Custom Audio is number three in the Whats Wrong With series of posts. If you missed the first two on Replay Theatre and Creation Centre be sure to check them out and add your opinions in the comments.
To be fair to EA, they did pretty well with custom audio. Provided you spend some time setting up your playlists and getting your audio organised and labelled properly before you fire up the game, it’s a doddle to assign and customise through the Custom Music and Chants menu under My FIFA 11. We looked at Custom Audio when it was first released into the wild, and there is a small how-to to get you started here.
The menus are well laid out and there are a fair amount of match events that you can customise the audio for, Entrances, Goals, Victories, Defeats and General Crowd chants. The apply all option is an absolute godsend and should be updated to include an “apply to selected event for all leagues”, handy if you’ve built a generic chant playlist to cover the whole game. Basically, it’s a really good start, but it needs to go deeper.
Expanding on the existing options, there needs to be more customisation for specific match events, allowing us to really tune the audio experience. David Rutter listed “improved soul and passion” being on the “shopping list” for FIFA 12. A good way to supplement that is by opening up even more options for us to play with. For starters crowd reactions to cards needs to go in, but stay separate, as well as options for fouls and injuries.
You can already customise the audio played when your VP scores, this should be opened up to all players and include options for chants whilst they are in possession or fouled to help make it feel like the crowd are really reacting to whats happening on the pitch. Maybe one day we’ll get this level of interaction. we can dream:
I’d like to see the option to mark players as hostile, which you could then assign a playlist of appropriate crowd reactions to trigger when they step the slightest bit out of line.
For CM, there should be the option to assign pre match music to cups, which would override team entrance music, as well as the option to change the audio played after significant wins, be it over your rivals, or a cup win etc.
Volume was an issue for some people, so it would make sense to put in the tools to adjust that, as well as having a preview function to test how the clip will sounds when fading in from the generic crowd noise. Overall, I found the transition from crowd noise to chant and back almost seamless, others might not agree, but I personally never had any problems with it whatsoever.
Other improvements on the menu side of things, you currently can’t view the contents of playlists or preview them in game, those two features need to be added. You also currently make use of any of the music on the disk in any way, outside of the menus.
Custom Audio in FIFA 11 wasn’t without it’s fair share of problems. People complained of instances where a goal triggering custom audio caused the game to stutter, files not playing and audio being played at incorrect times. There may well have been more issues, but those are the ones I’ve seen mentioned. It goes without saying that these problems need to be fixed. In the last Manchester Derby I played, “We’ve got Cesc Fabregas” was not something I wanted to hear the crowd singing…
So , a good start but lots of room for improvement. As always, post your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.