Everything audio-related inside and outside the game is handled by the Sound Team.
Team lead(s): Oliveriver
Forum category: http://forum.revolutionarygamesstudio.com/c/sound
Types of work: Music, sound effects
Most Sound Team members in the past have worked on music, composing themes (our name for pieces or tracks meant to represent a certain stage, scenario or event) for the game. The soundtrack for the Microbe Stage is already complete (and can be downloaded here), so unlike most other teams the Sound Team can afford to work on assets for other game stages. Any themes created now for later stages are preliminary, since their implementation will depend upon future design decisions. A list of approved submissions can be found here. Some themes have been included even though they have flaws because they demonstrate interesting ideas. Those which aren't up to standard will be remade at a later point incorporating the original ideas.
In general there aren't guidelines for themes, though depending on the scenario involved some restrictions may apply. For instance, we've decided on an aesthetic of syntheszier pads and watery effects for the Microbe Stage, so more complex instruments and arrangements will have to wait until later stages (since the progression of musical complexity should symbolically coincide with the progression of the player's species towards galactic dominance).
The other responsibility of the Sound Team is sound effects. These are short non-musical noises accompanying an action or event inside the game. Examples include: GUI sounds (such as button clicks), ambience (looping watery sounds), movement sounds (splashes of water), achievement sounds (such as collecting an organelle) and warning sounds (such as taking damage from agents). We have temporary versions in the game already, but we're looking for more professional sound effect engineers to improve on them.
Thrive uses the OpenAL sound engine. It allows both global sounds and point source sounds. Global sounds are those heard with the same volume and position whatever the situation, such as GUI and achievement/warning sounds, while point source sounds come from an object in the game world. All music and sounds must be converted to .ogg versions for inclusion in the game. There is a slight drop in quality, but it's necessary for the engine to work correctly and it stops the package size getting too large.
We have sound effects in the game at the moment, but they're intended to be temporary and will be replaced at some point in the future. We're also looking to program some parts of the system differently, such as making the volume of turning sounds scale with turning rate.
As explained above, themes can be composed irrespective of which stage of the game they're appropriate for.
This list isn't fixed. If you can think of a feature you'd like to start working on that we didn't mention just let us know. There are also innumerable ideas you could try to prototype if you wanted.
Music List Thread
This is the place for posting all completed or WIP themes for constructive criticism from other composers and the rest of the team. As with all development forum threads, posting is restricted to those who have made a successful application (see this page).
Approved Soundtrack Playlist
A collection of all the music created for the game the team has deemed good enough to go into the game either as it is or with some adjustments (see the explanation above). If you need inspiration or some example aesthetics, here's where to look. Since this playlist is YouTube based, all themes will eventually need to be put on YouTube for convenience's sake, although higher quality versions can be kept elsewhere.
Soundtrack on Bandcamp
The official soundtrack for the game as it currently stands. Everything is free to download.
A guide to music composition in the context of Thrive by team lead Oliveriver. Perhaps not strictly a tutorial since it's not a step-by-step process, but it should help with understanding how to compose and produce appropriate music. Currently only one part is available, but others will be written in the future.
How do I join the Sound Team?
See Application Process.