Game Design in Salt: Music

12:11 PM willsterling23 0 Comments


Often we like to give you a behind-the-scenes look at some of our design and development processes so you can understand why certain aspects of the game are the way they are, and so you can look for these philosophies sprinkled throughout our content. Today I want to talk about our design philosophy behind the music in Salt.

The Importance of Music

We believe that music plays a major role in the development of a game. Many games are even known or stand out for their music. Think of The Last of Us with the haunting acoustic guitar melodies, adding a tremendous amount of atmosphere to the time between the tension. Or Dark Souls with the brilliant boss music adding a new level of intensity to an already tense battle. Some games even have musical melodies that are almost universally recognized among gamers (like Ocarina of Time).

Knowing that, we wanted to make sure the music in Salt felt right. We didn’t want it to be too generic or easy to just pass by. We wanted music that really helped the game and further immersed you into your adventure.

Scarcity of Music

One major design decision we made early on was to have music somewhat uncommon. We didn’t really like the idea of music constantly playing. I often find that this can become over stimulating and actually take away from the atmosphere of the world, thus making you less immersed.

With Salt being a game where you spend a large amount of time at sea, it seemed natural to have music play then. And so we wrote a system where music had a certain percentage chance of occurring while you were out in the open ocean (we define open ocean as being a certain number of units from islands). This turned out to work really well. Often you ended up with some down time on the large expanses of ocean, waiting for another island to emerge, and so it was nice to have some epic melodies play while your boat is crashing up and down on the waves heading towards the horizon.

We recently decided to expand this system to islands as well. We have specifically wrote shorter, less intrusive melodies that have a chance of occurring when you are exploring certain islands. This still keeps within our philosophy of keeping music scarce since it won’t occur on every island, and it won’t always happen. But when it does we feel that it adds a nice sense of calm and relaxation when exploring some natural islands.

Thematic Music

Another big design decision was to split almost all of the music in the game into two categories: night and day. For example when you are sailing out into the ocean, if it’s during the day, there’s a certain pool of songs that the game can pick from. All of these songs are specifically designed with the theme of daytime in mind. This means they will be more upbeat, happy, epic feeling, etc. And vice versa when you are sailing at night, there’s a pool of nighttime exclusive songs with a more sad, eerie, or even relaxing feel. This system also extends to island music.

Boss Music

While we chose not to have music play during common battles, we knew that bosses had to have music. A boss battle just doesn’t really feel like a boss battle without the appropriate music. And so we’ve composed some unique tunes for each boss battle in the game. Some of the songs even share similarities with a twist, such as the Spider Queen vs the Jungle Queen music.

Music You Can Control

In a more recent update, we introduced musical instruments that players can find in the world. One of the design philosophies behind musical instruments was to give the player more control over music in their game. We know that players have different preferences: some want to hear music more often, others would prefer it to be more refrained. Now with musical instruments you have more control over when you want to hear music. We’ve added around eleven new instruments, each with a different theme to suit your playstyle or the feeling you’d like to convey with music in your adventure.


Even though we’re always tweaking and polishing our systems, we are pretty happy with the way the music has turned out. What do you all think? We love hearing your feedback and would love to hear your thoughts on the music system in Salt. 

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Update 1.9.4 - Songs of the Seas is Now Available!

12:20 PM willsterling23 3 Comments


Update 1.9.4: Songs of the Seas is now available! This update includes a lot of new content and changes so let's go over some of the content you can expect to see in this update.


Musical Instruments and The Composer NPC


Hanging out at the Inn you'll be able to find a new NPC known as The Composer. This NPC features an entirely new quest line that will allow you to unlock and earn musical instruments that you can play throughout your journey. These instruments also give you buffs in additional to nice melody for your adventure! With the new Composer NPC you can also earn new gear. And we may have added some secrets as well...

Steam Achievements


We have now added Steam Achievements for Salt! We are very excited about this and we tried to design some fun and challenging achievements for you to work toward. 


Audio Changes


With this update we've also added a slew of audio changes and improvements. One such change is new boat sounds. Now when you are sailing in your big ship you can hear creaks, sail flaps, and things of that nature. We've also added new footstep sounds, and a new save sound. 


Patch Notes


Here is a full list of the patch notes. 

Added steam achievements.
Added a new NPC known as The Composer.
Added new musical instrument items.
Added new quests and item rewards.
Added music for the first time you use the raft.
Added new loading screens.
Added new secrets.
Added new boat sounds.
Added new footstep sounds and increased the variety of sounds that can play.
Added a new save sound.
Fixed white deer set bonus not applying properly.
Updated short sword model.
Fixed a bug that would have you receive multiple "Blood Jungle" items when completing the quest.
The Sea Scholar will no longer charge gold for books you have sold to him.
Fixed an error that would cause sound to sometimes not work properly after a death.


Progress on Multiplayer


We know many of you are awaiting the Multiplayer update, and we want to thank you for your continued patience. It is a large undertaking, but it will definitely be worth the time investment. More and more progress is made daily. We do not yet have an ETA on its completion.

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Update 1.9.4 - Songs of the Seas now on Testing Branch!

7:40 AM willsterling23 0 Comments



We have just pushed update 1.9.4 to the Steam testing branch. If you'd like to opt into the testing branch and help us find any bugs before an official push, go here for instructions on how to opt in.

This update adds a lot of new content and changes including musical instruments, a new NPC known as The Composer, new secrets, Steam Achievements, audio changes, bug fixes, and more! Please note that the achievements are hidden currently but their descriptions will be unlocked upon the official push. In the mean time, you can read the patch notes and descriptions of the current achievements below.

Here's a list of the patch notes:

Update 1.9.4 Patch Notes


Added steam achievements. While the patch on the testing branch, these achievements will be hidden until achieved. See below for a list of achievements.
Added a new NPC known as The Composer.
Added new musical instrument items.
Added new quests and item rewards.
Added music for the first time you use the raft.
Added new loading screens.
Added new secrets.
Added new boat sounds.
Added new footstep sounds and increased the variety of sounds that can play.
Added a new save sound.
Fixed white deer set bonus not applying properly.
Updated short sword model.
Fixed a bug that would have you receive multiple "Blood Jungle" items when completing the quest.
The Sea Scholar will no longer charge gold for books you have sold to him.
Fixed an error that would cause sound to sometimes not work properly after a death.


List of Initial Achievements


Gold Digger - Obtain over 10,000 gold. 
Lore Master - Have at least 50 lore books in your inventory. 
Pardon Me - Craft the Pardon Pusher. 
We're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat - Craft The Maiden. 
High As A Kite - Obtain a Hightop Bloom Flower. 
Robinson Who-soe? - Sail past the 1000 unit mark.
The Turtle Club - Obtain a set of Turtle Armor. 
Holy Mackerel - Fish up a Gigantic Mouth Seabass.
It Exists? - Fish up a Dragon Fish. 
Monster Hunter - Defeat the Dark Guardian
Arachnophobia - Kill the Spider Queen. 
And My Axe! - Obtain the Loreman's Lofty Axe.
That's Hardcore - Defeat Draegan on Hardcore Mode.
Master Navigator - Obtain the Golden Compass. 
Woodworker - Obtain the Druid Spirit Idol. 
Legendary - Obtain a legendary item. 
Skimmy Dipping - Get the Jungle Skimmy boat. 
Journalist - Obtain all journal inks. 
Mad Hatter - Obtain the Lucky Fisherman's Hat.
Like A Boss - Defeat every boss in the game. 
A True Adventurer - Complete the main quest line. 
Merchant Master - Complete every merchant quest in the game. 
Oh Deer - Hunt and kill The Alpha Stag.
Where Everyone Can See - Place a flag on the tallest of mountains.
Map Quest - Map 100 islands at 100% accuracy.
Lovely Bones - Purify the Ancient Skull.
Galley Gallery - Decorate your boat with a painting.
Shoot Da Fruit! - Knock fruit from a tree and shoot it with an arrow before it hits the ground.
Treasure Tracker - Dig up some buried treasure.




As always we would love to hear your feedback and please let us know if you find any bugs or issues with the update. 

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