During the project, we faced difficult situations… it’s always a challenge to get the game as perfect as you want without going over schedule and over budget, which typically amounts to the same thing. One of the most difficult things the SMR team faced was having to choose which aspect of the game got the least resources dedicated to it: the “winner” was audio engineering, ak.a. sound effects and music. Hunter S. Thompson used to say “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” We took this to heart and instead of trying to find a way to get an audio engineer to work for free (we don’t have one in-house), we did the audio ourselves.
Production-quality audio files (.wavs or .mp3’s or whatever) need to be licensed from their talented creators. We managed to make the in-game audio entirely by ourselves, with our own internal talent. All those voices of stick men yelling “help” or “thank you” or “aaaaaahhhh” are just recordings of my wife, my kids and me that were sped up using “Audacity.” (available here: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) Yep, this is the same process as the one used to create voices for Alvin and the Chipmunks but hopefully way less annoying.
Hindsight is 20/20. A video camera really should have been pointed at my wife during the recording sessions. The faces and hand gestures she made in front of that microphone were prime YouTube material, or at least fodder for some serious blackmail. Alas, an opportunity lost. Recording sessions with friends and family = great video potential, especially if the camera is hidden.
At this point we were getting very close to finishing the game. More on that last mile next time.
Howard Lehr, Director of Game Design