I received a Syrinscape code as part of my Beadle & Grimm Platinum boxset for Descent into Avernus. So signed up and started messing around, and was quickly blown away by the concept and the potential to really improve immersion in session - so I signed up to the D&D subscription. Usually I put on a LotR soundtrack, or some other movie / game background music, but I was excited to try this out, and installed on my iPad and (luckily) my laptop. Yesterday I ran a ten hour session, and both the players and I had a great time.
I thought I’d share some quick feedback from my experience, in the interest of improving the great potential that Syrinscape has. I’ve also read some of the other feedback posts, but working full time, family etc. means my research is necessarily pretty superficial. So apologies if this is covered elsewhere, or I’m missing something in the product. This might sound a bit negative, but rest assured we had a great time and my goal here is to help make it better, and add good stories to your backlog to improve the product.
Finding good soundsets / moods for the adventure was a challenge. The limited range of the current DiA soundsets is understandable (I read that WotC haven’t approved the full soundsets yet) so I was jumping around grabbing likely looking soundsets (Seedy Tavern, Sewer, * Battle) to try keep the mood in line with where the adventure was. The ElfSong battle was pretty on point, but as soon as we went into the Dungeon of the Dead Three it became a real chore. So:
- Need a way to quickly find and group categories of sounds, by location and activity. Filter all ‘battle’ music, by location / creature / category
- Have a panel always visible to be able to trigger typical battle flavour - sad trombone for natural 1s, cheering, cries of pain, clashing swords, etc. These are GREAT, but hard to find and hard to use in battle without interrupting flow to go find them. I might get better over time, but the UI doesn’t help. (Hire an UX guru, PLEASE!)
- Adjusting master volume on an iPad Pro is impossible. It’s literally under the ‘app switcher’ element, so trying to change volume that way switches you out of the app. Please move it - such and easy fix. (Use WSJF to prioritise?) Which brings me to:
- Please please come up with a way of continuing to play in the background on an iPad / iPhone. I know this is a top request, but it’s vital. The speed of being able to tap an icon for a reactive sound is THE killer feature of the app (so iPad over laptop, unless you’re lucky enough to have a touch screen laptop). The jarring break in sound when accidentally switching out is terrible to immersion.
- It would also be awesome to be able to split screen both this app and D&D Beyond (or a website) But this is a ‘nice to have’.
I also agree with this thread: First Session Feedback
The ability to adjust frequency of ‘monster / fight’ sounds on the fly would be great. I know this is something the ‘creator’ can do, but I’m a busy guy and don’t yet have the time to become an expert. I too found myself half way through the session having to switch to youtube (at the request of my players) and just playing the Doom soundtrack so I could focus on the players and game, and stop messing around trying to find appropriate music / sounds.
So, ‘Scenario Focussed Engineering’ is one of my favourite books on agile / feedback driven development, so I’ll end with a little ‘ideal scenario’ narrative for me.
I have my iPad set up behind my DM screen, along with my other DM tools (paper for quick notes, minis, initiative markers, player handouts, upcoming battle maps). I quickly look through the upcoming encounter on DnD Beyond and see it’s just inside the castle gates, market day. I decide a nice rainy ambience will set the mood, so I switch to Syrinscape, tap ‘locale’ and start typing ‘castl…’. It quickly filters to all soundsets that have moods suitable to ‘Castle’, including ‘Keep’ and ‘Citadel’. I see ‘Busy Keep Gate’ in the options and tap on it to add it to my favourites. I tap on the favourites icon in the top left and see all the previous soundets and moods I’ve tagged for this session. I select the Keep soundset and see in the ‘weather’ panel it has Rainy, and in the time panel is has ‘Day - busy’. Awesome. Sometime later as a battle kicks off, I tap the ‘combat’ icon (next to favourites) and all combat related sounds appear. I have the character sheets open on the split screen as well as I play, to keep an eye on conditions and hitpoints. I have a selection of battle music favourited, and I know I like the ‘Baldur’s Gate’ music so I kick that off. In the ‘activities’ panel, I select the ‘general’ tab and tap the ‘Dramatic note’ icon as I intone ‘ROLL FOR INITIATIVE’. Later I tap the ‘spells’ tab and quickly hit ‘lightning bolt’ as one of my players casts that spell, then tap ‘reactions’ and tap ‘Shouts of terror’ to convey the impact on the group of guards. As the battle wraps up I tap the ‘favourites’ icon to quickly switch back to my mood music.
Hope that helps. Cheers!