Star Wars: The Old Republic Studio Insider #4 and Media

BioWare Austin has updated the official Star Wars: The Old Republic website with some new media, including a new addition to the concept art page that spotlights "the muddy marshlands of Hutta" and a "fan site summit report" video. They also offer a new studio insider on combat audio, with audio designer Scott Morton talking about - what else? - audio design. We'll start with the video:

And a snip from the insider:
One of the first things we do when beginning audio production on combat abilities is to give each class a distinctive aural character. We've discovered that a great way to establish a sonic palette for each class is to come up with one or two descriptive terms that capture the essence of what we're trying to convey, and attempt to tune every sound to those terms. The Jedi classes are very (Zen) in nature, employing a lot of yellow, white, and blue visual effects usually softer around the edges. For these, we want to convey ideas like (smooth) and (wavelike) in our audio. Because the Sith represent a more corrupt and (edgier) side of the force, we want the sounds associated with them to be more (rough.) Smugglers are (flashy). Agents are (refined) and (sleek).

After we've determined the general style for each class, it's time to hammer out the details of how each of the abilities functions, from both a dramatic and a Player feedback perspective. Not only do we want the Player to feel awesome when using an ability, we also want to communicate to them what sort of statistical purpose it serves to their character. Some are obvious the Sith Inquisitor's Force Storm is one of her top-level abilities, and it's very apparent that Force Storm is all about inflicting massive amounts of Force Lightning damage on any poor soul who might be in the immediate vicinity. Some abilities, like the Agent's Stealth, benefit from a feedback-like approach. The sound needs to fit the sonic style of the character, but it also needs to tell the Player that he's dropped into an undetectable state. Designing the audio to slide down in pitch and volume can help to give a (backing off) impression as the Agent retreats into the shadows.