Bringing a Guitar to a Gunfight

This week our sound guy Ville Kentala has the stage giving little insight how was it to create the music and effects for Triplane: Furball! :)

Creating the music and sounds for Triplane: Furball has been an interesting challenge so far. Before this game I had only done actual audio work for one school project, though I do have about 10 years of experience in composing music.

 

The Music

 

Previous to any such projects, my musical career was mostly me creating a huge amount of songs randing from ballads to techno to death metal. I have also occasionally gigged with a couple of bands, but nowadays most of my musical inspiration goes into my personal (fairly heavy-themed) project, Spit It Back. Musically the war-related themes are something I have been interested in ever since I played Battlefield 1942 by Electronic Arts. However, for long I felt like I didn’t have the abilities to compose and arrange something decent with classical instruments since I don’t really play any of them well. But creating the music for Triplane: Furball has really given me confidence in this are as well.

I started seeking inspiration from both the links Antti and Iiro sent me, and from various sources of my own. The main goal was (and is) to create something that would meet their requirements (Antti: “We were looking the feel of the original but so that it looked like ours.. not an easy goal to manage!) as accurately as possible. The end results seems to be an interesting combination of fairly serious war themes combined with simpler and maybe more upbeat feel of especially some lighter war games.

From what I know, most composers tend to mainly utilize keyboards when they’re trying to create the melodies. The great thing is that I do have an electric keyboard at home, and it has plenty of upsides: You never have to tune it, it has many different sounds to choose from and you can directly record whatever you’re playing into a MIDI format. And if I was a smarter man, I would have used it instead of my guitar.

The songs were created using mostly open source tools. When I composed the melodic parts for various instruments, I had my guitar in my lap and a tablature editor called TuxGuitar open in front of me. The huge advantage of the editor is the possibility to listen to the tablatures you’ve written down, and it even supports listening to multiple (different) instruments at the same time. These compositions could then be turned into a MIDI file that could be used in a digital audio workstation called LMMS. In this piece of software I could both change the instrument sounds into higher quality ones and mix the whole song. The actual instruments in the songs came from free VST instrument plugins.

 

The Sound

 

Living in Finland, it is not all that easy to get your hands on firearms, especially heavy-duty ones. Therefore recording the actual sounds of, for example, a machine gun were completely out of the question. Luckily I did find some online guides for how to create some gun and explosions sounds with relative ease. The guides were not completely satisfactory, so the majority of the sounds were the result of a lot of trial and error.

Again, I went with an open source alternative, Audacity, to edit and mix the recorded sounds. I utilized equipment and methods such as an airsoft pistol, popping a balloon, slapping my hands, hitting my belt buckle with a fork and destroying an oriental hand fan to name a few. Also, my own mouth was put to good use, and after HOURS of mixing, pitch shifting and distorting stuff, I felt like some sounds actually resembled weapons and explosions. Some of this recording work was done in an office setting, so I did receive a couple of either scared or worried glances from time to time.

 

Afterwords

 

All in all, creating all the audio stuff for Triplane: Furball has been a challenge and a huge learning experience. I cannot properly express how it feels to hear your own compositions and sounds in the actual game. But it is both confusing and gratifying at the same time, I guess. And the actual game is fun as hell, and now I’m off to play some Skirmish in the demo! – which was just released at itch.io! https://mansikkamarmeladi.itch.io/triplane-furball

 

– Ville Kentala

 

Thanks a lot Ville for writing this and also for creating the awesome soundtrack for Triplane! :) You can find Ville from twitter and linkedIn .

Next week is the much awaited (and needed) christmas holiday and you’ll only find a photo of our christmas tree here :) We will also be enjoying the holidays and celebrating the launch of our demo and take a little break from working the game. We need to commit our selves fully for eating ham and christmas chocolates! Not to forget drinking spiced glögi! ..which I already started few weeks ago in the office… :D

The week after that will be the last one the year and a good time to get ready for the upcoming new year! We’ll take a look at our soon-to-be-released trailer and set a day for the launch of the full game! So check back here before the year ends as we have some news for you!

Hyvää Joulua! Happy holidays!

– Antti

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.