Music

Hi, Bryce Raffle here.  As this is my first post, I would like to take a moment to introduce myself and the rest of the Sound Design team behind There And Back.

Bryce Raffle – Sound Design Lead, Backgrounds/Ambiences, Foley, Lead Composer
Dan Ayers – Dialogue Recordist/Editor, Creatures, Composer
Jim Marino – Sound Effects, Foley
Morgan Greenwood – Special Effects Sounds, User Interface Sounds

Over the past month, we have been using whatever spare time we can find to bring our audio vision to life.  We have been striving to ensure that we evoke the same eerie mood as the wonderful artwork provided by the game designers, with a definite bend towards keeping it lively, dramatic, and fun.

The process of creating audio assets for a game is a lot different from working on sounds for a film.  While films are a linear form of storytelling, video games are a bit looser in structure; how the audio plays out depends on the player’s actions.  What this means for us is we need to put together a lot of variations for each sound you hear in the game.

The same applies for music.  The idea was to make the music as interactive as possible, using a ton of different layers all in the same tempo that can play out with randomization so that it plays a little bit different each time.

We also wanted to make sure that the music for each level suited the mood of the environment perfectly. For the cavern, we created a slow-paced ambience with drippy-sounding synths and processed dobro guitars; the song comes to a climax with a creepy tribal drumbeat.

For the Cathedral, I used a ton of choir vocals layered with ominous pads and strings. For the lead vocals, I recorded Nathan Willis performing Gregorian chants. I also recorded and sampled a music box and used it to play a new and slightly out-of-tune melody. I contributed some of my own vocals to the eerie piece, and added a trippy electronic drum layer to the mix.

For the clock tower, I sampled clock ticking, metal clangs, and other machinery to create a sort of clockwork percussion, while Dan Ayers composed the score.  We arranged the song in two sections, one slow-paced, the other double-time, to create a real sense of panic for the climax of the game.  A dramatic transition segues from the slow-paced intro to the fast-paced conclusion.

For the game’s main menu, I used elements from each level and composed a creepy yet strangely quirky score.  It has a circus-like style that is meant to invoke a sense of the surreal and fantastical mood of the game.  And finally, the game’s pause menu, is an interlude that uses randomization to ensure it plays out differently each time you pause the game.

And now, without further adieu, a sneak peak at the music of There And Back.

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