Soundscape Design

Hello Vernacular Faithful,

Red Coat here. With Highway to the Moon inching closer to its kickstarter debut, all of the dramatis personae here at Vernacular are hard at work producing and polishing content for the game.

So what kind of content does a professional mascot produce? I’m glad you asked!

I wear a great many hats on the development team, doing this that and the other thing whenever the need arises, but, being the only one on the team with any kind of musical rhythm, I’m mostly responsible for creating the soundscape for the game.

In other words, I make the gunshots, explosions, warbles and music that appears during gameplay. Seeing as we wanted to save money on development, every sound effect in the game is made from scratch, using mixing software to warp, twist, and generally futz around with random noises to make them into the ones we need in game.

Soundscape design is kind of an intuitive thing, as a good soundscape largely goes unnoticed by the player. That is to say, a good soundscape draws the player’s attention to all the other elements in the game, by giving them life in the aural sense.

That said a soundscape can also be too low key, making for a world that is phonically lacking. This is when, for example, explosions lack punch, or attacks lack presence because the sound related to them is anemic and lacking in auditory character.

In the end, it all comes down to what you want the player focusing on in the game. If a game is about racing cars, you want to play up the screeching tires, roaring engines and whipping wind, and make sure the music keeps pace with the action. If a game is about solving puzzles, you’ll want to downplay noises ancillary to the clues that bring the player closer to success (unless misdirection is a core component of the puzzles, of course).

When it comes to actually making the sounds (and music to a certain degree) my motto is that SFX design (or foley as they say in hollywood) is the act of making the wrong sound into the right one.

So now, I leave you with one of the songs featured in Highway to the Moon: Royal Purple

Until next time Vernacular Faithful

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About Red Coat

Just a Mascot on a Mission
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