9:13 pm by Volt
Tags: mondays with Volt
Although they’re called video games, they wouldn’t be much without the audio. So today I’m bringing you to the sound studio. This team of experts has the advantage of working on all Ubisoft Montreal games. They basically fabricate all the sounds you hear in the games.
There are two ways to generate sounds: With a computer, and with good old accessories. Here both methods are used, depending on what the need is. For example sword sounds will be be handmade, but a cheering crowd in a stadium will be computer generated. Of course the two methods are often combined, a sound generated with accessories can be digitally tweaked after-hand.
Here is where the hand-made sounds are generated and recorded. This is called foley sound making and the guy who does that is a foley artist. It’s a job that also exists in the movie industry, obviously, but foley for a movie will take between 2 weeks to two months (if it’s a big blockbuster) whereas a game like Assassin’s Creed will require 2 to 3 months work! Indeed a game is non linear, meaning you have to attribute sounds to actions, you cannot just place them chronologically. And even then, you have to record many versions of one same action. If you hear the exact same sound every time you hit a guy in the face, it won’t feel natural.
Here is the stock room of the foley artist. He is always thinking outside the box, for example, even though Montreal doesn’t lack snow, the best snowy steps sounds are obtained with sandbags. By changing the contents of the bags, the foley artist is able to simulate different variations of snow sounds, from “puff” (as my human colleagues call it) to crisp frozen snow (and he had to do a lot of these for the Shaun White Snowboarding game).
Once all the sounds are created or recorded (dialogues, sound effects, music) you have to balance all that. You obviously don’t want the player to struggle to hear what the characters are saying over the music.
Here is me demonstrating my skills and enjoying the “mad professor” feeling provided by the mere fact of sitting here.