Introduction

For this project, the overall objective was to create audio assets for the game Uranus Attacks! and satisfy the need of the client.  

The game itself is about killing alien monsters from a spaceship using a vaporizer. Audio sources had to be recorded using my H5 Zoom and then transformed into finished audio assets to be used in the game.

From the initial draft to the final draft, making changes along the way using the feedback received from the client, to create an amazing and satisfying finished product.

Creation Process

Coming up with sounds for the game made me think outside the box.  The majority of examples that I've seen in the past of similar sounds have been made by garage tools, items that I don't own or use on a regular basis.  So, what do I own and use that could help me create the sounds I need?    

Ambiences
Planets -Kraktoh and DKuk

Kraktoh is described as an icy world and DKuk as a desolate and rocky one.  Reading those descriptions, what came to mind was air and water.  I got my H5 Zoom and recorded my kitchen fan, followed by my water faucet.  After a bit of manipulation by stretching, EQ's and a vintage filter effect, the final products were created and approved by the client.

DKuk Ambience - Maria Gaucin
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Kraktoh Ambience - Maria Gaucin
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Spaceship

For the engine sound, I knew that I needed a constant motion sound similar to the ambiences.  I looked around my kitchen and saw exactly what I needed... a blender.  I filled the blender halfway with water and recorded the sound with my H5 Zoom.  Once in the session, I EQ'd the sound and added a frequency shifter and the result was a great engine sound that was approved by the client.

Engine - Maria Gaucin
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Vaporizer

In my mind, the vaporizer sound was very important for the game and because of it, I wanted to come up with something unique.  The vaporizer I came up with for my first draft was done by recording myself stirring coffee in a ceramic cup with a spoon.  The natural motion and sound was nice.  The feedback I received from the client was that it needed more body or low end frequencies and he was right.  I attempted to add more low end frequencies to the asset but I was not happy with it.  Thinking about the body and frequencies needed to make the vaporizer stand out, I began searching around my house and found my hair dryer.  Once recorded, in the session I time compressed the sound to the time needed, EQ'd the sound, and added a frequency shifter and flanger to make the unique sound. 

I gave my client different variations and options to choose from.  In the end, this sound was the chosen one.

Vaporizer - Maria Gaucin
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Teleport In/Out

The teleporting sounds turned out the be the most difficult for me.  The first draft was made by using the doggy door sound which I thought had a nice motion sound to it.  The feedback that I received from it was that it was the weakest sound out of all my assets.  I needed my assets to feel they belong together.  I searched my house for something I could use to create this sound but could not find anything I was satisfied with.  I had to give in and use a tool from my job, and lucky for me to remove outboard gear the studio uses a small electric screwdriver.  Using my H5 Zoom, I recorded the sound, imported it into my session and used a frequency shifter and a flanger.  Together it gave my asset a nice moving sound perfect for teleporting.  

Teleport In - Maria Gaucin
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Teleport Out - Maria Gaucin
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Alien Sounds
Barnabys and Fnoon

Comparing the two aliens, the Barnabys look big and in my mind, have a deep sound.  The Fnoons are smaller and in my mind have more of a screechy sound.  For the first draft, when I was looking for animals, the deep and screechy sounds are what I was thinking about.  The first sound I came upon that I really liked was an eagle owl, it was deep and scary to me.  The second sound I chose was that of an eagle due to its screechy sound.  I added the lo-fi effect to both of them and presented the sounds to my client.  The sound of the Barnabys was approved but the sound of the Fnoons were a bit too screechy.  The second thought that came to my mind for the Fnoons was that I still wanted a small/medium animal sound but a scary one.  Immediately, the image of a coyote came up and I found the howls I wanted.  I time compressed them and added the lo-fi sound and the result was exactly what the client wanted.

Eagle Owl
Barnaby_G - Maria Gaucin
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Barnaby_H - Maria Gaucin
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Barnaby_I - Maria Gaucin
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Gameplay Example

-The goal of the game is to kill all six Barnaby and Fnoon aliens in each planet.  

-The spaceship will appear in the screen as if it is teleporting in.

-As I move the cursor on the screen, the spaceship moves and you are able to listen to the engine sounds change as I do so.  

-When the aliens appear, I must press down with my mouse to activate the vaporizer and kill them.

-When I kill all six Barnabys, I'm teleported out of the first planet and into the second one.

-I continue moving the cursor and pressing down the mouse to vaporize the Fnoons. 

-Once all six Fnoons are dead, the spaceship then teleports out and the game is over.

Coyote
Fnoon_G - Maria Gaucin
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Fnoon_H - Maria Gaucin
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Fnoon_I - Maria Gaucin
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Final Reflection

The main objective of this project was to design assets that would be approved by the client and I’m proud to say I achieved it.  I started this project worrying about whether or not I would have the right tools to create these assets.  In all previous examples, many of the tools used to create these assets were power tools or garage items which I don’t own.  I had to think outside the box and it pushed me to look at items in my house that could help in creating these assets.  I went from the kitchen fan, water faucet, blender, stirring coffee, hair dryer and finally giving in and using a small electric screwdriver from work to achieve my results.

 

From that, my most developed asset according to the feedback I received from both my peers and client is the engine sound.  The use of the blender, which gave it a natural motion sound along with effects like time compression, EQ, and the frequency shifter made a perfect combination.  Now, the asset that I would consider not to be the least developed but the one that challenged me the most is, the teleporting sounds.  I began by using the doggy door, which wasn’t bad but by the feedback received, needed more work.  I then recorded multiple sounds but was not satisfied and in the end, I gave in and used a small electric screwdriver.  The natural sound of motion and motor start up along with the effects, created a sound not only was I happy with, but the client as well.

 

Thinking about what advice I would give myself coming into this course, it would be to not be afraid to think outside the box.  Look at everything as a magical sound source, record it, tweak it, and if it doesn’t work with what you’re looking for, record something else.  I pretty much went room by room in my house trying to find items to use and then experimented with all different types of effects.  Be prepared to spend hours working on this project, not because it is difficult but because time flies by when you are having fun.  

 

Finally, the biggest lesson I learned in this class and something that I will not forget in the future is to give my client options.  Options was what I thought about when I began working on my sounds based on the feedback received.  I wanted to make sure that in the end my client was satisfied with the sounds I provided and that I didn’t waste his time.  I made sure I turned in at least two different sounds per asset and in the end, it was the right thing to do.  The client was able to choose and approve all the sounds on the second draft, saving him time and money.  So for me, giving options, thinking outside the box, and experimenting with different effects are the things that will benefit me in my future endeavors.