In a remote office on Social Point’s 6th floor resides the Sound Department. Have you heard of them? If not, now you’ll get the chance to learn a little bit more about them and their specialties: music and sound effects!
The sound department is comprised of Victor Solà y Eduardo Ruiz. They take on the task of designing the audio (SFX and music) for both our games and the Marketing Department.
Creating the sound effects:
The first step in creating SFX (sound effects) is to immerse yourself in other games and references on the market so that you understand the different styles and approaches. The next step, and perhaps the most important, is to write up a nice list of audio assets. This list should include references to everything heard in the game, technical aspects, and the things to take into account when programming the sounds.
In regards to the videos we make for Marketing, we work in a linear fashion, so we must use our imagination to create clear and understandable sounds for everything that could be important for the viewer.
Finally, we get down to the real business of creating and designing the sounds by using libraries, sound layers, effects, and a lot of imagination.
Making the music:
When it comes to making music for the games, we focus on the art style or play the game a bit to get a sense of its mood. Then we try to translate that into music. For the marketing videos, we have meetings with the video team where they let us know what they need and provide suggestions or references to other videos.
There are certain types of videos that follow a format which will be repeated, such as a Premiere Monster. For these, we have put together templates that can be precisely adapted to what we need and only require some small revisions.
Occasionally, we will record with real musicians in a studio. Usually we use digital instruments, however. These days, the quality that many of these instruments can achieve is very close to the actual sound, opening up a wide spectrum of possibilities that were unthinkable just a few years ago.
The evolution of sound in videogames:
The evolution of audio in videogames has always been closely linked to their technical limitations. The first videogames contained very simple audio and couldn’t reproduce more than one sound at a time. These days, however, the technical limitations have reduced to the point that the audio in videogames is on par with what you could hear at the cinema.
In the case of mobile games, there are certain limitations we have to take into account, because we want the user to be able to download the smallest version of the game possible. Therefore, the space that is taken up by the audio files, as well as the other assets, has imposed a limit on the quality and number of archives that we can use. We usually solve this problem by putting part of the audio files in packages that the user can download piece by piece after installing the game.
Step by step, the audio of mobile games has set down the path to achieving top quality and is only a few years away from catching up to the AAA games.
Victor Solà and Edu Ruiz
Audio Engineer & Sound Designers