Would You Like Some SFX With That?

Hello fellow BIT.TRIPpers! (BIT.TRIPsters?) My name is Camellia Boutros, and I’m the audio programmer and one of the Sound Designers for Runner3! It’s great to finally meet you. I’ve been wondering when we’d finally come face to face :} 

My job is to guzzle coffee to drown out the insanity that sets in after hours and hours of listening to the same SFX and musical blips on repeat. If I’m doing my job correctly, you won’t be playing the game and saying to yourself, “Wow, the sound designer did a really great job with that wild and artistic sound effect!” -- actually, you probably wouldn’t say anything because you’d be so immersed in this wildly wacky and musical game (and its soundscape) to take too much notice of individual sounds.

Well, apart from the war-cry of Sir Strömming’s brethren. You’d notice that. 

This is my first devlog , so I have a lot of geeking out to catch up on. As a musician and certified music theory nerd, I’ve thrown a cluster of cool little audio tricks into the game. For one, the rocket vehicle SFX, which sounds like it’s constantly accelerating and rising in pitch, is actually just a short little looping audio clip of a Shepard’s tone. It’s all an (auditory) illusion, invented by Roger Shephard and famously used by James Tenney. These guys realized that if you stack a bunch of sine waves just right, they’ll trick your ear into thinking you’re hearing one sound getting higher and higher… forever.

Another nifty bit of audio magic is programming musical notes in-game to fit with the music and changing game environment, and to do so in a way that is random, so that another unique layer of Matt Harwood’s compositions is added when you, the player, run through the game and collect items. For example, Mike Roska and I worked on making it so that when you climb up a sequence of steps or descend down a gem-laden path, you’ll trigger musical notes that get higher or lower in pitch in response to how the player is moving, but will still be a random sequence. To do that I had to use some old school calculus -- my high school math teacher would be proud, and pretty surprised. 

And there’s plenty more where that came from! Maybe next time I’ll upload my super top-secret totally danceable remix of BIT.TRIP SFX… 

- Cam