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Posted by on Dec 20, 2013 | 1 comment

Review: Twisted Tools METAMORPH

Metamorph Logo

METAMORPH is the latest sample library from Twisted Tools, makers of the designed sample libraries as well as some fun and unique Reaktor ensembles. With sounds designed by BJM Mario Bajardi and Komplex (Iter-Research), METAMORPH “takes heavily processed violins, pianos and acoustic instruments and morphs them into impacts, sci-fi atmospheres, user interface elements and beyond.”

METAMORPH comes as stereo 24-bit, 96kHz BWAV files with full SoundMiner metadata for easy searching. It includes sampler kits for Ableton Live 9′s Sampler and Simpler, Logic 9’s EXS24, and Native Instruments’ Kontakt, Battery, and Maschine; Also induced is the MP16d, Twisted Tools’ sample player. METAMORPH contains just over 2 GB of samples broken down into 10 categories: Drums, Imaging Elements, Micro, Noises, Pass By, Sci-Fi Atmos, SFX, Textures, Tonal, and Composite. The “Micro” category includes User Interface and “Microbot” elements. There’s a good selection of sounds to be had, and the added metadata makes finding things fairly easy.

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Posted by on Dec 17, 2013 | 5 comments

An Interview with John Roesch

MPSE_JRoesch2

In  over 30 years working in sound, Foley artist John Roesch has amassed an impressive list of credits, including major films like “Inception” and “The Matrix” and games like “Final Fantasy X” and “Dead Space.” With over 400 credits to his name, John was awarded the MPSE’s Career Achievement Award earlier this year. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with John on his Foley stage on the Warner Brothers Studios lot in Burbank, California to talk about Foley, how he got into the business, and where he sees things moving forward.

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Posted by on Oct 1, 2013 | 6 comments

Review: Game Audio Culture by Rob Bridgett

cover

Review by Karen Collins

Game Audio Culture” isn’t a book, so much as a manifesto. Dragging sound design (perhaps somewhat reluctantly) from out of the darkened underground studios and out into the open, Bridgett proposes that it’s time that sound designers started to be more collaborative with the rest of the game team. Bridgett boldly states that we’re in a “post-sound design era… no longer obsessed with the ‘neglected’ art” of the soundtrack. Sound designers can’t play the victim anymore: sound is getting the respect it deserves, and the next stage is to become a key collaborator on projects. Suggesting that fully one third of the sound designer’s skill set should be social skills, Bridgett sees the audio director as playing a much more important role in the future than in the past. Bridgett dubs this new art “social sound design”.

With that premise in mind, “Game Audio Culture” maps out just how Bridgett envisages the future role of the sound designer to play out. How does game audio influence collaborative practice? Where does design come into the mix, and how does that change under the idea of social sonic practice? How should scheduling change to accommodate a more social, collaborative space? How do you plan your budgets? What role does audio play in QA, and how does audio bring in feedback from its team and its players? These are just some of the questions Bridgett seeks to answer.

For the game sound designer, this book offers practical tips on how to turn your workplace into a more collaborative, holistic world, in which sound plays an important part. It best serves as a how-to guide on being an audio director, in a world where many of the triple-A titles have teams of people working on audio that need to be coordinated and managed. Most game audio directors find themselves in that role through promotion and experience, but without any formal training available. Bridgett fills the gap in knowledge by providing useful tips and tricks that will benefit even the most experienced designers and audio directors. For the rest of us, he gives us much to think about in terms of our practice.

For the academic or scholar studying game audio, the book is particularly useful in its description of process, and will help anyone to understand the many different skills required to undertake sound design for games today. Especially interesting are the more meandering thought pieces that round out the book: self-described “utopian” considerations of where game audio is heading, what the future holds for sound design, and two interviews that read like thoughtful, in-depth discussion between two sound designers, kicking back over a beer and reflecting on their jobs.

Finally, I would suggest that game designers themselves pick up this book, to understand what the sound team is doing and to incorporate some of these tips in bringing the sound team on board early. In short, there’s something in “Game Audio Culture” for everyone: it’s one of those books that is worth reading multiple times, as a reminder of how far we’ve come, and how far we still have to go.

Special thanks to Karen Collins for contributing this review. You can find Karen on gamessound.com

You can purchase Game Audio Culture online here.

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Posted by on Feb 11, 2013 | 9 comments

Capcom Audio Director Tomoya Kishi Interview

Dragon's Dogma (c)CAPCOM CO., LTD. 2012 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Dragon’s Dogma (c)CAPCOM CO., LTD. 2012 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Japanese video game composers and musicians get a good bit of coverage and acclaim over in the West, but the people making the booms and whoosh sounds don’t seem to get much visibility.  To that end I reached out to Tomoya Kishi, who is the Audio Director and Senior Manager of Audio Design and Production at Capcom:

“Tomoya Kishi joined Capcom in 2001, beginning his career as an audio editor on the Onimusha series. In 2004, he was assigned to be the audio director for Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, a role he continued on the sequel Lost Planet 2. During this time he constructed a work flow to improve efficiency in video game audio development, and worked to forge more active collaborations with Hollywood sound studios—activities that have given birth to new ideas as well as new possibilities in the overall industry.

Tomoya Kishi

Tomoya Kishi

Tomoya’s recent work has been as audio director of Dragon’s Dogma. By utilizing the work flow developed on previous titles, as well as incorporating a number of collaborative works, the audio in Dragon’s Dogma has been one of the most interesting, challenging and inspiring projects of his career. Additionally, he has lead the development of Capcom’s original audio middleware, cooperating with professors and researchers with the aim of inventing a new technology in video game audio.

Tomoya currently is the senior manager of the audio production team at Capcom. The team consists of 60 members from various fields, including sound design, composition, engineering, programming, and audio production.”

Designing Sound: How did you get started in sound design?  What inspired you to do sound design for games?

Tomoya Kishi: It’s a bit of a long story, and a little embarrassing, but I’ve never formally studied music―I originally studied marketing at my university’s commerce department. However, I first got into music when my parents bought me a Yamaha synthesizer at age 14. I started remixing my favorite artist’s tracks and experimented with composing my own.

It was in the 90’s, right when club music like house and hip-hop was breaking out in the underground here, that I was hooked on creating breakbeats with the AKAI S01 sampler. The RAM on the AKAI S01 is fairly limited, so I played around sampling at a higher pitch, then going back and lowering it, sampling at a lower bit rate, shortening samples as much as possible―I was always trying to cram as much as possible into that limited space, never thinking that this experience would come in handy down the road.

In college, I DJ’d at clubs, put on shows, and self-published my own album. At that time big beat was in, so artists like Fatboy Slim were hot.

Around this time I ran into someone from Capcom at a club and first learned about sound effects. It turned out they were working on the sounds for Street Fighter. I was job hunting and wanted to work in sound, so with their encouragement I dove into this world.

Whew, so that is quite a bit of back-story―basically, I started sound design when I entered Capcom at age 22. Luckily, I was used to most of the equipment involved; I just had to learn Pro Tools, and put my sampling and sound-mixing sense to work. In the end, it was less that I was inspired and more that my career just happened to start with game sound design.

Lost Planet  (c)CAPCOM CO., LTD. 2006 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Lost Planet
(c)CAPCOM CO., LTD. 2006 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

-What software do you use for sound design?  Any favorite plugins and workflows? 

In general I stick to Pro Tools, and considering the total recall I don’t use an outboard. I like to keep things simple and stay away from physical controllers so I just control everything using a trackball. The plug-ins I use most are McDSP, FilterBank and CompressorBank, Waves, Pitch ’n Time, Duy EverPack, Pultec EQ and Comp, and finally Altiverb. Conceptually, Altiverb is about sampling acoustic spaces, so for someone who is into sampling as much as me it was love at first sight. I use it for a lot of different things: voice effects, to add a little something to the digital track to make it more organic, and so on. I also get a lot of use out of Pitch ’n Time. I love Pultec for how it dirties up sounds with heavy compression, so I use it to spice things up or to create nuances in footsteps. I like plug-ins that allow you to twist sounds a little with dirty effects while maintaining the original, organic texture.

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Posted by on Dec 13, 2012 | 0 comments

Rewind…Audio Implementation Greats #3: Crackdown – Realtime Worlds

In the run-up to this month’s reverb theme, former contributor Damian Kastbauer suggested we re-run this article he put together discussing the game Crackdown for XBOX. The article may be two years old, but the content remains undeniably relevant. Never one to ignore good suggestions, here we are…

Crackdown

One area that has been gaining ground since the early days of EAX on the PC platform, and more recently it’s omnipresence in audio middleware toolsets, is Reverb. With the ability to enhance the sounds playing back in the game with reverberant information from the surrounding space, you can effectively communicate to the player a truer approximation of “being there” and help to further immerse them in the game world. While we often take Reverb for granted in our everyday life as something that helps us position ourselves in a space (the cavernous echo of an airport, the openness of a forest), it is something that is continually giving us feedback on our surroundings, and thus a critical part of the way we experience the world.

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