Warframe is a free-to-play sci-fi third-person shooter with a developing team based out of Ontario, Canada. The latest playable character to be released into the game, Octavia, came with a quest and a lot of brand new ideas. Yesterday, in a post on the Xbox website, the developers dove into exactly how they made this sound-based frame and the challenges they came across.
The quest in question, Octavia’s Anthem, only recently made it to Xbox and PlayStation. Players were mostly very impressed with the new “bard frame” and her incredible sound-based abilities. For those that may not know, Octavia uses in-game sound to buff herself and her allies or deal damage to her enemies. For a much more detailed look at the musically-inclined frame, I recommend checking out one of our previous articles on the subject. The point is, these sounds and abilities were unexplored territory for the Digital Extremes – the Warframe developers.
George Spanos, the audio direct at Digital Extremes, stated in the aforementioned Xbox post that he “knew the sound team was going to be challenged like it had never been before.” The first issue they came across was the fact that multiple Octavias could be in a group together, making for quite a clash in music. The sound team decided that in order to minimize the annoyance, all of Octavia’s custom songs would be in the key of D minor, and the tempo could not be changed.
Next came the UI. The idea was to let players create their own music with Octavia and so it had to be easy to do so. According to Spanos, “we turned to the concept behind many early music pattern machines called step sequencers. If players had limited musical knowledge, we didn’t want them to feel overwhelmed with a complex song creation tool.” The result was what you see in-game now – the Mandachord.
The next bit of information in the post might be the most interesting. Spanos detailed exactly how they produced all the sounds you hear in Octavia’s songs and even provided a picture. They used electric guitars, bass, drums, synth sounds, and even a local choir with orchestral instruments.
Spanos boasts that these instruments can all be found in “Sound Packs” in-game and if players so desire, they can mix and match sounds from different packs together to create any sort of song you can imagine. “So, for example, you could have a distorted bass guitar, a synth, and Taiko drumming all playing together”, he states.
The audio director then goes on to tell us that he is very proud of how Octavia came together and thanks the UI and programming teams. Anyone who plays Warframe knows how much of an undertaking this project truly was and so we must give credit where credit is due. Whether you were a fan of Octavia’s Anthem as a quest or not, the frame herself is truly something to be admired.
Octavia’s Anthem is now available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. Download Warframe for free on your platform of choice!