The Sounds of PopCap, Part 3: Peggle
Peggle brings all of PopCap's audio powers to bear. The game's end sequence is an overload of audio bliss -- the ultimate aural reward set to the tune of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy."
Crispy Gamer spoke to Sukhbir Sidhu (co-creator of Peggle and Peggle Nights) to learn about the ways PopCap tweaked the sound in Peggle to generate maximum pleasure.
The sound: Rising sound as ball hits pegs.
Sukhbir Sidhu: The peg-hit sound was borrowed from a game in development, and initially used as a placeholder in the first build of Peggle. This sound was so perfect that we couldn't even think of replacing it.
The sound: The firing sound. It's light and airy, not menacing.
Sidhu: This was a difficult sound to get right; the early versions were far more like cannon or gunshots, and didn't sound right.
The sound: Catching a ball in the bucket; sounds like angels singing.
Sidhu: We originally had a retro-sounding digital "bloop" effect for this (and many other Peggle sounds). The switch to the angelic choir sound was extremely contentious at first, since it was so different from the one we were used to, but soon we much preferred the new sound and it seemed like a good "final" sound with which to punctuate the end of a shot. One of the goals of the sound effects was to try to get them to blend in with the background music, so that the various randomly activated sound effects in the game could act as instruments on the soundtrack if triggered at the right time.
The sound: Very complex series of sounds at the end of a level: timpani, rainbow, fireworks, "Ode to Joy," the score adding up.
Sidhu: Much of the level-end sequence was done before the sound effects were added, and it was already pretty exciting with minimal sound effects, but the final sounds obviously made a huge improvement. The timpani was originally a device to mask the transition from the laid-back gameplay music to the sudden start of "Ode to Joy," but it worked really well to add a touch of drama to the ball flying past the final orange peg.
Though we played with a few classical pieces early on before we nailed down the Peggle gameplay mechanics, "Ode to Joy" was in the game as the Fever music from the very first build of Peggle. It was originally put in as a bit of a joke, but everyone who won a level reacted so excitedly, it soon became clear we had to keep it and that "Ode to Joy" would become a defining characteristic of Peggle. We sped up the "Ode to Joy" snippet slightly, since it just worked better that way, though Beethoven would probably not approve.