Here are some in-game video captures from Fight Camp by Electrolab Games. I acted as the Audio Director, Sound Designer, Composer and Implementer for this title. The tone of the game is sort of a quirky, cartoonish treatment of a very slickly produced and aggressive subject. I took elements from both worlds and created an audio treatment that fits right in there. Musical SFX along with campy library materiel, with a few 8-bit sources served well for the comic/cartoony nature. In-your-face musical stingers, drawing a little from hip-hop, a little from nu-metal, and a little from who-knows-what blended with the soundtrack to give this game its musical style that’s kinda hard but kinda silly.
This first video is a straight capture from the game:
This next two videos have the music turned off to highlight the SFX:
Here is a cutscene work print with a full sound design and mix treatment. This is a stereo fold down of a 5.0 mix. When the players enter this clearing they are supposed to feel like they have reached an oasis amidst the gloom and terror of Mirkwood. Starting off with an open and airy forest ambience helped serve to contrast against the cold, dark background that accompanies Saenathra’s POV. The creature sounds are once again a mix of processed vocalization from me and some animal library source material.
Here is a cutscene work print with a full sound design and mix treatment. I incorporated in-game assets along with custom sound design to maintain continuity between the gameplay and the cinematic. The Fell Beast vocalization was where I spent the bulk of my creative effort. I made a large suite of specific and wild content for all of the scenes that featured this character. I was the principle voice “actor” for the beast, layered and manipulated, and threw in some animal vocalizations for a little beastly spice.
Here is a cutscene work print with a full sound design and mix treatment. This is a quick scene that serves to message to the player that their presence is no longer secret. We hear a rustling from off-screen right that anticipates the Warg’s entrance, his snort and howl, followed by his exit back into the forest on the left. The real trick was getting across his size and ferocity through a howl, which normally has an almost musical, singing tonality. Using pitch manipulation, convolution, and multiple vocalization sources I was able to craft a large and forboding howl that was more aggressive and less lonely sounding.
This is an excerpt from the movie Zombies of Mass Destruction (ZMD
) from Typecast Films
. I was the sound designer for the gore and zombie effect sequences, which turned out to be most of the movie. This video clip has been mixed so that everything except the sound design elements have been turned down. Every sound used for this scene was an original recording done during post production. Adam Smith-Kipnis was the foley actor for the extensive fruit and vegetable mutilation session, as well as the voice actor for the zombie.
In keeping with my spooky and gory nature, Tension Studios has been tapped to create the horrific sound design for ZMD, a feature length zombie movie. ZMD is being entirely filmed and produced here in the Seattle area by Typecast Films
. Stay tuned for more info.
This is one of only two cutscenes from ED:R that is a remake of scenes from the original Evil Dead II movie. Since I’m a big fan of the movies, I really wanted to do this scene justice. I tried to ride the edge of campy and creepy, much as Raimi and Campbell did. Each of the possessed items had their own voice (acted by me and others in the studio) that joined in the chorus of laughter/madness. I used plastic bottle crunches and packing tape screeches to re-create the oddly harsh ratcheting sound of the deer head’s movement. The ending boom was from a series of percussive recordings I made at Fort Wordon, a retired military gun emplacement on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. The music was an edit of some sections from an orchestral library, since at this point we didn’t have room in the budget or schedule for a real musical treatment.
Sound Design, character acting, composition, 5.1 mix encoded into Dolby PLII.
Here’s another cutscene work print with a full sound design and mix treatment. There is a magical “temporal” explosion happening in the background while the foreground is primarily dialog and a few SFX. 5.1 mix encoded into Dolby PLII. The vocal treatment for the possessed Yanus was a variation of the pre-verb technique; reversing the content, running the reversed content through some reverb and recording it, reverse the reverb print and playing it back in sync with the original content. This gives a great ‘ethereal’ quality to voices. But I wanted to convey more of a possession or occupied-by-evil sound so I didn’t reverse the original content when I recorded the reverb. The result is that there’s still that reversed reverb sound but also a speaking-in-tongues feel to it.
Sound Design, Foley, 5.1 mix encoded into Dolby PLII
This is my mix of the Midway logo movie. I was asked to create an alternate ending for the HD version of the logo. While I was doing that, I was so annoyed by the over-used distorted swooshes that seem to be used for every game publisher logo I decided to remix the whole thing. I wanted to use a wider frequency range so as the logo flies in there’s a low filter sweep bass element and the movement of the individual graphic elements are highlighted by processed knife shwings and whooshes. The ‘Midway’ shake of the logo has some elements in it that allude to some of their more popular titles, but it’s so short it’s hard to pick them out. Regardless, it has an interesting detail that I like.
Sound Design, 5.1 mix encoded into Dolby PLII
This is a more subtle mix and sound design example. The graveyard night ambiance is a composite of some field recordings that I did in Eastern Washington. One of the layers is significantly pitched down and the frogs take on a nightmare cow kinda feel. The music is typical of my eerie mood compositions, with the obligatory church bell to connote ‘graveyard’.
Sound design, composition, 5.1 mix encoded into Dolby PLII
This is one of the cutscenes I did for Crystal Dynamics on contract. I did all of these scenes using Sony Vegas so I could transfer them back to the developer and they could render out the scenes for each localized language by replacing the dialog track. This also allowed me to work to rough renders while animators could continue to make tweaks to the scenes and the developers could make any timing adjustments in-house. There were a number of visual FX elements that were not able to be rendered for these work prints so I had to be a bit more imaginative in designing my sounds. This turned out to be rather inspirational for the FX artists and they were creating the visuals to my sounds instead of the other way around.
They provided the raw dialog plus any assets that needed to be the same as the in-game sounds (Spirit Forge background, core Reaver elements). Note the classic ‘pre-verb’ treatment I used on Ariel’s voice to create an ethereal but comforting feel.
Sound design, 5.1 mix encoded into Dolby PLII
This is the Evil Dead themed logo movie I did for Cranky Pants Games. I wanted to reinforce the slapstick nature of the scene so I ‘Mickey Moused’ the music to act as the main sound design element. Classic piano scale run up to the impact, and then a vari-pitched synthetic gong patch to mimic the dizzy hand crawling into the hole. Imagine me with paper-clips taped to my fingers to Foley the hand’s movements. The dangling ‘y’ was another collaborative riff that happened between me and the animator. It is always refreshing when I can contribute not only accompaniment but actually help shape the overall creative direction.
Sound design, Foley, composition, 5.1 mix encoded into Dolby PLII