Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Connected To The Sound, Pictures On The Wall

It must have been about six months since I last logged in to Occupy White Walls. I wasn't all that enamored with the direction it had taken and the updates I'd heard about weren't doing much to change my mind.

And then yesterday, while I was on Steam looking at something else, I happened to notice this. I've linked it from the OWW website because linking from Steam is a pain.

The feature that caught my eye was called CloudSound:

CloudSound - Add music from SoundCloud to your gallery

  • 2 unique speakers, 2 Jukeboxes, and a turntable to choose from

  • 4 different animation effects

  • Load songs from SoundCloud to anywhere in your gallery

  • Choose the radius distance of the music

  • Let visitors hear your music all over your gallery with the global setting

  • Place multiple speakers and only hear only closest (great for specific rooms)

That sounded like something worth patching up for.

Cue music!


Before I got started on my own gallery I had a wander round the new tutorial space, the Piazza Dei Miracoli. It's impressive. The game's gotten a lot slicker since last I played.

I looked around a couple of the gallery spaces there and listened to the music that was playing but what I really wanted to do was try it for myself. I was mostly curious to find out just what kind of tunes were available on SoundCloud that you could use in the game. 

I thought I vaguely knew what SoundCloud was but I think I must have been confusing it with something else. I remembered it as the place where I got the sound samples from Daria to use for my character in Baldur's Gate but that must have been a different repository altogether. SoundCloud didn't even come into existence until nearly a decade later.

The copyright issue, which was puzzling me a little, seems to be comprehensively covered by SoundCloud's own operating agenda. To link a track in game it has to be flagged as "Public" on SoundCloud and that already means "anyone can listent to it".  

That's how you do in-game help.


The platform has just moved to a system of "Fan-Powered Royalties", which is an intriguing concept. How that fits in with the OWW deal isn't mentioned but I notice that if you click on the image of the track in game it takes you to the relevant page on SoundCloud itself so I imagine what you could call active views and listens can be tallied that way. 

Anyway, that's not my concern. I was more interested to know whether there was stuff on SoundCloud that a) I knew b) I liked and c) I'd want playing in my gallery. And the answer to all three questions is a resounding "Yes!". (Hmm... I wonder if they have anything by Yes...)

I always have trouble of thinking of random band names to put into search engines. For some reason the ones that pop into my mind first seem to be Papertiger Sound and Scary Bear Soundtracks. I thought they'd be a good test anyway, what with being more than ordinarily obscure. Plus I love them both and they would be perfect for my gallery.

And there they were. Plenty of tracks by both of them. I spent a good while playing around with the controls in game and on SoundCloud, figuring out how to get something from one into the other. I bought a speaker and put it down then I followed the very clear UI instructions to get a track installed and playing. 

Paola's really into it.


It all worked beautifully until I had a couple of speakers placed and tried moving from one to another. Then things went a bit haywire. You can set the distance at which you continue to hear each speaker but the transitions are brutal. Also, OWW has its own (rather good) music, which carries on playing every chance it gets. Your speakers replace it when you're in range but as you move around the gallery the game's music comes back whenever you pass into a dead spot.

After a while I got that sorted but two of the three Papertiger Sound tracks I was using kept breaking for some reason. I'm not sure if the game streams them in real time or uploads them and holds them somewhere but whatever it does it wasn't working very smoothly. 

Eventually I got three speakers installed, each with a track that seemed stable. Then I thought about what I was going to post about it. 

I was always going to post but it seemed nuts to try and describe the whole thing (like I just have...) when I could just make a video and let the music play. So I did and here it is:

There's an official video but honestly I don't think it really shows how it works. And it's a little... well... Isn't it?

The update notes mention jukeboxes. A working jukebox would be A M A Z I N G! (Sorry, still thinking of that official video...). There was a discussion going on in chat while I was there about how to get playlists working (people had seen them in action but no-one knew how it was done). I'm wondering if that's what the jukeboxes do?

I'll have to go in and play around some more. The somewhat annoying thing is that OWW will insist on kinda-sorta being an actual game, so I'll probably have to level up before I can see the advanced options. Like jukeboxes.

I need to do that anyway to earn the right to make a second gallery. I was going to do it when they added the option but I somehow never quite got round to it. Being able to set my own choice of music might just be the motivation I needed.

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