Riot respond to claims that Valorant footstep audio is broken - Dexerto

Riot respond to claims that Valorant footstep audio is broken

Published: 29/Aug/2020 14:33 Updated: 29/Aug/2020 14:34

by Andy Williams


As part of their most recent ‘Ask Valorant’ Q&A, Riot Games have addressed the ongoing footstep debate — shedding light on exactly why sound cues often come across as two-dimensional.

Ever since Valorant’s closed beta, there’s been one gripe which has remained consistent with players of all levels — footstep audio.

While Agent tweaks, weapon balancing and map adjustments have all been made in a bid to improve gameplay, community consensus is that footstep sound cues lack the level of ‘depth’ needed for a tactical shooter.

Depth refers to the level of detail in the audio. So, for example, you can hear an enemy is to your right, but can you determine their exact location from running footsteps alone? Well as it stands in Valorant, that’s not the case, and Riot have detailed why…

Valorant melee gameplay.
Riot Games
High-fidelity visuals, but what about the audio? It can often be difficult to determine the exact direction of footsteps in Valorant.

Is stereo the way forward?

Riot’s sixth Ask Valorant addressed a number of topical areas within the community at present, including the ongoing Operator debate. Valorant’s Audio Director, Peter Zinda also touched on why acoustics in Future Earth are “flatter” than other tactical shooters.

“I’ve also heard feedback around the fact that people have a hard time telling how far away a footstep is, which there is truth to. We optimize for making sure footsteps are heard, as opposed to optimizing for portraying distance.”

This means Valorant prioritizes actually being able to hear running footsteps, over the direction. During a part of the round where your teammates are communicating and Agents are using their abilities, being able to hear the footsteps as well as their precise direction isn’t feasible with stereo audio. There has to be a trade-off.

Player shooting on A-Site on Bind in Valorant.
Riot Games
Striking the balance between hearing Agent abilities, team comms and footsteps is hard.

“We currently mix the game in stereo, meaning there is no difference between a sound 45 degrees to your left in front of you and a sound 45 degrees to your left in the back of you. Some people expect to be able to hear this difference, but that is not currently possible.”

Zinda also added that enabling a specific “7.1 mode” on headphones would have no effect, and if anything, can prove to be detrimental to sound visualization. “There is no way for the headphones to decode our stereo sound into 7.1 and may even make spatialization much worse!”

So while other first-person shooters, such as CS:GO and Overwatch support 5.1/7.1 surround sound output, it seems that simply isn’t something that is on the cards for Valorant anytime soon.


TenZ finds strange Valorant mechanic that ends Phantom vs Vandal debate

Published: 18/Nov/2020 0:18 Updated: 18/Nov/2020 1:00

by Alan Bernal


The debate on whether to use the Vandal or the Phantom in Valorant is effectively over for Cloud9 ace Tyson ‘TenZ’ Ngo after he saw that the latter can easily kill while moving.

Unlike counter-strafing, which lets players pull off quick stop-and-move kills, TenZ was made aware of the Phantom’s incredible accuracy while moving at a “full running sprint.”

“(I was playing against a pro team) and I swear that I got running-Phantom’d so many times that I actually tried doing it myself,” he explained. “And it actually works really well. But it’s at a certain distance where it’s actually viable.”

There has been a ton of talk among the Valorant community of instances where running headshots were happening at a surprising rate. And TenZ was equally shocked to see that it was easily reproducible in the game.

The Cloud9 pro thought he was accustomed to CS:GO’s shooting mechanics that makes hitting a player unrealistic if you’re moving, in most cases. That isn’t the situation with Valorant, however, since the Phantom gets good shots off at 5-10m away, according to TenZ.

“I like the Phantom way better than the Vandal now, I’ve joined the dark side,” he said. “This gun is just, honestly, way better. One thing that you can do with the Phantom that you can’t do with the Vandal (is get a kill while) full running sprint.”

The important distinction to make is that the Phantom gets really inaccurate while moving, like most of Valorant’s arsenal; however, at a certain distance, the spray generally remains in the local vicinity of where you want to shoot, which makes running while spraying a lot more forgivable.

“I’m actually going to (use this) until Riot pulls their s**t together and make it so you shouldn’t be able to running spray consistently. I feel like you should be able to running spray every once in a while,” TenZ added, astonished.

The C9 star has his pros & cons for the Vandal and Phantom, but this mechanic seems to have pushed the scale over in favor of the silenced-rifle.

It’s unclear if the Valorant devs made this an intentional and distinct feature to the Phantom. But until there’s a significant change, TenZ has his preferred pick between the two.