Considering the newest Plants vs. Zombies 2 release has the word “mixtape” in the name, there was never any doubt that music would play a big role in the game’s experience. And as anyone who closely follows PopCap Games and their audio obsession, they’re not a company that does something halfway when it comes to sound or music. That’s why its a real treat that PvZ2 Neon Mixtape Tour audio lead Damian Kastbauer sat down with EA to discuss in depth how the team approached the variety of musical styles that appear in the new release. As always, the PopCap audio team has gone to great lengths to make a fun and immersive audio experience within the game, so be sure not to miss how they did it!
In addition, Damian has included some examples on his Vine page of some of the beat-syncing in action, both sounds-to-beat sync and animations on-the-beat.
So last weekend I was on vacation in Atlanta with my recently proposed-to fiancee. In addition to going to a Ghost show, zoo, and the aquarium; we hit up the World of Coke.
The World of Coke museum is less of a museum and more of a huge advertisement for Coca-Cola beverages. From getting funneled in a short guided tour of memorabilia and then getting herded into a huge theater to watch a 7 minute commercial for Coca-Cola, the entire experience feels very much targeted at emotion, sentimentality, and and nostalgia.
The most interesting thing to me about the visit throughout the museum was the lack of actually seeing the brown liquid. Outside of a miniature working version of the Bottle Works, where you get to see them bottling Coca-Cola, you don’t *see* it. However, you certainly hear it. (more…)
Rob Bridgett is an audio director at Eidos-Montréal.
Leonard Paul is the president of the School of Video Game Audio.
Images courtesy of Rob Bridgett & Leonard Paul
Nine years ago, we collaborated on an article on the idea of limitations for Gamasutra and wanted to see where our thoughts would take us. This time around, rather than produce another article, this submission is a set of our musings meant to be used as starting points or inspiration when working with the limitations of game audio.
Allowing a view of the long-term in our art gives a certain freedom but it can also be paralyzing unless we set limits on ourselves.
An exciting, creative challenge is one with well defined limits: a well defined brief; a box to play in.
Not only do technical limits advance but also creative limits as well.
Working within a genre is a form of self-limitation (style and structure, for instance, “we’re going to write a 3 minute pop song”). A platform/format is a limitation: 12 inch, an LP (two sides), a CD (long running playlist). We need to consider the equivalent boxes and structures in games (menu, mission, genre, format, art style).
Earlier this month on a rare rainy Bay-Area day, I sat down with composer and musician Rich Vreeland (aka Disasterpeace) to discuss last month’s theme of “Restriction”. Rich is best known for his work in video games having composed music for “Fez”, “Bit.Trip Presents: Runner2”, “Gunhouse” and the forthcoming “Mini Metro” and “Hyper Light Drifter”. Most recently his score to the critically acclaimed motion picture “It Follows” received unanimous praise.
Rich Vreeland (Disasterpeace) – photo credit Nika States
Oh The Variables
When you consider the variables in play when dealing with audio, it amazes me that we’re able to create anything that sounds even half-decent to someone else.
- How the authorship software processes audio
- Digital-to-analog conversion quality
- Unbalanced monitors / headphones
- The acoustic space
- Monitor placement
- Mix position
- Your ears
- Your brain
When the topic of restriction first came up I immeadiately thought of the Dogme 95 movement. It seemed like such an obvious response that I spent some time hunting around for another topic. Inevitably though I’ve come back to Dogme. Partly because it really is a great example of working under restriction, but also because the films created within the movement are so striking in their subversion of the restrictions placed on them. This also gave me the opportunity to revisit two films I enjoy immensely, Festen (1998) and It’s All About Love (2003); both directed by Thomas Vinterberg and written by Vinterberg and Mogens Rukov. (more…)
“A live rooster in the studio, 1930s.” by Yle Archives – Yle Arkisto. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_effect#/media/File:A_live_rooster_in_the_studio,_1930s..jpg
This is the beginning of a new series to recapitulate each month’s SFX library releases. If you have a release occurring soon and you would like it to be included on our list, send us the details through our SFX Independence Submission form.
September brought us several SFX libraries with an overarching theme of darkness. Deep-water beasts, mysterious sci-fi ambiences, rumbling howitzers and stormy nights can be found on this list, so let’s take a look back at last month’s releases and explore the sounds you may now purchase for your future projects.
The Battlefield Howitzers by Airborne Sound
Every once in a while a sound effects library comes out and you know very well you have nothing like it in your audio arsenal. For some, The Battlefield Howitzers is that library. These authentic recordings of World War II-era ordnances contain the grace and ferocity of the M101 C1 and C3 howitzers and the British 25-pounder, along with 169 bonus clips of designed artillery shots and battlefield montage soundscapes.
(239 sounds, 4.89 GB) (more…)
Photo credit to: Nic McPhee
From time to time, while working specifically on the audio portion of film projects (this is true for other mediums as well, though this month is focused on film), a sort of “tunnel vision” can occur and it is easy to overlook the importance of film as a complete artform and its impact on the world around us.
This month’s theme of Film Theory gives us all a chance to take a step back and review the purpose, power, and importance of film in our society. Also, this month serves as a great chance to reexamine and look deeper at what each of us sees as audio’s role(s) and importance within all genres of film.
We here at Designing Sound always encourage contributions from the community. If you would like to add your thoughts on Film Theory, please be in touch and let us know. As always, feel free to contribute to this month’s theme, or possibly next month’s topic is of more interest to you (which will be “Pure Sound Design”), or go completely off-topic. Anything is fair game. Please contact doron [@] this website and we will get the ball rolling.
Guest contribution by Matthew Marteinsson. Audio Director at Klei Entertainment. Klei recently released Invisible Inc.
Restrictions. Usually it’s a bad thing. Something we fight against and
work around. I certainly look back at the restrictions of old consoles
with no fondness. But then you look at what The Beatles did with a 4
track (well a couple of 4 tracks and some bouncing) and you start to see
some magic in restrictions. These days with unlimited power in our tools
(relatively) putting some restrictions on ourselves can be a good way
to force yourself into some creative solutions.
Image by flickr user Boston Public Library. Used under a Creative Commons license. Click image to view source.
In my relatively short career, I’ve been fortunate to work in a variety of roles within different frameworks (freelancer, startup, in-house and a contract employee). Whilst we sometimes hear people discussing what specific roles are like, we don’t often hear about these different frameworks and how they compare. I thought it might be interesting to share my observations on what pros and cons I found in each of these frameworks. So whether you’re a student looking for your first opportunities or a seasoned pro looking to transition roles, I hope some of these insights prove useful. (more…)