XPBLOG: Brainstorming from an audio perspective – 10/26/21

Published on Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

Coming up with a game concept can be just as mentally engaging as making a game.  Here at Team Stir Fry, we experienced that firsthand.  Steve, Matt, Jian, Annie, and I created several flowcharts and moodboards of random buzzwords and pictures before settling on a few to stick with. Space outlaws? Toy boats?  The sky was the limit, but there were a good amount of concepts that we instantly agreed on.  I honestly did not expect that the first two weeks would be just brainstorming, but it was a fun process.

Team Stir FryPersonally, as an aspiring game composer and audio designer, I started XP3 feeling overwhelmed.  I have had years of musical experience,  but I’m currently a newcomer to the game industry with only a basic knowledge of Unity.  While the learning curve has been steep, I’m glad that my teammates are there to help me work through the more technical things.

For our tank-style arcade battle game dirty build, I tried to make the music silly and lighthearted using quirky synths, accordion, and banjo since our concepts included cats on roombas and a bear invading a campsite. I also made more of a dramatic orchestral track for our sci-fi version of the build. I searched through plenty of cat and bear sounds to make the game extra silly. My goal for this build is to have something fun that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Our other dirty build, an endless runner, was heavily inspired by musical concepts.  We wanted lofi hip hop.  We wanted synthwave.  We wanted any kind of music that could be turned into a visual aesthetic. We were even considering turning this game into a rhythm game.  Our concepts included a classroom desk, a bold neon aesthetic, and a pirate theme. The pirate theme idea actually came from one of my more orchestral background music tracks.  I also created a bossa nova song featuring my own live flute playing as an option. Overall, it is possible that I got a little carried away with the excitement of making background music assets for this build.

As the dirty builds are being worked on, I have to adapt and update the audio assets constantly.  Oh, the cat is using a lightsaber, not a laser gun.  Oh, the music should probably feature a different scale if we want to evoke a certain setting.  The game needs to sound like how it looks, and watching these games grow keeps me excited and on my toes.  I’m looking forward to seeing where this project takes us!

By Margaret Patel, St. Michael’s College ’20

*Team picture, from top left: Annie Higgins (Art), Jian Liu (Programming), Margaret Patel (Audio), Matthew Peters (Design), and Steve Kreuger (Producer)

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