taking everything we’ve learned from Family Farm, everything our players have asked for and everything we haven’t been able to do and built it into a modern farming game with the same focus on player experience. More than in any other farming game, everything in Barn Voyage has a purpose.
STi: How does Barn Voyage compete in a crowded Farming game genre. What makes this game special?
SJ: FunPlus approaches game creation collaboratively by combining Western and Eastern strengths – developmental and operational excellence. Playing to the company’s unique strengths allows us to build and operate a truly global game that scales while offering better region-specific experiences than any of our competitors. Building on our characters and avatar system, we build high degrees of customization into Barn Voyage starting with decorations and hats for your in-game character. We’ve spent months testing and polishing everything in the game, and have tuned it to fit any play style – in Barn Voyage you can play for long sessions multiple times a day without hours of waiting for timers to finish. Barn Voyage was designed to welcome players and give them lots of freedom to play how they want.
STi: What are some noteworthy elements/backstory related to Barn Voyage’s gameplay, design, art and audio?
SJ: After our first farming games, we wanted a farming game that felt even more alive and personal, so we gave the player an on-board avatar to control rather than playing as the god-finger-farmer in the sky. Beyond your own character, we wanted Barn Voyage to be charming, quirky, and maybe even a little familiar (especially for our Family Farm players). We tried to use a welcoming illustrated art style on distinct characters from Michael’s well-worn flannel to the excitable and suspicious chickens. Everything in Barn Voyage has a clear and loveable identity. SomaTone helped us to bring characters to life through sound effects and voice acting that is a perfect match for the personalities and movements of everything in the game. A lot of attention was given to the animals in particular – closely matching the sound effects to the animations to clearly match player actions while conveying the results.
STi: What do you think is the role that audio plays in the overall gameplay experience in this genre?
SJ: I love to use the music of the game to set the mood and get the player ready for what they are about to experience. In this case the player gets to say “Barn Voyage” to their old life and immerse themselves in a laid-back farming lifestyle. For simulation games, especially farming which involves physical labor and lots of iconic animals that almost everyone is familiar with, the game needs to simulate their expectations of farming, tying fantasy and reality together seamlessly. Creating a complete audio experience where the music, ambient noises, and sound effects unite the world of the game is the ultimate goal.
STi: What is your favorite casual game of all time?
SJ: Canabalt. I tend to like retro-looking games and I like emergent gameplay. I really like the simplicity of the game and the room it allows for the player to imagine their own backstory.
Download Barn Voyage here: http://bit.ly/BarnVoyageEN – See more at: http://web.archive.org/web/20141004184703/https://somatone.com/news/#sthash.wMTPa3EC.dpuf