Merging New Sound Design To Match Existing Sound Design

  • May 9, 2015
  • By Somatone Interactive

Recently I had a project where a client had come to us with a great casual game. Unlike others, this game was not a clean blank slate of sound nor was it in development. This game had partial sound coverage that the client was married to and they had asked to replace some of the sounds and add to it, but for the most part keep their old assets.

Now to me this is a rarity, because usually I will find a game that gives me, as a sound designer, more creative control because I get to start from scratch while also watching art and game design develop in the process. And the kicker here was, the sounds they wanted to keep, were actually really great-sounding and very fitting to the game. So talking them out of it was out of the question.

The challenge began.

I started by analyzing what the game was all about just by simply playing it. Again, it was a finished, working game. After experiencing what the game was all about, I had a good idea as to what the developer wanted to do with the sounds and how they wanted to use them for the player experience. By first getting in the head of the developer, I then ventured to the mind of the original sound designer. Questions I asked myself were, “Was he trying to complement the music or was he trying to have good separation?” “Was their design harsh and fast or slow and subtle?”

I figured that they wanted fast but subtle, complementary to the music, very airy, and a certain sound that I like to call, “expensive.” By expensive I don’t mean price, what I mean is sound effects that have high frequency content, are very shimmery on the top end, no muddiness to the sound or attack that is hurtful or annoying to the ear and that are very clear.

Lastly, I looked into what would be the best way to approach finding elements for this design. After going through a couple of libraries of sounds, I soon realized that the “expensive” sounds that I was looking for were only going to be achieved through the use of instruments. I then looked into instruments that I could use with my sound design to make this happen. I found chimes and bells to be the best answer for the job and the rest was smooth sailing from there. I find spending a little bit of time doing the research and brainstorming on a project can go a long way rather than just jumping in and taking a risk. I definitely streamlined my design process and I would encourage anyone to do the same.

Merging existing game sound with new sound is yet another way to be challenged creatively as a sound designer, and taking the time to carefully develop fresh ideas can make all the difference in creating results that everyone loves.

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