A full Audio Redesign for a Gauntlet Gameplay video.
It was done over the course of 2 weeks, using Cubase 8.
Used Sound Libraries
Cubase 8 LE
BOOM Library's Historical Firearms
Sonniss (Freebies) Sound Library
My responsibilities included:
Sound Design, recording artist (VO & foley), mixing.
Essentially, if you hear it - I put it there.
Overview of Sound Effects
The Idea and general process
I chose to redesign the gameplay video from Gauntlet (Arrowhead) as it covers a wide range of sound effects - ambience, attacks and magic, and many of these sound effects at the same time. This allows me to show a wide variety of skills.
The sounds were made and edited using Cubase 8. A few plugins were used but mainly Cubase's native plugins. About 95% of the sounds heard are made from scratch. The only additions from sound libraries are a fire sound from Sonniss Sound Library and a cannon echo from BOOM Library's Historical Firearms.
Variation in the sound - especially in often reoccurring sounds such as footsteps and attacks - was done by using several variations of the sound (about 4 per sound) as well as some pitch shift on individual sounds.
Structure of the project
Approximately 100 sounds where used in this video. Some specific sound effects are layered with up to 12 different sounds. The most asset-heavy sounds were the magical sounds, the impact sounds and the shield.
The sounds were divided into the categories (and folders):
Ambience (fairly straightforward, passive environment sounds such as wind, roomtone and so on),
Environment objects (pots, doors, and so on),
PC or Player Character (walking, attacking, being injured),
Enemies (the same but for the Enemies),
Magic and Abilities( (charge up, throw fireball, charge shield and so on) and finally
Discoveries and UI (all "New enemy" and UI notifications).
It's worth noting that all steps here are iterated through several times, but this is the overall layout that I've had.
1. Watch it
The first thing I did was to watch the material several times, without any kind of audio. I wanted to prevent anchoring in terms of audio and to work with a clean slate, with only the visuals and appearent gameplay as instructions for the sound.
2. Take notes
Secondly I wrote a detailed list of timestamps and corresponding sound effects (01:04, PC attacks). During the second iteration I added descriptive sounds of what I had in mind (metal scrape, big whoosh).
3. Plan and plan again
I checked which assets I already had, and which sounds I would need to record. Being limited in terms of time, money (a student) and recording equipment (no real studio) mean that planning is extra important. Whoose voice can I borrow, where can I chop wood, what pottery can I afford to break? (FYI: Ikea has really affordable pots.)
I recorded everywhere, everything. I made several variations of each sound to ensure I wouldn't be stuck with limited material.
5. Edit and timing
Add effects if needed. The major sound effects that required several sounds were all made in separate projects and then imported to ensure the main project was kept clean.
6. Mix and double-check everything.
Add automation when needed.
7. Let other people review it.
8. Repeat all steps again.
How - Player Sounds
Regular attack/sword swing - stick whooshes through air, knife scraping against grind stone
Pottery breaking - ceramics and glass being broken, jumbling around the shards, with an impact thud as base layer.
Coin pickup - three coins being dropped on each other
Walking - base thud/impact layered with gravel being kicked.
How - Ambience
The ambience consists of three main aspects - the actual ambience track, an ambient music track, and the methods used to ensure the sound reflected the environment in which the player was.
The ambient track consists of several different sound effects depending on the current area. In the outdoors section, wind and birds can be heard. Inside, fire. When enemies are close near the second room, some sounds can be heard indicating their presence. The entire track is then heavily layered with reverb to reflect the surroundings of the player character.
The ambience track and the other sound effects were both routed to fx tracks with automation on delay and reverb.
How - Magic
There are several different magic or special attacks and uses in the video.
The player has: the spear attack, the charge up (bring out) shield and the repell/hit enemy (with shield).
The enemy has: charge up magic, throw fireball, and the explosion near the end.
How - UI
The UI sounds are almost exclusively different versions of my Harpeleik. The Harpeleik I've used was severely out of tune, which helped create the unsettling nature of the "new enemy" discovered sound effect. The UI button light up is a single string, and then pitch shifted up ~2 octaves.