Earlier this month, the game audio community lost Brad Fuller, a man who was both a pioneer and an inspiration. We reached out to some who knew him to share their thoughts and memories of Brad, and to celebrate his life and contributions to our community.
From Don Diekneite:
“Brad Fuller, 62, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He passed away after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer on January 2nd. His early love for music became a calling and he enrolled at Berklee College of Music in Boston, followed by the Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington. In 1982 Brad joined Atari as Director of Audio where he built and managed Atari’s audio team which was responsible for the sound of all of Atari’s coin-operated games. During this time, he pioneered technologies and creative audio practices whose impact is still being felt today. Among the many titles he personally created sound for are Donkey Kong, Marble Madness, Klax, Paper Boy, Toobin and many, many more.
Though he was particularly passionate about jazz, Brad loved just about every kind of music from blues and country to rock, classical, electronic, and experimental. Combined with an equal regard for the magic in code and technology, he made 1s and 0s come to life in sound.
Brad was one of those rare individuals who excelled in several areas. His exceptional technical competence in both software and hardware is hard to find in someone who is also so expert in the creative realm. As a sound designer and composer, he not only created great material but also leveraged technical knowledge to find creative solutions others often missed. His experience combined with a genuine care for people made him an extraordinary manager with a unique ability to balance the business, the technical, and the creative.
Working for Brad at Atari Games was a daily lesson in learning by doing. He did not manage by insisting on a specific way to solve a problem or accomplish a task. Instead, he taught you the tools, explained the goal, said, “go,” and then gave you his unconditional support – the operative word here being, “unconditional.” He worked for those on his teams as much as they worked for him.
If one measure of a man is his ability to impact, influence, and even change the lives of others, then Brad measures up big time. Because of Brad’s influence, those whose lives he touched often found their lives taking a new direction, with new choices being made. Some seemingly small, some huge, but all having unquestionable impact. Many of those who worked with Brad credit him with the acquisition of greater knowledge and understanding of the technical (how things work) and the creative (how things are made). All leading to nothing less than truly artful results. To this day, sound designers and composers of interactive media owe him for pioneering efforts in adaptive audio for games, toys, and other interactive products.
Not to mention the millions of people all over the world who felt such delight in the countless games they played that were strengthened by the sounds, voices and music Brad created.
But most of all, so many of us owe the simple but heartfelt sharing of warmth and friendship from a guy who did not draw a line between co-worker, colleague and friend.
Thank you Brad, your spirit lives on in all of us.“
From Leonard Paul:
“I first met Brad during the IA-SIG party in San Jose in 2006. We chatted for a while before I found out that he had worked on the music for Marble Madness, which was a favourite game of mine on the Amiga. He always had a warm personality and I had fun corresponding with him by email and catching up with him over the years at the Game Developers Conference. The Level 2 music from Marble Madness will always be a classic for me.” – Leonard Paul
In addition, Dren McDonald
has spearheaded an effort to record one final piece that Brad was working on prior to his death. We will share any further information on this as it develops.
All of us at Designing Sound send out our hearts and sympathy to Brad’s friends, families, and coworkers who were deeply affected by his loss. He was a valued and caring part of the game audio community, and he will be sorely missed.
Event playbill sketch credit jovietajane (https://twitter.com/jovietajane).
Community spotlight on: the Pacific Northwest, a uniquely concentrated locus of game audio talent goings-on.
Every month, Vancouver and Seattle both host up an in- to semi-formal gathering for like-minded designers and composers, usually alternating developer showcases and bar crawls. Lots of cities do these, but it seems like these ours are particularly well-attended: upwards of 75+ attendees Eventbrite’d in for November’s behind the scenes look at the sound of Bungie’s Destiny, on site at their Bellevue headquarters. Each city’s been on a really consistent tear with these meet-ups for the last two years, but they’d never really come together.*
Until this weekend.
On Saturday, the Vancouver and Seattle Game Audio communities came together in the basement of Western Washington University, a graciously provided-for halfway point, for a collaborative afternoon of talks and panels. We ate donuts, shuffled slides, met our brothers and sisters from across the border and broke it all down over pizza.
I’ve been going to these things for a while, and I always leave them hazy-brained and grateful to be part of an industry so welcoming. And it’s just flat-out unfair not to spread that around. So here’s Designing Sound, bending towards Bellingham, for a bullet point recap of some of the knowledge that was shared.
As sound designers, our jobs usually entail creating a vivid sonic world to accompany a narrative. But often, the nature of the worlds we are creating presents some unique challenges; there’s no doubt this was the case on ABZÛ, an upcoming underwater exploration game from Giant Squid Studios.
In a recent blog post, Giant Squid’s sound designer Steve Green delves into their approach to creating the sonic elements that would accompany and enhance this underwater world, with some special attention to how the audio would help create the narrative experience the team was looking for. Head over to the blog to read more!
In an appropriately seasonal blog post over at A Sound Effect, Asbjoern speaks to Saro Sahihi of SoundBits, a boutique SFX library and sound design company. Saro, who has released some excellent gore SFX libraries, goes in-depth on how to achieve some truly squishy, wrenching, and disgusting gore sounds for all your horror needs. He even touches on some other horror mainstays, like how to achieve a good jump-scare sound, or crafting dark ambiences.
Head over to A Sound Effect to check out the whole article!
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.