Ginko Game Audio

In the Sound Design program at VFS I had a chance to collaborate with the game design campus. It was my first venture in designing sounds specific to an interactive environment. My team consisted of Tamer Akgul, Jamie Tolliday and the game design collaborators I worked with were Jennifer Chuu, Lisa Trac and Nick Yonge. The process for sound creation is receiving an Asset List that lists all of the sounds that will be part of the game. It’s extremely helpful to have a look at all the Concept Art that the team provides, as it gives visual details to help create the best complimenting sound. I found the Concept Art helped me think about the physics, emotional context of the character, and the environment I was working on. The game is called Ginko and you play as a furry bouncing creature named Ginkgo, who needs to restore its forest world from decay. Every time you bounce and interact with the environment, you make changes that help advance the story.

Building sounds for a game is very different from the films I do Post-production work on, because I’m working directly with a QuickTime format of the film. When doing Post sound for a film, or animation, I’m working with a copy of the QT, and I create sounds around specific movements, across transitions, and I’m work on perfecting sync at all times. With game sound creation I receive a description of the sound only. I might get names like “World Revival”, “Falling down a mine”, or “Ram charging across a pond.” This is why it’s important to look at as much Concept Art as possible, so that you can visualize what the look and feel of the game is and try to match characters, actions, and environments as best you can.

With only the titles and Concept Art to go by, I would start creating sounds in Pro Tools to come up with what I thought the “World Revival” sound would be. Here is where I would let my imagination fly and start coming up with musical sounds, dry unprocessed SFX, and fantastical heavily processed SFX. It is a chance to layer as many different sounds as needed and process them to create a unique and sonic compliment to the visuals. I made sure that I came up with at least 3, or 4 versions of each sound to send to the Game Team, so that there was a chance for them to try variations. I left it up to them to decide if they wanted the sounds more musical, realistic, or fantastic.

Here is a few examples of the sounds I created for Ginko. Have a listen and let me know what you think:

I’m very excited to say that the game has been nominated for “Best Student Game” at the Canadian Video Game Awards:
http://www.canadianvideogameawards.com/finalists/

You can try out the game for free here at:
http://projects.myvfs.com/games/GD16_Ginkgo/
It is currently only available for the PC format.

I’m currently working on designing sounds for my second game title called Baamboozled.

-John

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