We were first given the assignment, and an option of 5 unique games to choose from. All of which would involve very different production styles. As my desired field of study is recording, I wanted to choose a game I could incorporate more of my knowledge into, in order to get the best possible finishing project.
We were shown examples and various documentaries such as ‘Diggin’ in the Carts’ – Red Bull Music. These helped me get a rough knowledge of the industry and what thought processes go into making sound for a computer game. We learnt about old arcade games and how the sounds developed over time, from being a very simplistic repeated beat played inside the machine itself, to complex audio used in games we play now.
I chose to create both the sound effects and music for ‘Black Jack’. As we all know, music can change the way people act and feel. Whether it be like in ‘Tetris’ where the repeated simple music, slowly building up the more you mess up (Adaptive Audio), makes it difficult to think rationally and therefore its harder to succeed.
Similarly the game ‘Dizzy Panic‘ uses adaptive audio, playing the same song but speeding it up and raising the pressure.
I wanted to use realist sound effects that would adapt to the visual, appealing to an adult audience who would want the realistic aesthetic. I’m planning on taking some recordings of the inside of casino’s just to make it that bit more life like.
I played the game and noted down all of the sound effects I needed to make/record. Then how I could go about making them. So the lesson after next I would bring in everything I would need. I started to compose the backing music on ‘Logic Pro X’. As stated before, I was aiming for a repetitive song with quite a dramatic build up.
So I started by making a basic but catchy melody, quite thin, no chords. Then I found my desired sound on ‘Alchemy’ (1963 semi-acoustic thumb), I played around with some others but none fit the scene quite as well. I played around with the cutoff, release and sustain giving it a slight staccato feel.
For the next part I worked with the same melody as before with some slight alterations, such us elongating notes, getting rid of the last one and using octaves. I also wanted a simple fade in, fade out effect as you can see the velocity of the notes deteriorate at the end. This replicated melody is to play in unison to the underlying melody. I found another sound on ‘Alchemy’ (Additive Church Organ) which even though is playing the sam thing, will contrast in effect. It is much more legato, with reverb, increased sustain and slower release.
Theres lots of work to still be done, but I’m on track and have minimal doubts or queries.
I added another section to my project, another repeated version of the melody, to play a call and response with the other.
This time building up in the sense of adding another layer mid way through, as if this one fades in and the previous melody fades out. I got a new sound on Alchemy (Guitar PM Acoustic) also very different from other noises. I was very unsure of whether I liked this part, but came to the conclusion that as long as I don’t feature it too often, it should add complexity. This sound is a little more delicate, and pizzicato.
Now for the dramatic build up, I have got the piece accelerating in both tempo an pitch, more and more the longer the game lasts. I added simple EQ’s and volume changes. I am satisfied with my work and the song has been finalized.
I had some free time so decided to add some hidden comical subliminal messaging, as a money making scheme. It’s also a cynical reflection of the gambling industry.
I wrote a script that I would get different male voices (because men are the stereotypical gamblers) to record next lesson when I bring in all the props.
(Here is a copy/paste of the word document)
“With all this money, I can afford to put my mum in a home”
“More time in the casino means less time spent with the kids”
“I can afford a full time nanny now”
“I’ll never need to work again”
“Thanks to my gambling addiction, I can afford to get a divorce”
“Who needs a mortgage when you can travel the world”
“I’m one bet away from getting the bay lifts round”
“Just one more round”
“Who needs a wife when you buy hookers”
So I brought in a bottle top and deck of cards. I also arranged to record three people for the subliminal messaging.
All of the recordings went well, I did lots to account for some of them being awful. For instances sometimes I’d flick the cards too close to the microphone and it’d end up all distorted. But in the end I got Cards being put on a soft (carpet like) surface, cards being shuffled, being swiped from the deck and a bottle top being dropped on a hard (wooden) surface.
I then recored the subliminal vocals, there were a few retakes but nothing major.
Next lesson I am to chop up the sounds effects, and edit them. Chop up the vocals and fit them in with the music.
I used ‘Strip Silence’ to chop up all of the sound effects.
For the card shuffling got rid of the low frequencies and a little bit of high with an EQ, then boosted the middle. This gave it a clean and almost too real effect, very much like in other online card games.
I then pitch shifted it down a semitone to add to this hyper realistic feel.
For the card dealing I did a very similar EQ, pitch shifter and I used a compressor
I then found an ambient casino sound, where you can hear other machines in use and people talking. I added this to the music and compressed and EQ’d it so that it merged with the music nicely and wasn’t too outrageously loud or prominent.
I chopped up the vocals and altered them so that they were subtle and subliminal. I wanted them to be comprehendible but hidden. Some words had to be boosted and EQ’d… pitch shifted down also to sound like a more mature, older and wiser male voice.
I put all the sounds onto the game itself, I made it so that the music starts again every time you enter the home screen.
Overall my project has gone well, I have kept to my schedule and have exceeded my expectations. Only very minor problems such as recording too close to the microphone.
I got my peers to play my finished game and got nothing but positive feedback.