Shhh… do you hear that? Is that the sizzle of a fireball? Is that the shattering of glass as a car is flipped over? Yeah… it’s something like that. This week we chat with our sound guys to delve a bit deeper into the exciting world of creating audio effects and music in a superhero virtual reality game. Our boys, in true superhero fashion, Bruce Leroy (Reid Price) and Power-Lou (Louis Perron) share some of their insights.
What software do you use to create and implement sounds and music into First Impact?
I use Reaper and Audacity for creating, editing and recording sounds. Must have software for an indie studio sound dude in my opinion. Both lightweight, affordable and user-friendly. Actually, Audacity is free as a bird and there are so many great free VST plugins out there that you can use within Reaper.
For sound and music creation I primarily used Logic Pro X, which is a software for Mac that is very useful for songwriters due to its extensive sound library. I used it a lot to make powerful brass punches for superhero themes.
Interesting, check out a sample below:
What are some of your major sources of inspiration for creating sounds?
Other video games. Lot’s of hours playing games purely to hear how they sound. I then pick and choose what feels like it’s necessary for the games I work on. Also, everyday life. I’m always paying attention to sound as I’m going about my day. How it travels, reflects, echoes, resonates. Sound is neat. 🙂
My inspirations derive from superhero movies! Without superhero movies, we wouldn’t feel like we know what they sound like. They’ve come a long way! From the “ZOW!” “PA-LAF!” days in the old batman series days, to the modern drop of Thor’s hammer. I think the Avengers movie was a big one, along with the modern Batman Films.
Has it been a challenge creating sound effects for VR?
It’s definitely more complicated. More to consider, especially regarding three-dimensional sound spatialization. It’s been a fun learning experience. I’m thankful for industry leaders that share a breadth of knowledge about sound for VR because they realize how important sound in VR is. Great sound in VR equals better more immersive games. It’s all about growing an emerging market appropriately. We’re all in it together in a way, working on making VR great!
It’s definitely been a challenge, but it’s nothing that I wasn’t able to handle. I’m always looking to try something new and exciting that will make me think differently about my field of expertise.
Below are two audio clips for the fireball and ice shard attacks respectively along with their concept art.
What has been your biggest concern with respect to sounds in the game?
That they all get completed on time and implemented correctly! 🙂 Other than that, since this is a VR experience we really want to immerse the player. If the sound is off that will break the immersion. We want you to feel like a real superhero. If a projectile zooms by the left side of your head we want you to feel/experience that sound within the correct space.
My only concern was that the sounds might not be convincing or fitting. By testing, again and again, trying different things, recording new sounds, I think I managed to get the best out of the software.
What are your favorite parts about doing sounds and music for First Impact?
I love it all. It’s truly so fun! Nothing beats working on a sound from scratch and editing the crap out of it, finally being satisfied with the result, then implementing and hearing it in-game. In short, hearing and feeling the sounds in game and knowing it’s breathing life into the project. Also recording voice-overs of characters grunting and groaning because they were hit by a fireball or an ice projectile is a TON of fun!
My favorite part about writing for First Impact was experimenting and imagining the different themes for aspects of the game. What will the Lab sound like? Will there be different music for the fighting? What would a city theme sound like in this context? Then I would try out different ideas on either the guitar, the piano, drums, bass, or maybe some Virtual Instruments I had “lying around” on my hard drive. Such a fun experience!
One of our sound guys doing what he loves to do best! Goofing off and making sound effects.
What would be the goofiest song that you would include in First Impact if IP were not an issue?
Oh man. This is fun! …I definitely wish, “I believe I Can Fly” would play every time you fly in the game. Or better yet if you could pick up a baddie and throw them…have that fantastic song play as they soar through the sky heading straight toward their impending doom! …Yeah…”I Believe I Can Fly” fo sho! …I gotz goofy ideas for days! 🙂
I’d probably stick “Jungle Boogie” in there somewhere because it’s such a fun tune for a city environment. Plus it makes me think of “Pulp Fiction,” which is just a fantastic and interesting “anti-hero” movie.
Woah, that’s hectic huh? Well, it sounds like First Impact: Rise of a Hero is shaping up to be a beautiful game (see what I did there?). We’re stoked and we’re gonna keep pumping out the content so that you can get hyped for our launch!
To be continued…