Explosions! We were asked to create the sound design and a small amount of music for Honeyslug’s ‘explode em up’. Most of our job here was to create dynamic, layered explosions that could trigger almost constantly and not become too overwhelming or sound repetitive. The other half of the job was comprised of sourcing and recording voice acting for each of the 30 plus animal characters.
We decided the best way to break up the explosion effects would be to divide them into layers of intensity and type. Pretty much everything in the game explodes, from tiny blades of grass to parked cars and concession stands. This meant the range of loudness had to be huge along with different materials involved depending on the subject of the explosion. The categories are: Pop, small, medium, big, meaty. We even created extra sounds for the randomised tendrils of smoke which were sometimes triggered on a large explosion. The explosions were then paired with debris sounds which indicated the kind of material involved in the explosion. We tried to record much of the source material ourselves. We smashed glass, wood and rocks in Dan’s back garden and recorded shotguns at a gun range. Unfortunately we couldn’t get access to any high explosives!
In total Super Exploding Zoo boasts 33 animal characters and 4 varieties of alien enemies. The animals are broken down into 4 categories that had unique actions. We were asked to create a distinct character for each of the animals. We decided anthropomorphising them by using human voices to create the characters would be the most effective way to confront this. So we began calling in voice actors to put their personality onto the animals. Each animal has a list of actions: wake, activate, explode and a special action. Each type of sound has several variations which are then further modified via random pitching in the implementation phase. It was quite the task wrangling 10 voice actors and getting them to imagine what the sound of an exploding, anthropomorphised hippo or meerkat might sound like! The alien enemies were also all human, created using a vocal transformer and lots of slurping and gurgling voice acting.
The level environments in Super Exploding Zoo are quite full and many feature the kind of things you’d see at a fairground or theme park (arcade machines, tiki torches, portapotties!) We created the ambient sounds for these items including the sound of them being destroyed.
We also did a small amount of music for the game which included the themes for postcard viewer and some looping music for environmental sounds. We also created the win and lose jingles and all of the unlock and secret pick ups. These were all in the style of the rest of the game’s music, being quite tropical and woody sounding; lots of marimbas and flutes along with samba beats. This was also the same palette of sound we used for the GUI design.
Client — HoneySlug
Our Roles — Sound Design
Production Time — 2014-2015
Launch Date — June 2015
Platforms — PS4, PS Vita