Eduardo Ortiz Frau is a freelance game audio designer based in Austin, TX. He has worked in audio and music production for over ten years and has been working in sound design for games since 2011. He’s worked on titles like The Stanley Parable, Apotheon, and Neverending Nightmares. Eduardo Oritz Frau was kind enough to answer some of our questions about his work including his experiment in representing himself as a company as opposed to an individual sound artist.
Eduardo Ortiz Frau
Designing Sound: How did you get into sound?
Eduardo Ortiz Frau: Like many other sound designers, I came into this profession because of my love for music. Music was all I used to think about when I was younger. I was in bands, I studied audio engineering and classical composition, worked in recording studios, etc. Eventually, I got burned out on the music industry. I wasn’t feeling inspired by it anymore and I was also struggling to make a living within it. So I ditched it, moved to Austin, TX and started exploring other ways I could employ my audio skills. That led me to discover the video game industry and, specifically, the world of indie games. I had no idea what was going on with indie games before this time, but needless to say, I was completely enthralled by what seemed to me like THE up and coming medium to work with. So I focused all my energy and resources into breaking into the industry.
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.
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.
There’s a common joke among game audio artists and designers: if you ask any number of sound designers what genre they’d most like to work on, the odds are good they’ll all say “horror”, twice. It’s no surprise it’s such a common answer, either; horror games offer designers some of the most interesting and diverse sound design opportunities one can come across. There’s no doubt that Frictional Games’s upcoming title SOMA fits this mold as well, evidenced by a fantastic blog post on Frictional’s website by the game’s audio director, Samuel Justice.
In the post, Sam discusses the approach he and the rest of the team took towards defining the distinct above- and underwater worlds of this eagerly-anticipated horror title. Sam goes into extensive detail on the techniques they used, both in the game’s engine and in content creation, to achieve a unique sonic identity for the game. Check out the post here, and also take a look at Sam’s other online home over at Sweet Justice, which features another great blog chock full of good info.
Photo: Heike Liss
Snippets of Dren McDonald’s score for his seven-piece ensemble.
Dren McDonald shares his third and final entry on the audio production of Gathering Sky. Written during the game’s development, the first two entries focus on keeping an open mind when joining a team late in the game’s development and maintaining this flexible mindset while composing and recording a live studio session. In the final entry, a post mortem, McDonald further emphasizes flexibility by sharing his incremental process of designing “reverse” dynamics in FMOD before the studio session recording.