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Posted by on Jul 11, 2014 | 1 comment

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BD: What originally made you move away from the UK to come over to Canada?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 Nov 20, 2013 | 0 comments

Wwise Limbo Redux Contest

Audiokinetic - Wwise Limbo Redux Contest

The game Limbo was originally released in 2010, and quickly garnered much critical acclaim for its combination of fluid gameplay, beautiful art style, and evocative sound design. The 2011 DS interview with Sound Designer Martin Stig Andersen gives great insight into the creative decisions he made to bring the game’s world to life.

Now over three years later, Audiokinetic – the makers of Wwise – have announced they will be holding a “Limbo Redux” contest. This is your chance to step into Andersen’s shoes and craft your own vision for the game’s sound design… and win some great prizes to boot!

The contest runs from now through January 14, 2014, and will award one ‘Best in Show’ winner, as well as two runners-up. The winners will be announced at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, and on Audiokinetic’s website on January 17th, 2014. For details about the contest, prizes, and entry rules, please check the Audiokinetic website.

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Posted by on Sep 30, 2013 | 1 comment

Interview with Raymond Usher

Guest Contribution by Neil Cullen


Raymond Usher started work in the games industry in 1992 as a sound designer at DMA Design, working on a number of titles, most notably the original Grand Theft Auto games. He became the company’s senior audio programmer and through the release of GTA III, was part of the metamorphosis into Rockstar North. Raymond stayed at Rockstar until the end of development on GTA: Vice City before moving to the newly formed Realtime Worlds to act as Audio Director for the title Crackdown. After that company’s collapse, Raymond founded Euphonious, an independent audio production company providing direction, sound design, audio programming and music licensing services for developers. Double BAFTA award winner for Vice City and Crackdown, Raymond has been at the forefront of game audio for over 20 years.

Neil Cullen: Your company Euphonious handles audio outsourcing for the games industry, could you describe your services and how they fit into the development cycle?

Raymond Usher: Euphonious has been going about 2 and a half years officially, after Realtime Worlds collapsed, there was a lot of small studios doing small mobile and Facebook games and we sort of started doing sound for them as a favour. It made me think we can make a go of this, so 2 and a half years later I’ve lost count of the number of projects we’ve done. We tend to do about 20 or 30 a year, ranging from mobile stuff right through to AAA titles such as the Lego Games developed by Travellers Tales who we did a lot of the cut-scene work for. In general a lot of the work comes from people that I know, but a lot of it is also recommendations, going out and meeting people at various events. It can vary from project to project, some of them we come on the project quite early while on others the project’s almost complete. It’s really a case of playing the builds, getting a list of requirements together and going off and getting that done, working with video captures, and just keeping in touch with the companies. A lot of the folk I work with are quite local while others are not so we Skype. 

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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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