A gathering of great minds: on GDC and the travellers blues.

Well then. I finally had some time to sit down and reflect upon everything that has been happening over the last few weeks, which is quite a bit...Let me start by saying that these have been some of the most amazing weeks of the last few years.

In no order of importance:
-Landfall was released
-Term1nal was announced
-I've visited the GDC and met some amazing people
-I swung by Los Angeles for a visit to Formosa Interactive
-I came back to Force Field finding out I'm starting on not one but two amazing new projects

So, let's talk about GDC first.
The Game Developers Conference is a yearly event in the magical city of San Francisco that draws everyone who is someone or wants to be someone in the games industry, to a 5-day event that consists of lectures during the day and total debauchery during the night.
It was without a doubt one of the most fun experiences I've ever had in a professional context, and I am sad that I didn't go there sooner.
I think the word "festival" or "celebration"  is a better description for this event than "convention".

Granted, it's pricey (even more so if you're from a developing country -check out Rami Ismael's excellent take on that) but in my opinion more than worth it.

Here's what I got out of it:
First of all I was able to (re)connect with some fantastic people such as Niels van der Leest, Jamie Bell, Derek Brown of Soundbytes, and one of my personal heroes Matthew Marteinsson, whose talk about imposter syndrome on the Tonebenders podcast has helped me to properly reflect on my own issues and insecurities, for which I personally thanked him a few weeks ago.

I witnessed talks from cutting-edge audio professionals like Paul Weir, Inon Zur, and the Dice audio guys -people who never fail to inspire me with their creative solutions and inspiring, ahead-of-the-curve take on things.
Ironically, one of the biggest take-aways from these lectures and through talking to some of these folks, is that my own perspective on things doesn't seem to differ that much from theirs, which has given me a huge confidence boost and has given me the re-assurance that I am on the right path in becoming better at my craft.
Working as an isolated audio person can sometimes gnaw away at your self-security and deflate your ego to the extent you start to wonder if there's any need for you to do your work at all. Did I mention imposter syndrome already? Oh that's right, I did.
Anyway, it has totally reinvigorated my love for this craft and the people in it.

In terms of information I was incredibly impressed with Paul Weirs talk on the vocal sound design for No Man's Sky. One could argue it wasn't really "sound design" in the classical sense of the word, in that their physical modelling concept set the constraints for sound to automatically come into existence based on parameters and variables presented by the game.
It was one of the many talks I witnessed that has proven to me once again that -due to the advent of VR and thus the new influx of capital and subsequent development of more computational force- we are moving into a new era of game development and with that game audio.
If you want to know more, check out this Youtube video where Paul explains the details.

Another great talk was Inon Zur's jam on the theme to Fallout 4 -one of my favorite scores of the last few years. Inon spoke about collecting items arond the house and recording them in unconventional ways, using objects as instruments, or using instruments in ways they're not intended for, all in order to create a soundscape that felt as disengaging and ambigious as Fallout's world is graphically. I literally walked out of that lecture with inspiration oozing out of my ears. 
Well, not literally, but you get the point.

Travelling with Niels, my partner in crime for a few days while coming to grips with the east coast city that's on the west coast (a.k.a San Francisco), was equally as fun. Rarely have I had such fun with a (near) total stranger, and my experience was highly elevated by hanging out with such great company. Also, the fantastic food SF has to offer helped that experience (Umami Burger!), and I'm sure we both gained 5 kilo's (9 pounds, yankee) during our many adventures.

After a short stay in Los Angeles where I visited my friend Paul at the fantastic Formosa Interactive (more on that soon perhaps), I came back to Force Field with a slight feeling of travellers blues, paired with a feeling of impending doom knowing I might have to put out some fires and perhaps start a few of my own. 
Luckily that was only mildly the case and I was truly and happily amazed at what I found when I came back: a group of people relieved by a succesfull launch of Landfall, a team vigorously pushing through production on Term1nal with great creative force, and 2 teams starting up new projects of which I'm proud to say Im going to be a part of.

There is something strange about starting a new project as an in-house audio person at a games company. It's a dualistic experience, made up of a sometimes unsettling feeling of impending doom on one side knowing the producer-demon is out and about, and a glorious, tickling, inspiring jab at the heart of that blank canvas that is asking to be coloured in with all the fresh and exciting ideas you have, on the other side.
I guess, as with anything in our craft, it's a balancing act between resource management and creative fun. It's a carroussel ride of wanting to make great stuff and then having to temper that expectation, after which the cycle starts again.
It's a sidechain compressor where the compressed signal is creativity and the sideschain signal is money, and the ratio is set really high. Okay, that's an audio nerd joke. I should stop here.

I guess the bottom line -and my main take-away from GDC- is that it is the same everywhere. We all deal with creative frustration and middle management. Whether you make great stuff or not is whether you let that get to you.

Until next time!

R.

Redeemer, Landfall, and a whole bunch of GDC scheduling

So, one last blog post before I wrap up the work and start packing my suitcase for GDC!

First things first:

I'm proud to announce Arjen & myself have been picked to do the Sound Design for Gambitious' & Sobaka's "Redeemer".
Production is well under way so the studio is a mess with fucked up fruit and vegetables and torn pillows. Check out the trailer we did,, and stay tuned for updates.

Besides Redeemer, Arjen and I have been grinding out sounds for David Smit's Pippi Pilots -my first game that I'm doing a score for (yay!), Monkube's Think Twice, and Force Field VR has kept me busy with the wrap-up of Landfall.
On top of that I've been supervising the audio production (and sound designing the trailer) of a yet to be announced game by Force Field that I'm extremely excited about. If all goes according to plan it will be unveiled at Oculus' off-GDC event in San Francisco.

Busy times, but that's how I like it!

If anyone wants to hook up with me at GDC and talk nerd, drop me a line and we'll set something up!

R.

A well overdue update

Woooweee, it's been a hot few months. Where to start??

The last time I added to my journal we we're enjoying the warm March months, our team had recently won an award for Halo: Spartan Strike, and I was about to embark on a journey that would take me through no less than four projects. 
Man, a lot has happened since then...

Early March I started doing some sound design work for the awesome folks over at Massive Music. I provided SFX for a series of Audi web commercials, and created a bunch of interface sounds for the KLM iFly website.
March also saw the production kickoff for Landfall, a game I had been working on in some capacity since the end of 2015. Landfall is a VR game developed by ForceFIeldVR for Oculus, Studios in which the player controls a battlefield from a third- and first-person perspective. It's single- and multiplayer and ridiculously fun. 
I'll write up an in-depth report on how I approached integration for this project as soon as it has launched, early 2017.

In August I participated in creating a vertical slice for a mobile title called Think Twice. An ambitious project by Belgian studio Monkube.
Monkube is based in Molenbeek, the renowned Brussels suburb that was the home to some of the terrorists that were involved in the Brussels/Zaventem bombings.
“Think Twice” is Monkube's  attempt to allow people from his community to restore some of the misconceptions one might have of by allowing them to build a level, share it, and send a positive message in to the world through a highly fun and addictive game (believe me, I’ve played it).
I personally feel this is a wonderful way of applying the medium of “games” and suspect it is a much more potent method than just another website or organization trying to change the world by asking for donations.


So, what's next, you ask? More games, I say!

  • I'm currently supervising another VR title for ForceFieldVR which will be announced mid-2017
  • Think Twice will enter production early 2017
  • Landfall needs to be wrapped up
  • I've taken on duties as Lead Sound Designer for Resistance & Liberation, which will see its vertical slice released somewhere along 2017
  • I'm slowly building up my first Sound Library (more on which soon)

    And last but not least: I'll be attending GDC 2017! I like beer so you'll know where to find me.

    Cheers,

R.

Halo: Spartan Strike WINS G.A.N.G. Award 2016!

I’m proud to announce the collaborative effort between Microsoft’s audio team and myself over at Vanguard for Halo: Spartan Strike has been awarded with a G.A.N.G. Award for "Best Handheld Audio"!

I was entirely responsible for integration and, together with Audio Director Paul Lipson, iterated heavily on each asset created by the very talented team over at Central Media to make it a believable and entertaining sonic world.

I’m ridiculously happy and honored to have been part of a team that’s this talented, and award winning no less!

Halo: Spartan Strike nominated for "Best Handheld Audio" at 2016 G.A.N.G Awards!

I'm proud to announce our game Halo: Spartan Strike is nominated for Best Handheld Audio at the prestigious annual G.A.N.G. Awards.

G.A.N.G., or the "Game Audio Network Guild" is an global network of audio professionals dedicated to promote and improve game audio. As such they host a yearly event in which the industry awards their own, much like the Academy Awards.

To be nominated again (our previous nomination was for Spartan Strikes predecessor Spartan Assault, which was nominated for Best Handheld Music) is an amazing honor and working with the folks over at 343 was -again- an absolute delight.

Here's to winning it!


A walk in the woods

I took a stroll down to one of Holland's most beautiful National Parks Zuid-Kennemerland, to record a bit of outside ambience I needed for an animation I'm working on.

I was specifically looking for wind rushing through leafs of deciduous trees which, considering it is winter, wasn't the easiest task. I did get some fantastic bird sounds and even managed to record some awesome galloping hoofs from the horses being let out in that area.

I also have to credit my good friend Harry van Mierloo who tagged along and took some great shots of what turned out to be a gorgeous winter's day!