Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sound Design: Scurvy

Oh Scurvy, this little red crab will always have a special place in my gamer heart. Undoubtedly the cutest game I've ever worked on. When editing this video together I debated that perhaps I was showcasing too much of the menus, but really, that's where the main character really establishes himself. The little pitter patter of him walking from screen to screen during the menus, the quips he says in regards to the choices you make... It really sets the tone for the game.

This game was the first (and to date, only) I've done underwater recording for. I decided to use one of my SM57s and a cable I didn't care too much about just in case something fried (which they both did, in fact). I used a non-lubricated condom to sheath the mic and hopefully still allow it to pick up as much signal as possible. Sealed the connection between mic and cable with more duct tape than you could shake a stick at and went to it. I had 3 different water tubs set up, 1 small tupperware storage bin, 1 large tupperware storage bin and the bathtub. To create the swinging sounds I tried a few different approaches. First I moved the mic back and forth slowly through each tub, secondly I used a multitude of wooden dowels, moving those through the tubs while keeping the mic stationary (which by the way, those came out a bit better in my opinion. Far less handling noise). Then there was plenty of just general splashing and slopping around, cause with that much water and a recording set up... why not!? :)

The metallic sound for scurvy's claws interaction with swingable objects was a layering of many different pieces of my drum hardware. Cymbal stands, rack mount clamps, broken cymbal impacts. You name it, we bashed them around. In the end the sound for that distinct "sha-tink" ended up being a pearl rack mount clamp closing rapidly, layered with another small piece of hardware sliding along a metal ladder. This game really helped me in approaching the idea that ANYTHING can be a foley prop, you just have to have enough creative juice and experiment with performing with the prop.

The dialog for the main character, Scurvy, was voiced by one of the programmers, Jon Rebar. Initially the voice for the character was intended to be much lower/less energetic. Seeing the game in action, knowing the art style and just a bit of a hunch I decided to direct him in a much more upbeat way, tried to make all of the performances much more over the top. All in all I think we had some 300 lines of dialog/vocal sounds for the various actions and interactions in the game.

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