I'm making a multiplayer videogame where the characters are AI piloting spaceships fighting other AI piloted spaceships where the entire premise is that everything follows the laws of physics and mostly makes sense (no FTL, no force fields, logical ship design, etc). However, I would like to add sound effects for things, as playing with no sound is really unsettling and feels super unpolished. How I'm thinking of justifying this is by saying that the sound the player hears is actually from heat detectors on the ship or something being represented as sound, but I'm not sure if this is a good enough reason, so I want to run it by you guys and ask what you think a good justification for having sound effects is.
Your player is playing the AI, receiving information about its surroundings. Unfortunately these AI will only be as smart as their player. To give the player as much information as possible you give them various tools. A UI gives feedback on the status of the many components, but to draw the player's attention to things you can also use sounds.
An enemy detected? You hear a sound as feedback, allowing the player to act as the ship AI by noticing it and digesting the information.
Got hit? Alarm bells sound as feedback.
Hit the acceleration? You hear an engine sound as feedback. Which the "AI" can unconcious pick up and add to his overall idea of his situation.
Hear a ship nearby? Your ship's sensors have simply detected it, and the sounds are there to cue the player in to what is happening so the player knows what the AI has already detected. Maybe you hear it turn, decellerate, accelerate, go on a ramming course, detect it being hit or firing its own guns, it could cloak itself from sensors (cool down its exterior enough and radiate heat away from you or something), suffer breakdowns and whatever else you can think off. In the end it is all the same: your ship detects it, and the player gets to detect it in a way the player understands.
only have the inside of the ship have sound. But there's no way to justify sound, but instead, use the lack of sound to keep the player(s) on edge. as in the fear factor of never hear attacks or your enemy, and huge engagement distances give an even bigger fear factor in that you do not even see the enemy attacking you.
also, you'd hear impacts against the hull.