“Relevant Games sound team should be applauded. Every sound from the “Yee-hah!” at the beginning of each mission, to UFO’s Twilight Zone-esque tractor beam, to the various tower sounds like the Hormone Tower’s laser “pew-pew-pew” and the Corn Feed tower’s muted machine-gun, or to the hilarious “cha-ching” you hear when your livestock take their last step into the slaughterhouse add great charm to an already charming game.”
On June 20th, 2014 the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced this year’s winners. Among the nominees who took home an award was Flash Bomb Audio’s veteran, sound designer Jeff Hutchins. Taking home Emmy Awards is nothing new for Jeff, this is his 5th Emmy to date!
Jeff won the award for “Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Animation”, for the long running hit television series “SpongeBob SquarePants”. Jeff has been part of SpongeBob’s crew from day one. Many of his own custom field and foley recordings are what make up SpongeBob’s unique and original soundscape. I remember walking by Jeff’s edit suite, back in the late nineties and seeing tracks and tracks of bubbles on his monitors. Of course I would poke my head in and take a listen. Who doesn’t like hearing bubbles, right? There were small and bright sounding bubbles, mixed in with low pitched, slow bubbles. They sounded great as they whooshed by the screen. Jeff’s creative sound effects are a large part of what takes the audience deep below the ocean to Bikini Bottom. Click here to listen to some of Jeff’s work.
Congratulations to Jeff on another win! It is always great seeing a hard working sound designer recognized for his contribution to making a television show great.
On May 21st Shiney Shoe Games released their addicting match 3 mobile game “Puzzle Raiders” in the Apple App store. Doing the sound for this title was an absolute pleasure!
From day one this game was both challenging and rewarding. I had never worked on a match 3 style game before and one thing I noticed after doing some research, is how important the sound was in making a match 3 game feel gratifying. I noticed that many other match 3 games had a musical quality to them, and the sound effects often resembled a slot machine paying out in Vegas. I wanted to create that same type of addicting soundscape that I had heard in some of those other blockbuster match 3 games. The great thing about “Puzzle Raiders” is the art style of the game was very unique, and there were many opportunities for the audio to be one of a kind as well.
For the musical aspects of the sound effects, I dug into many old world instruments on my synths and samplers. I wanted to create the feeling of being on an adventure, in an ancient distant jungle. I also wanted the games archaeological artifacts and environments to feel very tangible and organic. In addition to the sound effects, Jordan Chin’s musical compositions were absolutely fantastic! They created an ancient, epic tone and it was just what “Puzzle Raiders” needed.
But the thing I loved most about “Puzzle Raiders”, is the game is SUPER FUN TO PLAY! I constantly played the game while working on it, and I still play it now. I have beat every level and I am now going back to replay so I can try to get the maximum of three stars on every level. Later on in the levels there are even enemies you get to fight while making your matches! Turn up your sound and you can here me cackling like the evil skeletons or moaning like an un-earthed mummy.
This game has been out for a little while on Android and is rated four out of five stars with lots of reviews. I think Apple’s App Store reviews will be even higher because their was quite a bit of gameplay tuning that was done while the game was was soft launched on Android. I highly suggest downloading this game and playing it! And why wouldn’t you? It is a free to play game!
Marc Mailand is the founder and Audio Director of Flash Bomb Audio LLC – “The Leading Creative Network of Audio Professionals.” He is an Emmy Award Winning Sound Designer. He has worked extensively on AAA titles, and mobile games. He also spent nearly a decade working on top rated television shows, both animated, and live action. If you have any questions for Marc you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
On May 1st, 2014, The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced the 41st Annual Daytime Emmy Award nominees. Two of Flash Bomb Audio’s veteran sound designers were nominated! Both nominees were mentioned in the category of “Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Animation”
Roy Braverman was nominated for his contribution to the Nickelodeon animated show, Monsters Vs Aliens. This is Roy’s 6th Emmy Nomination. Roy is already a three-time, Emmy Award Winning Sound Designer, and Sound Editor.
Jeff Hutchins was nominated for his work on the Nickelodeon Cartoon, SpongeBob SquarePants. This is Jeff’s 7th Emmy Nomination. Jeff is a four time Emmy Award winning Sound Designer, and Sound Editor.
Congratulations to both of the guys on their nominations, and for their many years of excellence in sound!
We are hoping for a tie this year between Roy and Jeff. It may sound like a longshot but it has happened before. In 2005 Roy Braverman, Jeff Hutchins and Eric Freeman each won two Emmy’s in one year! The two shows that each of them won for were competing against each other in the same category. How many times has that happened in Emmy history?
One of the most satisfying aspects of working on audio for mobile games is creating a franchise’s individual sound style. This is often established by the Audio Director/Sound Designer working closely with the creative leads to find just the right balance of sonic elements.
When I started working on “Scrap Squad” I knew right away how I wanted to approach the audio. It was going to be about contrasting the organic sounds of the trash, with the synthetic sounds used for important gameplay moments, such as acquiring bonus points. The organic sound effects are important because they help us establish a believable world.
Since “Scrap Squad” is a game about recycling, the sounds of the trash were very important to get right. I wanted the action of picking up trash to sound gratifying. I wanted you to feel the hollowness of a plastic bottle when you grab it off the conveyor belt. When you dump a newspaper into the Recycle Bot, I wanted the crumple to feel like a slam dunk. I was expecting a lot out of very simple sound elements.
I couldn’t find trash sound effects in my sound libraries that communicated the way I wanted them to. So I decided to record custom sound effects in my studio. In the sound world, this is referred to as recording foley. For “Scrap Squad” I recorded glass, plastic, cardboard, aluminum and paper. I also utilized different shapes, sizes and textures for each element.
The size of an object often affects the pitch and resonance. For example, a large glass object will have a lower pitch, than a small one. For resonance, I need to make sure the object will ring out, sort of like a drum. You’d be surprised, sometimes when you record a real life action, like picking up a can, it often doesn’t sound very good when you play it back. Let’s think about it, imagine how you pick up that empty can. Your hand is pretty much flat across the surface of the can. You don’t grab it hard enough to scrunch it, and your fingers are actually muting the cans resonance, right after the initial grab. However, if I record myself scrunching the middle of the can in a quick and violent action, it sounds great for the can pick-up sound effect!
Sometimes one foley prop doesn’t work by itself and has to be combined with another. As an example, a paper grocery bag that was crumpled sounded thick like I wanted, but also sounded a little too dull. On the flip side, a glossy advertisement inside the newspaper sounded brighter when crumpled, but thin and weak. Mixing the two elements together within Pro-Tools provided me with my Goldilocks moment of feeling “just right”.
There is nothing more important than music when establishing an audio style for a franchise. At the beginning of the project I pulled some temporary music together to get us in the ballpark. This got us close but Josh Mills (Studio Director of Relevant), and the rest of the team really steered us toward the final musical style of “Scrap Squad”.
Describing what you want to hear from a piece of music is really hard to do. Music often communicates in ways that are indescribable, and that is one of the reasons why music is so powerful to us! Most of the time when I work with a creative lead, they have music in their head that they are trying to describe. My job is to translate their ideas into musical terms for the composer. Then the composer does a first pass, we work through this process a few more times, and then finally end up with final tracks. As expected, the composer Boris Salchow knocked the music out of the park!
It was a blast to work with Relevant and Hazard on their first mobile title! I can’t wait to see what they do next!
Marc Mailand is the founder and Audio Director of Flash Bomb Audio LLC – “The Leading Creative Network of Audio Professionals.” He is an Emmy Award Winning Sound Designer. He has worked extensively on AAA titles, and mobile games. He also spent nearly a decade working on top rated television shows, both animated, and live action.
If you have any questions for Marc you can contact him at email@example.com