A DEN Postmortem #4 : Diary of the devs

Here is the forth article in a series of 5 devoted to the creation of DEN.

Witten by Nicolas Liauthaud from La mécanique du plastique right after the end of the Ludum Dare #38 Game Jam.

This article is dedicated to the beast creation and the production of the sound effect.

Den postmortem #4 : the beast, the music and the sound effects

One of the numerous precious things on the team (and that we wanted to use fully on Den) is the possibility to integrate music and sound design as a core ingredient of our creation process, thanks to our Hyper8 wizardry.

The beast

The beast is basically a blend of multiples existing animals, a kind of fox mixed with a shrew or a fluffy wolf with orc teeth. We wanted to achieve something thick and dangerous by its size but also soft as a large teddy bear. As we didn’t had time to experiment with soft body physics or skinned meshes, we choose to simply separate its body into independent rigid sprites.

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The scream sound was inspired by the T-rex as we all know it in Jurassic Park. I don’t know if it’s made exactly in that way, but something that seems to work very well was the idea to use a different animal for each frequency. Using deep roarings for low frequencies, like lion’s ones, and looking for high frequency in something like bats or a pigs screams. To polish the sound and the rhythm I also used a tool that I can easily modulate : my own voice. I screamed like a fool in my microphone and down-pitched that, to make it big and monstrous.

The music

You can listen to DEN’s music here

The music needed to emphase the troubling universe of a confined cave, so we built a specific reverb/delay system to create a meaningful echo that have been used for most of the rhythmic elements. Delays and reverbs repeat and spread only the low frequencies, so every time a sound is being heard again he vanishes a bit more into its dark side. It must be a classic recipe of sound treatment in an OST, but it worked very well here !

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Keyboard notes and some other sound highlight the dark ambiance. A didgeridoo is used all over the track to bring some more mystery, and resonate with the tribal percussions used in the beat. Some kind of scratching sounds are also bouncing between the right and left channel all along. Note that I was trying to make discreet unsettling screams in the background using lion’s roaring, but it became scratching sounds by accident. A lion’s roaring so fucked up by a chain of treatment that it looks like something scratching on the ground and causing some falling rocks.

The music and the 56 sound effects have been made in the middle of everyone, using one of my dying -but most transportable- keyboard, and integrated without so mutch hastle.

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As the music was one of the first thing finalized in this few days, we’ve all been able to work on drawings, animations, integration and code with the music flowing in our ears and inspiring our hands.

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