Game Audio and the 50% fallacy

Ahoy!

It’s been a while since my last blog, with a few good reasons:

  • Monstrum launched at the end of May! Go buy it! The soundtrack is also up for grabs too.
  • I took up a guest lecturing post at the Glasgow School of Art’s Digital Design Studio, which I may cover in a later blog, but some of the experiences from it have influenced this post.
  • My girlfriend moved in and managed to break her leg in fairly short order. But she’s also getting her cast off soon and we’ve managed to play through a fair few games together so it’s not all bad.

Anyway, let’s cut to the chase. There’s been a phrase relating game audio that’s been bugging me for a while now, even though I used to say it myself, and I think it needs to be addressed as its popularity increases. This might ruffle some feathers but:

Game audio is NOT 50% of the experience.

Continue reading “Game Audio and the 50% fallacy”

Story in Games Pt. 2.5: A Sonic Shipyard

Originally posted on the Team Junkfish blog.

This audio blog returns to the Story in Games/world building series that I was writing regarding game audio. Last time I looked at the IEZA Framework and broke down Animal Crossing: New Leaf’s sound design using it. As with the first blog on music in games, this time I’m going to break down some of Monstrum into the four components, what the sounds are for, why are they used and how do they make the world that the player is in feel more believable.

Continue reading “Story in Games Pt. 2.5: A Sonic Shipyard”

Monstrum – The Hunter’s Soundtrack

Originally posted on the Team Junkfish blog. So much for keeping this up to date. Hopefully will have more to talk about soon though.

In this blog I’m going to talk about some music in Monstrum again, this time: the Hunter. As with the Brute’s themes there is a fair amount of sound design stuff going on as opposed to traditional instrumentation, so I’ll go over that as well as the general ideas that I was aiming for. Here’s the Hunter’s Chase Theme:

Continue reading “Monstrum – The Hunter’s Soundtrack”

A trip to EGX London

Last weekend Simon and I went down to Earl’s Court to show off Monstrum at EGX London, and all round it was pretty successful! Most people got the game and seemed to enjoy it, with the seat never really being empty outside of doors just opening. We managed to dive off from the stand for a couple of minutes each day, and I took a bit of time to have a nosy around some of the other games on show. Most of them were in the Rezzed area, and are worth keeping an eye on. So without much further ado…

Continue reading “A trip to EGX London”

Story in Games Pt. 2: Sound Design and New Leaves

Originally posted on the Team Junkfish blog.

We’re on to the second proper part of my little series of blogs covering the use of audio in storytelling for games. Previously on Team Junkfish I spoke about the use of music in games and how we’re going about those ideas in Monstrum. This time I’m going to talk a bit more about the use of sound effects and how they build up the world and everything in it.

Continue reading “Story in Games Pt. 2: Sound Design and New Leaves”

Story in Games Pt. 1.5: The Music in Monstrum

So much for writing more… I should try and keep up, but it’s been busy at Team Junkfish. Once again, this is a repost of that blog and is reflective of the development progress at the time. The original post is here.

 
This is one follow up to my previous blog which discussed storytelling in games. You can give it a read here. My original plan for the second part was to speak about the use of sound effects in story telling and world building, however I thought it’d be an idea to talk about how we’re actually going about the music side of things ourselves!

 
In Monstrum we are aiming to use both diegetic and non-diegetic music for a few different purposes. The most obvious use of non-diegetic music are the monsters’ themes, so let’s start there. Simplifying some statements down a bit, these are used to provide information (i.e.: the monster is chasing you), context (which monster it actually is) and emotional content (trying to evoke a certain feeling). I’ve spoken about the “hows” of the Brute’s theme before in detail here, including of the sound design that’s used, so I’ll give you a little summary of the decision making, the “whys”, that went behind it and what I was hoping to achieve.

Continue reading “Story in Games Pt. 1.5: The Music in Monstrum”

Story in Games Pt. 1: Speaking through Song

Originally posted on the Team Junkfish blog.

This blog is based on an event that happened as part of Abertay’s Game Lab, loosely based on the topic of “story”, and how people from different disciplines tackled it in games. I was asked to provide an audio perspective, and given that I’m usually better at explaining things in written form than verbally (shocking, I know!) I decided that I’d expand and clarify a few points I spoke about and why I think they’re important. This will be the first of what will (hopefully only) be a two part blog post, and will have a few spoilers here and there, so heads up!

What is “Story” anyway?

The word “story” itself is a bit of a nebulous term. Most people would associate it with some form of narrative, such as the Hero’s Journey, that follows one main protagonist or group of people through their various trials and quests to some sort of resolution. But is that it? Is that everything that’s being told? Does the entire game world merely exist around the player character(s), with everything only being relevant them? What about everything else: the details, the history, even the context of the place and situations that you may be in. Going from A to B through C becomes much more engaging and involving if there are different forces, details and subtexts at play instead of “because that’s where you need to go”. 

Basically, how do you “build the world“?

Continue reading “Story in Games Pt. 1: Speaking through Song”

Learn Stuff, Do Stuff, Make Stuff

Today I was down in Edinburgh to take part in a panel on games for one of the Edinburgh International Film Festival’s Media Days. These are days were groups of 15-17 year old students go to a series of events and panels across multiple different formats, and for some reason somebody thought it’d be a good idea to have me down for one. Clearly they’ve never tried to have a conversation with me before.  Also there was Brian Baglow of Scottishgames.net, and unfortunately Isaac Howie-Brewerton from Pixel Blimp had to send his apologies. A quick cheers to Nicola and Jessie who organised the event/day/week-and-a-bit too!

Anyway, during the event there was a thing that happened that I felt the need to write about. It’s probably closer to a brain fart, but here we go all the same~

Continue reading “Learn Stuff, Do Stuff, Make Stuff”