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Posted by on Oct 28, 2015 | 1 comment

Spectral Analysis: Interview with Gordon Durity

Many thanks to Brad Dyck for contributing this interview. You can follow Brad on Twitter @Brad_Dyck

Gordon Durity is the Executive Audio Director of the EA Audioworks team, which supports the audio development of the upcoming Need for Speed release available on November 3rd, 2015 for PS4 and Xbox One (PC due in the spring of 2016). I’d like to extend my thanks to Gordon for sitting down to chat with me.

Brad Dyck: Could you describe some of the responsibilities you deal with day to day?

Gordon Durity: I look at all the titles that I’m in charge of – all of the sports games, Need for Speed, Plants vs Zombies and mobile products just to keep track of where everything’s going as far as audio content and quality. I do R&D as well, looking at where our technology is headed, what’s out there competitively, what we’re building in-house, what we need to build for emerging platforms, and what we need to re-factor to make things work better. Because we’re a central team, I spend time with the senior leaders of the titles we service whether it’s FIFA, Madden or Need for Speed, just to make sure that we’re completely aligned with our dev partners.

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Posted by on Jul 11, 2014 | 3 comments

Spectral Analysis: Interview with Rob Blake

Many thanks to Brad Dyck for contributing this interview. You can follow Brad on Twitter @Brad_Dyck

It was my pleasure to speak with Rob Blake, Audio Director best known for his work on the Mass Effect trilogy. Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare is available now for PC and will be available for PS3/PS4 on August 19th.

BD: What originally made you move away from the UK to come over to Canada?

RB: Actually, before I came to Canada I was working at a small start-up in Spain (Tragnarion Studios). It was a really fascinating place to work because they were really passionate gamers who just wanted to make something they wanted to play themselves.

After I’d been with them for nearly a year I got offered the lead position on Mass Effect. I just finished the project I was working on in Spain so the timing worked out well. It was a dream job for me at the time – I’d been an Audio Lead before in the UK but working on something like Mass Effect was very special.

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Posted by on Sep 27, 2013 | 1 comment

Spectral Analysis: Interview with Saki Kaskamanidis

Many thanks to Brad Dyck for contributing this interview. You can follow Brad on Twitter @Brad_Dyck

BD: How did you get involved in game audio?

SK: It all started back in 1995. I was in a band and our keyboard/synth player, Jeff Van Dyck, was working for EA. He was working on the soundtrack for NHL 96 and needed a guitarist to lay down all the riffs, so he hired me. Soon after that, Jeff heard some of my own compositions and thought that they would suit a different game EA was developing at the time called Need For Speed. Eventually I got that gig and for the next 4 years or so I was one of EA’s full time composers, mainly focusing on the Need For Speed and NHL franchises. At some point around the millennium, EA as a company was doing really well and the trend towards licensing music from well-known artists began. It was natural for us to feel that our careers were in jeopardy. I remember being warned “You know, Saki, are you thinking about doing anything else because your job is in jeopardy.” So I started getting into sound design. Interestingly enough, nobody lost their job. You either found something else to do, like sound designing, implementing or leading a project, or you left the company because you wanted to keep composing.
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Posted by on Feb 28, 2013 | 0 comments

Thank You to our February Contributors!

The month is wrapping up, and tomorrow we start a new featured topic. It’s that time, once again, to thank all of the wonderful people who contributed guest articles and participated in interviews with us here on the site.

Thanks again, one and all.

Remember that we are always open to guest contributions, both on and off topic. If you have something you’d like to share with the community, contact shaun [at] designingsound [dot] org. Tomorrow begins a focus on the intersection of sound design and music.

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Posted by on Feb 25, 2013 | 4 comments

Spectral Analysis: Interview with Jeff Macpherson

Thanks to Brad Dyck for contributing this interview.

For the past two decades, Electronic Arts’ FIFA franchise has been the most successful selling sports video game series of all time and Audio Director Jeff Macpherson has been overseeing the sound of the games since 2006.

Creating a smooth, realistic commentary system along with dynamic, exciting crowds is no small feat and I recently spoke at length with him about just how this is accomplished. Join us below as we discuss the challenges and satisfaction that comes with designing audio for a world class sports title.


BD: How long have you been Audio Director for FIFA?

JM: I’ve been on FIFA since 2001 so it’s been 12 years since I’ve been on FIFA and Audio Director for about 6 years, about half that time.

BD: What were you doing when you first started?

JM: When I very first started, I had moved to Vancouver for post production gigs or anything in media because there was always lots back then, movies, TV and games. Games were my number one choice so I really pounded the pavement to get into game studios because I had no experience. My first job was in QA, I did it for a little while and then I was a junior sound designer/audio artist on FIFA when I got grabbed by the guy who I kept bugging every day. I was given a shot to do that and then ended up owning the commentary side of things because the guy who was doing that left. I just got thrown into it and just started going through there and just worked my way up.

BD: How has the technology changed since you started doing it?

JM: Aw man, like crazy. I know it’s an old cliché but man it changes fast. And I’m not just talking about the consoles. The changes in the consoles are not the biggest changes, it’s more the behind the scene stuff. I’m moving offices right now and I was in that edit suite for 11 years so there’s all sorts of stuff in there from throughout the years. I’ve got all these DAT tapes with all this source on it, then an old DAT player and zip drives with SCSI cables – all this stuff for just getting the amount of data that audio needs. Moving it around from machine to machine used to be a real undertaking.

Now we just use a Fast Spec service, Dropbox or anything and boom, you got 10GB and it’s in a studio in London within an hour and it’s back in your hands in no time. There’s no physical media being used, there’s no SCSI cables, there’s no mismatch between Macs and PCs. Back then we were all using ProTools on Macs and just operating on a network alone you’d be grabbing files and destroying resource forks if you remember what those are from old Mac stuff. All of a sudden your files wouldn’t work properly because they just happen to touch a PC network in transit. Things like that were crazy and nowadays it’s just like, out of the box surround sound, HDMI cable, HDTV, wireless controllers, everything’s on a network, everything’s fast, everything’s big, good to go, the work environment is just sped up like crazy.

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