Room to Play Sound Design – Pt. 1

Ahoy!

So I want to do some follow ups on the Room To Play exhibit I had a hand in and briefly go over some of the concepts and sound design for what we eventually came up with. As a sneak peak, here’s a little loop with a few of the sounds that I’ll be discussing in the next few posts:

For more info on Room to Play and some looks into what we go up to in the workshops check out this blog post. This post is obviously from my own perspective, but a lot of other people’s work went into creating not only this exhibit but the others that went on display, so do check out who else was involved :).

But veering back on topic: the main concept for Room to Play was combining aspects of music and sound with “play” and “games”. As a sound designer in digital games you would think that a lot of the processes would be similar and easily carried over, but with Room to Play on the whole I wanted to look at the tactile side of things, how people interact with objects that generate sound and how they react to the sounds the objects made.

So with that in mind, one of the ideas for an installation was to use trampolines in some fashion.

Ya know, these things (made to look good by people with art skills!):

IMG_20160529_163852

After a few ideas (including bouncing musicians!) the basic concept the group came up with was what would happen if a sound played when someone jumped. But we took it one step further.

Team Trampoline had an plan. That plan involved Dance Dance Revolution. Well, the dancemats anyway.

Continue reading “Room to Play Sound Design – Pt. 1”

Mobius – Out Now!

Ahoy!

I’m super happy to announce that I’ve contributed to the Materia Collective‘s latest tribute album: Mobius – Sonic The Hedgehog Remixed!

mobius cover

Buy from Loudr
Buy on iTunes
Stream from Spotify

The album is over 3 hours of remixed Sonic themes taken from across the series (and even the TV shows too!) featuring 80 different artists, and covers more genres than you can shake your Robuttnik at (sorry/notsorry).

Here are some more previews too:

So yeah, totally check it out! And hang around until the end for my weird little remix too!

New Project Announcement!

Ahoy!

Quick heads up, but I’m working on Thermodynamic Games’ upcoming title “Echoes”, providing sound design, implementation and a bit of consultancy stuff too. Also on the project is Luci Holland, composer and organiser of the Edinburgh Games Symposium and Tinderbox Project :).

I’ve stuck a little post in the Portfolio, but you can also check out the website too!

Room to Play!

Ahoy!

Recently I’ve been invited to take part in the Tinderbox Orchestra’s Room to Play programme, a collaborative effort between a mix of musicians, game developers, visual arts and other creative folk working to develop a series of interactive musical installations. It culminates in a showcase at the Hidden Door Festival on the 30th of May in Edinburgh.

You can read more about the project and the people involved here.

Oh, you can also get tickets for it here too.

So far we’ve been looking at a few different ways of interacting and playing with sound, and I wanted to share some videos from one of the nights from a few weeks ago. We were looking at sound generators and electronics, building basic synthesizers and what methods can be used to control and manipulate them. This is something I’ve been interested in for a while but not had the chance to jump into, so as you can imagine I was pretty keen!

Here’s one that involved a joystick to trigger a synth on and off, with a light sensitive capacitor controlling the pitch:

 

We also wired it through some basic delays and added a lot more light to the mix, which resulted in this:

 

Joysticks weren’t the only thing we used to trigger the synths, we also had buttons too! These acted in a similar fashion, serving as a basic gate or switch that opens or completes the circuit when pressed:

 

Switches and light sensitive capacitors weren’t the only things either. In this instance while the two metal parts (the copper tape and the spoon) separated the circuit is in complete. When a person touches both parts the circuit is complete, and a sound is generated. When the surface area touched is increase, the resistance that person provides drops and the pitch increases, giving a degree of playability. Physics is fun!

 

And those were only the things the group I was in worked on, others used servos and moving parts to generate sounds, or made collaborative synths! So it was a pretty interesting session :).

A later session went a bit deeper into using different types of triggers. This also happened:

 

So yeah, it’s been pretty interesting and the final results should be really cool. If you’re free on the 30th and in Edinburgh then please drop by!

 

Cheers!

A quick update

I haven’t updated this in a while for a number of reasons and holy crap it’s been 9 months since the last one sooooo a quick recap:

August 2015 – Edinburgh Games Symposium: Protoplay Edition

The 3rd annual Edinburgh Games Symposium was hosted as part of the Dare To Be Digital festival. I was on a panel on game audio with Joanna Orland, Ryan Ike and Chipzel discussing a load of audio related things. Then Steph and I gave a talk on Monstrum, with her covering the VR implementation and me covering the audio work. These were film and I’ll chase them up and cover them in more detail later!

The Mantra Collective also did a cover of Bad Happenings from the Monstrum OST and it’s super cool. You can check it out here:

 

November 2015 – Got elected to the IGDA Scotland board

The IGDA Scotland board elections happened in November and I managed to get elected some how, so yay! Got lots of stuff in the pipeline and we’ve just hosted three play parties for this year’s Global Game Jam  with thanks to a number of local partners. We have plans for the rest of the year too, so keep an eye out!

November 2015 – Award nominations!

Monstrum also got shortlisted for a few awards in November. Firstly it was shortlisted for Best Debut Game at the TIGA Awards, then later in the month for Best Game at BAFTA Scotland (shout out to Blazing Griffin who got the win). Not bad!

January 2016 – I got a Neo Geo Pocket

And it’s the coolest wee thing. I mention it as I kinda wanna talk about limitations in games at some point. It also is home to the 1st non-Sega hardware Sonic and it’s amazing remixes of the Mega Drive games’ soundtracks. Case in point:

Also been playing a lot of SNK games on the Sega Saturn as well for that additional crossover bonus.

There was a lot of other things that happened in the past few months too that I’ll unpack at a later date, but will hopefully have something a bit more interesting to talk about soon! Busy busy!

Cake Mix – Monstrum’s Audio Systems

Originally posted on the Team Junkfish blog. Also a little old, as I meant to repost it here a few months ago, but this is pretty much how things work in the game.

This’ll be a quick blog on some of the more technical audio aspects of Monstrum. For audio guys this might be fairly basic stuff but it’ll give you a look at how we’re managing some of our audio systems. There isn’t exactly much of an understanding of game audio and its processes to those outside of the audio sphere, so hopefully it’ll be useful in opening up the black box of audio voodoo to people who aren’t too familiar with what we actually get up to.

Continue reading “Cake Mix – Monstrum’s Audio Systems”

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”