A Harmonious Collaboration

Happy Monday! My name is Maria, and I’m one of the programmers of Turnip Town. Today, I’m writing about the game’s audio design and implementation.

Back in September when our game design team was still considering two different game ideas, we had to prepare extensive presentations to pitch our ideas. As a part of the Umbrella Mondays pitch, I created a list of musical characteristics that would guide the creation of music assets, including both music and sound effects.

After we chose Umbrella Mondays, I further developed this document and called it the “Audio Style Guide.” Some of the core ideas that drive the audio in Umbrella Mondays are that it is therapeutic, relaxing, has melody, and is meant to be encouraging to the player. As a musician myself, I was able to define detailed characteristics regarding melody, texture, harmony, rhythm, and timbre of the intended music design.

In January, our professor contacted Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, with the hope of starting a collaboration between our class and their composition students. Long story short, two fantastic video game music composition students joined our team! Their names are Courtney and Lisa.

As self-proclaimed Audio Lead for Umbrella Mondays, I created other documents to help our collaboration this semester: an asset list of all sound effects (SFX) and music tracks, and–most importantly–a detailed spreadsheet of all the asset descriptions, organized into categories. This spreadsheet also serves as our progress tracker and a way to figure out what assets have higher priority over others.

Audio Dev Log - Spreadsheet Asset Tracker (2) 2018-4-9
The Audio Asset Descriptions & Progress Tracker Spreadsheet! (Yes, there’s a lot going on…)

During weekly Skype calls with the two Berklee composers, myself, and our Design Lead, we discuss what various SFX and music tracks should sound like, give feedback to Lisa and Courtney about assets they create, and talk about how to implement audio into the game. So far, every meeting has gone well and I am continuously impressed with their enthusiasm and quick turnaround for asset creation.

A couple weeks ago, I attended the Game Developers Conference and had the privilege of meeting a few other audio programmers and composers. It was great to talk with them about implementing music and sound effects in games, which is what I will be working on until the end of the semester!

audioSphere
The little floating speaker is what audio sources look like in the Unity game engine

For all those fellow college students reading our blog nearing the end of another semester, keep going! We can do it! Enjoy the rest of your week!

-Maria

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