Using GameSynth at the Global Game Jam ’20
This year, I participated in the Global Game Jam at Sheffield Hallam University, with the theme of “Repair”. I joined up with a team wherein we decided to build a post-apocalyptic robot repair game, where the goal was to reattach parts to solve physics puzzles.
Due to the fast nature of game jams, there is a need to be able to create content without having finalised assets. For example, the sound might need to be produced despite a lack of art assets (meaning restricted creative reference), or incomplete animation cycles (thus being difficult to gauge sound duration). So, it is handy to have tools and workflows which allow for fast iteration on ideas that can evolve alongside the project.
I didn’t have the chance to implement everything completely, so I decided to show off some of the sound types that I found GameSynth’s Particles model to be great for. The game is called Scrappy, and you can find it at the link below:
One of the mechanics we implemented was a trap door which swings open when a button was pressed. Because I didn’t know how long this action would be during the design phase (since it is controlled by Unity’s physics engine, rather than prebaked animation), I created a patch which could be adjusted when the system was fully implemented.
Granular synthesis is a nifty method for quickly chopping up a continuous waveform into smaller pieces, by design. This technique helped in creating the spark sounds which were synchronised with the loose wires around the level. Much like with the trap door, I wasn’t sure how the particle effects would be set up, so being able to quickly render a new sound with a different duration (but the same overall setup) was a great help.
This was more of a creative endeavour, but again granular synthesis helps to solve a problem. Ambience tracks are great, but unless they are recorded bespoke for the project, there is a risk that it might sound familiar. The Particles model helps to randomise the soundscape, as well as to apply some initial processing to the sound.
The second ambience is pretty quiet, but it has a lot of sub-bass energy. Since the mix had a lot of free space in this frequency range (no explosions or the like), I decided to use an industrial-sounding ambient resonance which was quite subby.