I have been thinking about audio options (ie, the options menu in the software) in games. Without getting into a discussion about mixing in game audio, which is a whole other beast, I want to talk about getting some data.
I think there are way too many assumptions and generalizations going around, that are not based in actual facts, about what players do with the audio controls that games allow in their options. I hear things said, and written about what players do and don't do with audio controls (especially music) and why they do them, and I seriously question if they have any basis other than speculation.
When someone says "people usually just mute the music in this type of game and use their own", or "if music is too repetitive, players will just turn it off", where are these things coming from? Logical assumption? Personal experience for the speaker that they are applying broadly? What if I said, "lets mix everything loud, and let the player use the controls to fine tune what they like", what percentage of players would even use the audio menu in the first place?
I have seen plenty of smaller games that track the percentage of players that mute the music, or the sfx(at the bottom of the article) in the options menu and publish that data. This is interesting, but I think we can collect even more useful data.
1) I propose that if you have a game coming out, with more specific controls for audio, say a slider or a scale from 1-10 on sfx, music, and potentially dialog, that you track that data and publish it down the line.
2) If you have already done this with a game, and have access to the data, put it out there for the audio community.
3) If you track, or have tracked this kind of player data, is there other data about how the players play your game that you can track, or have tracked, that we can match the audio controls data with, to try to detect play-style trends and how they related to audio? Perhaps there is an interesting crossover that can help the audio community understand what different types of players do with their audio.