sound blog

What I’ve Learned As Audio Director for BunnyGun

My start as an Audio Director for BunnyGun has been a very rewarding experience. It has given me the opportunity to showcase my music in a way that 4 years ago I had never even thought of. Back before D.A.W’s (digital audio workstation) existed or became mainstream, the best way to record your music was to use a four track recorder. I owned a Tascam 4 track recorder, a BOSS Dr. Grove  dr-212, beat machine, a series 10 flying v guitar, and a knock off analog microphone. As rudimentary as this sounds today, at the time i thought i was going to be the next big thing, and using a 4 track was the best way for an amateur musician to record music. But as computers started to make their way into every household, so began the rise of the D.A.W’s. I will never forget the first time i downloaded the sample version of Image Line’s Fruity Loops (AKA Fl Studio). At the time it was only a step sequencer and was only capable of making drum loops (hence the name Fruity Loops), but over time it has become the complete desktop studio. Over the years i have dabbled off and on with FL Studio, learning new tricks, and capabilities with each new update. For me composing techno and hip-hop on FL Studio was like a duck taking to water. It was easy to do, and extremely enjoyable. Over the years i have come to the realization that your music is only as good as your V.S.T plugins (Virtual Studio Technology (VST) is a software interface that integrates software audio synthesizer  and effect plugins with audio editors and recording systems. VST and similar technologies use digital signal processing to simulate traditional recording studio hardware in software). The crux of this is that good plugins cost money, and you can never have to many plugins. Once you get your D.A.W to your liking, the fun can now begin.

The first thing you need to keep in mind while making music on FL Studio, Garage Band, Abelton Live etc, is to have fun. There is a lot to learn and it can be overwhelming. There is nothing more rewarding then putting in a few hours on a song and having the feeling of real accomplishment. The second piece of advice i would give is to let the music make its self. Sometimes, if not most, simpler is better, don’t over complicate things, i try to follow the K.I.S.S model, Keep It Simple, Stupid. Its easy to keep adding more sounds, patterns, effects, but difficult to take a step back and ask yourself “do i really need that extra snare? Do i really need that extra pattern?” Most often than not the answer is no.

When it comes to sound, unless you have access to a Foley studio your best bet is to download the audio files from a reputable website. I like to use Audio Jungle, Sound Snap, and Pond5. Each has its advantages, but make sure that if your using files bought from a website that you read each license agreement, some sites don’t allow you to use their sounds in “for sale” projects, while most will allow it but, you can only use it once. When it comes to applying sound to a certain object in a project keep in mind that there is more than one way to skin a cat. In our latest project Sea Shell Scuttle, we wanted  a sound for the claws closing on a sea shell. I searched for things like crab claw click or crunch, claw closing etc. I finally settled with a file i believed was named lobster claw crunch. We dropped it into the project and BAM! it worked. But the more i listened to it i realized that it wasn’t the sound of a crab claw closing, but the sound of the claw being crunched by a hammer. Hey, it worked, and even drew a few laughs the last time we demo’d the game. It would be nice to have a sound studio where you could make your own sounds. But if you lack the funds, time, space, or know how, using these sites can get you started and on your way.

Author Info

Rob Smith

Rob Smith, Audio Director of BunnyGun Games.