I got approached by Soundsnap.com for a site review. I have been declining most of the review offers I’ve got for some time now, but since I knew Soundsnap from before I had no problem accepting their offer. Here’s my review for Soundsnap site.
Soundsnap is basically a site where anybody can download sound effects (and some music too) to use for example in their games. There is also the Upload option, but right now it seemed to be disabled as they are working on their pricing model. At the time of writing this post there is 100,000 sound effects available. The main idea of the site is to offer people to search, listen & download sound effects that are located in several categories. Sounds can be tagged and searched using a simple user interface.
(Kind of) an easy way to get sounds for your game…
I think that Soundsnap is okay tool for prototyping: you can find some sounds pretty quickly by simply using the search. The license permits use in commercial projects too, so if you are after some sort of user interface sounds or background music loops then I think it can work. To test the service, I tried to look for “zombie” sound and although there weren’t many zombie sounds (21), I managed to find what I was after pretty fast. (Although there was no additional zombie moans that I would have qualified)
…but it would be even better if they’d give you a playlist
I have tried Soundsnap in the past and thought the same thing as I think now. In my opinion, the problem with their system is that it takes quite a bit of time to dig through the sounds to find the effect you are after. Even though there’s samples & searches, it can still be bit slow to find what you want (unless you have really good search terms, and bit of luck). Of course if you have all the time in the world, then it’s no problem – but I personally started thinking about hiring somebody to fetch the sounds for me… Simply compare this with the situation when you’ve downloaded 500 SFX effects in your computer and put them in your playlist and start going through all the sounds: no need to click, just listen through everything and stop when you’ve found a good sound effect.
If Soundsnap could give some sort of playlist option, I think that alone could make it more user friendly and more easy to find what you are after.
Registration & free sounds
They have done registration really well: just type your username and email and you are pretty much done. Password is generated and arrives to your mailbox and you are ready to go download some sound effects. After you’ve registered, you receive 5 free downloads (per month) but if you need more, you need to upgrade to a premium account.
Maybe it’s just me, but I think it was pretty funny to read what kind of sound requests people had. For example, somebody had written: “looking for dum dum duummm” (heh). Nevertheless, there seemed to be some activity on the boards where members discuss everything related to sounds and Soundsnap.
Their license is good and clear. It simply says that you can use sounds in your games royalty free:
[You are free] to use the sounds in any music, film, video game, website etc. whether commercial or not, without paying addiotional royalties or other fees beyond the initial membership cost (if any)
That’s really cool (some sound sites can have really tricky licenses).
If you have been after some free/inexpensive sounds (and music) for your games, then I think it would make sense to bookmark soundsnap.com. I think it’s a fine site for game developers, and have nothing to complain (just wishing to see that playlist at some point).
Check it out.