Steel Wool has released early access and first time VR version of the popular Warhammer series, The Horus Heresy: Betrayal At Calth, a massive strategy based game with a massive soundtrack. Big enough I needed to change my work flow. It's good to get your butt kicked to keep things fresh. Listen to one of the trailers on the music page.
The Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth Trailer
Immersive experiences have reached the next wave of advertising. Sounds were designed for an "escape room' experience for Lionsgate's Jigsaw, the next movie in the Saw series. Bone crushing, blood spattering, saw spinning, flesh cutting goodness abounded, all topped off with scream voice over... I scared myself.
Steel Wool Studios ask me to compose a soundtrack and design sound effects for this physics based VR puzzle game. In keeping with their company slogan "Grimsical", the story takes an unexpected turn in the final level. I composed a song that fit the game conclusion, a human/AI love song (no spoiler). This dictated the rest of the soundtrack feel and was so successful, a separate 21-track soundtrack was released for purchase along with the game.
Steel Wool Studios wanted realism with this education based VR experience. While the Mars orbiting space station contained a more realistic cinematic feel (room ambiences, mechanical and computer console sounds), I had to come up with sounds for the Mars surface, dust storms, and an AI voice guide treatment. Music cues were composed for various reveals throughout the experience.
Colopl wanted energetic arcade style sound design on this VR game, with nods to the classics (Pong, Breakout). Object based sound design and mixing presents a challenge: finding the right balance of 3D sound versus stereo sound. With Cyberpong, we had to balance the existing high energy stereo music with an array of high tech 3D sound effects (impacts, paddle hits, alerts, payoffs and UI) in constant motion during game play.
Flyhunter Origins is a side scrolling platformer and Into-Screen Runner also deigned by Steel Wool Studios. Rich natural environments were treated with natural ambiences, bugs of all sorts, and squishy comedic hits. I composed electronic based swamp music, layered with real instrumentation (resonator, electric and acoustic guitars, harmonicas, and spacey Theremins.
Toy Sound Design can be the most challenging. Hasbro's Simon Swipe is a re-design of the classic. New technology allows for swiping and tapping. Sound had to represent these gestures, work together musically, and give the player all information without any dialog. We accomplished this and won the 2015 TOTY Game of the Year Award.
Levi's Stadium VR Tour
Helios Interactive designed a VR tour of Levi's Stadium. Just one Jim Harbaugh motivational locker room speech was provided. I recorded voice over of field announcer Bob Sargant, foley of full team run through from locker room to field, and designed confetti cannons, fireworks, and crowd cheers. I worked with Helios' engineering team to implement linear stereo mixes and 3D mono object based sound effects for the final Oculus experience.
US Open "Chase Review"
With the “Chase Review”, Helios Interactive created a fully immersive CGI experience of match point in Arthur Ashe stadium. The experience was accentuated by real puffs of air, triggered when in-game sound for tennis balls flew past. My goal was to deliver the most realist sound from the perspective of the umpire's chair. Final audio was a mixture of linear stereo and 3D mono object.
Tactile Media needed an alien music soundtrack for their iPad puzzle game PLEXXR. Star Wars bar this was not. Instead, a minimal collection of electronic instrumentation was established as "the alien band", matching the minimalist approach to the game: simple visual clues and virtually no instruction. PLEXXR went on to receive the Best Art award in the 2010 IndiePub Mobile Games competition.
Navy SWCC Rescue Simulation
Helios interactive needed realistic sound design for this Oculus VR simulation of a Navy Seal SWCC rescue operation. All sounds needed to be accurate representations of the weaponry contained on a Navy Special Operations Craft-Riverine (SOC-R). Battle and environmental ambiences were created for further immersion. Sounds were mixed stereo and 3D in Unity.
Steel Wool Studios needed WWI battle and period music for their turn based VR game. I composed orchestral cues for the battle scenes and solo piano pieces for cut scenes. Listen to cues on the music page. Another cut scene involved looping sound design of a Baeliog tank interior. Each of the 6 soldiers had to have their own 3D mixes while mechanical sound effects were both 3D and stereo.
Hole in 360°
Helios wanted sound and voice over for this Gear VR piece that put guests in play on a beautifully modeled hole 8 at Hazeltine National. Outdoor ambiences, golf swings and voice over actor Bob Sarlatte put you directly the action.
Google VR Diorama
Steel Wool Studios wanted a 4 minute music cue similar to Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring for this Vive VR piece (listen on the music page). While stereo music drove the piece, all sound design takes place in 3D. The biggest challenge thus far with sound design for 3D is establishing a concise plan and clear communication with the entire design team from as early on in the process as possible so nothing is left to chance at the end.