TalkBack: Game Sound

Feb 21, 2008 7:47 PM

Polls


Education Guide

Mix is gearing up to present its longstanding annual Audio Education Guide in its November 2014 issue. Want to have your school listed in the directory, or do you need to update your current directory listing? Add an image, program description, or a logo to your listing! Get your school in the Mix Education Guide 2014.

First title: The Playroom-Broderbund

Made the switch from full-time musician composer in the San Francisco Bay Area freelance music scene to games because of the position that opened up at Broderbund. Found out about it as CD-ROMS were getting popular. Been doing sound work in games about 80 percent since then, the rest TV, film and some live.
Tim Larkin


I am one of those crossover film and game sound sound designers. I work as a freelancer and have worked on the following games: Call of Duty 3, Call of Duty Big Red One, Ultimate Spiderman, BLACK, Medal of Honor Airbourne, Need for Speed Underground, Need for Speed Carbon, Biohazard 5, Project Black, SOCOM (2008).

I do both and see the game market as an expansion of the marketplace for my skills.
Charles Maynes


I'm Stuart, bass and keyboards from the Canadian rock band the Tea Party. We sold a few million records in the '90s. I got invited to compose a soundtrack in 2002 from an audio engineer/producer, Simon Pressey, who had worked an EP for us and was now managing an audio department at a major game studio. Since then I have done three AAA titles and several handheld releases.

It's very competitive, but the backstabbing and sabotage that existed in the major-label recording business isn't present. I have kept a foot in the music business and in the game industry. I am currently working on an unnamed AAA titled for Christmas and several other recording projects.

Is the industry perfect? No. Problems include some composers being worried about the outsourcing of game development to China and several other up-and-coming economies. I have an optimistic outlook that these economies will grow and have a thirst for authentic Western culture and games. If there is a PS3 or Xbox360 in every other house in China or India, then I'm sure there will be room for everybody.


My name is Sandro Mancino and I am a TV composer of 10 years. I’ve mainly worked on TV spots, jingles and a network series. I’ve recently begun my transition to gaming about a year ago, and have just begun to break in. The reason for my decision was the gaming industry’s fast growth and the strong corporate structure behind these companies.

After 100 or so projects, I was starting to get a little bored with writing 15-second and 30-second spots, and I started to remember the passion I once had for music. That brought me back to my University days. In 1996, I graduated from York University with a Music degree specializing in electronic composition. I was lucky enough to work on Arp 2600s, Roland Sys 100s, Synthis and a Technos Axcel Resynthesizer. This true hands-on approach and the technical savvy I acquired was what kept my ideas fresh and evolving.

Throughout the years, I always liked to dabble in mild programming, Filemaker DB creation and hardware design. I also loved going out to record field audio and, of course, true SFX creation using synthesis. Well, in the advertising world, I barely had time to throw down a loop, let alone create a patch. I found I was focusing on speed and not on originality. When I started looking into gaming, not only did I find that there were good-paying full-time positions available, but that this industry mixed both the musical, artsy side and the technical "computer geek" side of my personality. .

I’m currently in Berklee’s brand-new game audio course, and I can’t get enough of it. My goal is to start contributing to the advancement of the technology and to learn as much as I can. The prospect of interactive music is going to be huge and the hardware will become more and more capable, and I want to be right in the middle of it.
Sandro Mancino


I'm a DJ/producer/MC getting into the game industry. My first game audio gig was doing sound for the THQ title Saints Row with Volition Inc. I chopped up a lot of voice, designed the ambience implementation and made some placeholder radio station ID/speech recordings. I'm an old-school gamer and have a degree in computer science, so the transition was pretty natural for me. I actually got in the loop with the developers through my work organizing hip-hop events in their area. Then a friend of mine who I DJ'd with got a job there and recommended me for another spot. My electronic music/networking skills were integral in me being the right person at right place and right time. Before that, I didn't have much intention in going into game audio, but it turned out to be a great career path for me. I plan to get further into sound design with Foley/synthesis, audio programming, then eventually branch into game design. I believe the medium of the future is interactive multimedia and we're just starting to see the beginning of next-level gaming.
Victor Carreon
As with many of the sound guys in the early '90s in the videogame business, I think most of us came from musical backgrounds. Back then, there wasn't much of a management hierarchy on the audio portion of production, especially with smaller developers. So the term audio director, lead sound designer, music composer and voice-over "whatever you wanna call it" all pretty much fell in the hands of "The Sound Guy."

I got my start in late 1993 to early 1994. I was playing in bands for about seven years by then and was in my last year of college. I had a friend in a health class who was an occasional set-design artist and worked on a couple movies like Batman and Jurassic Park. He got a job through a friend at New World Computing as a 2-D animator for the company. I was working at Sam Goody's Record Store at the time and he came in to see if I would be interested in interviewing for the "Sound Guy" position at New World Computing. The only computer I owned at the time was an Atari 1040ST running Master Tracks Pro! So I said sure I will interview.

Two days prior to the interview, I purchased a ton of magazines current to the gaming industry and read like a madman so I knew a little about the current game biz. Aside from that was just my Atari 2600 memories as a kid, but the thought of getting paid to be creative was just a wonderful thing to me and I was determined to try it out. Needless to say, I got the job and here I am roughly 15 years later with more than 100 game credits and my own sound company and recording studio. I have actually used my game experience to get into post-production and have done a feature film, as well as TV spots for the movies 300, Pathfinder, We Are Marshall and most recently I Am Legend. I am thankful everyday for the chance I got and remain close friends with Jon Van Caneghem and Mark Caldwell from the New World Computing days. The first titles I worked on came out about the same time. They were Hammer of the Gods and Inherit the Earth, both for the PC. I think the specs were 486MHz DX2 with 64MB of RAM for those games and our audio budgets were about 1/100th of what they are now.
Rob King
executive audio director, Green Street Studios






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