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Pre-Production Thoughts on Dish-Pig Dilemma

This week I've been approached by a group of Games Students and asked to help them out with their project, called Dish-Pig Dilemma, by providing Sound Effects and 4 original music tracks. I'll be the only audio person attached to this project officially, according to the contract, however if I need additional help I may have to develop my own sub-contracts and discuss credit inclusion with the game developers. I chose to work on this project for two main reasons, the first was that it was small enough to allow me to accept another small project that I wanted to work on. The second was that the composition style is one that I'm comfortable in, but with enough of a twist to provide a learning challenge.

The game itself is a comical action game in which you play as a messy character resembling a pig who is trying to clean up his act by washing the colossal stack of dirty dishes he's hoarded in his apartment. The game has been compared to other games such as Surgeon Simulator and I am Bread.

Surgeon Simulator

I am Bread

I'm going be using a combination of realistic sound effects and a bouncy but dirty electro-swing soundtrack to compliment the game play and art style.

This track by the Dirty Honkers has been given to me by the game students as a group to be used as a reference track, they feel it displays the right amount of "dirty" and the right tempo. An important thing to remember when receiving reference tracks from people is to make sure to really listen to exactly what it is they're saying about the reference track and always probe for further clarity. For example when they say the word "dirty" I could assume they're talking about the grittiness in the horns, instead of leaving this to chance I asked very specifically if that's what they meant. With this clarity I come away from the meeting with much more information, not just the general stuff that I could find in the game design document. After more probing we decided that lyrics would be a bad idea and to not distract too much from the game play the lead vocals would be better as another less intrusive lead instrument. I suggested a few and we settled on the clarinet or saxophone being suitable alternatives.

I also wanted to note that the words "electro swing" were thrown around a lot although this track to mean sounds very acoustic and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the instruments were recorded so I might take a slightly more realistic approach to the composition. This could be the single most challenging part of the project, if my samples aren't good enough I may have to find a few musicians and try to get some recordings done. I have a general idea of how to write scores and record these instruments but as always there will be problems with attempting something for the first time.

Asset List for Dish-Pig Dilemma

Although the above asset list describes the music as being of highest priority due to time lining issues, I will be holding two recording sessions next week in which I hope to record everything I need for both game projects in terms of sound effects. By the looks of things I'm going to need to bring a selection of kitchen items such as plates, pots, pans and cutlery as well as some thick-bristled brushes in order to get the appropriate sounds for this project. The positive and negative feedback sounds will need some exploration, I'm thinking of using a chime sound effect for positive feedback so that it can sit in a frequency band not occupied heavily by the music which will allow it to poke through and easily reinforce the players actions. I'm positive the challenge in the Sound Design will come from making the visual ques for positive and negative feedback match the audio, I will need to be in communication with the animation team so I know what direction they're thinking of going in so I can be sure to match it with my audio.

Overall, I'm very excited to be working on my first Game project for the year, as many of you may or may not know I'm very interested in working in the games industry, I love all things dynamic and interactive. My first step is to write a few contracts and a production plan so that I know exactly what I'm going to be doing each week. In the past I've had problems with Time Management, Communication and Work Ethic, but this trimester I'm hoping to combine all of my improvements in these areas and stick to my strategies to get the job done right and learn all I can along the way!

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