In this edition of our bi-weekly developer interview, we took the time to sit down and chat with the lead sound designer for Galaxy in Turmoil: Dmitry Kazhamiakin.
(Pictured above: Dmitry)
Hello there, take a moment to introduce yourself.
Hello! My name is Dmitry but I go by the name of BlitherPaladin. I have been doing sound design for 4 years now. I used to hop on and off various projects before I joined Frontwire Studios. This is the longest time I’ve spent at a single company yet.
So Dmitry, what is your previous experience in the game development industry?
Lambda Wars is one game, the rest I can’t disclose. As I said, I’ve worked on several projects. Some of them are well known, some are not. Sometimes I get called in for minor assistance work such as direction or some other technical stuff.
There are a lot of misconceptions regarding the role of sound designers in game development, let’s dispel some of them by walking through your workflow.
Oh, yeah. The biggest misconception is people confusing sound design with musical composition. I always get bombarded with questions from people about music, only to shatter their reality by explaining to them that I can’t really help them and that they have to go to a different guy. In our case, that would be Dallas Crane, who is in charge of the music in our company. There are very few shared elements between the two departments.
Sound design covers a large variety of things – it can be anything ranging from the sounds of a game’s launcher on the desktop to voice-over editing, however the prime focus is Foley and digital sound creation. Foley is our favorite, where we make sounds out of everyday objects and then mix them digitally, although sometimes, a sound effect can be done entirely digitally.
Also, there are two roles in sound production. Sound Designers and Sound Engineers. The former focuses on making the sounds whilst the latter implements them into the game or engine.
You said you do Foley, which is where you create sounds out of everyday objects. How different are the objects you use to make a certain sound from what the final sound effect is supposed to represent?
Well… Think of it this way. To make a generic laser sound, you need a styrofoam cup and a metallic slinky. I don’t think I need a research lab to create my own laser sounds if I can get everything I need from the local supermarket.
Where do you get your ideas for sound effects from?
To answer this question better, I have to point out that sound designers often tend to work quite closely to animators. Generally, we see the animations they make first. After that, we get to create sounds that fit those animations. That’s usually where I get my ideas from.
Some sound designers talk about how they have an area of expertise, such as weapon or vehicle sounds. What would you say yours is?
I’d say mine is voice-over editing. Partly because I’m too lazy to do Foley, but mostly because being a department head causes you to sit down all day, worrying about scheduling everything and arranging sounds. Perhaps even checking those sounds for errors and fixing bit rates if need be.
What software/hardware do you find yourself working with?
I use Fl Studio 12 and AVS Audio Editor. Also VoiceMeter, which is useful for voice-over work.
How do you try to bring immersion into the game with the sound effects?
Not sure, really. If it clicks, it clicks. If it doesn’t, then we scrap the sound effect.
What’s the best and worst part of being a sound designer?
The best part is that you don’t have to worry about the engine too much. That’s the job of the engineers and the coders. The worst part is being on the lower end of the “food chain”. You often have to double your efforts if another department is falling behind. Like getting animations in late.
What would you cite as the greatest example of audio in a game?
The Halo 2 carbine, Crysis weapon reloading sounds and the Battlefront 2 pickup sounds are some that I thought of off the top of my head.
Did anyone ever look at you like you were an insane man when you were making strange noises using a microphone and a few objects?
Kind of. When I used to do Foley, people often looked at me weird when I went out into the city to record ambient sounds.
Is there any sound effect that you or your team have made for Galaxy in Turmoil that will always stay with you?
There’s this vehicle startup sound that we’ve created. A member of my team produced it and they refuse to tell me their secrets. I guess everyone has their own magic wand.
And to finish on a light hearted note, why don’t you tell us about the single most embarrassing moment of your life.
Well, I once told a girl I loved her… while her boyfriend was sitting next to her.