A Sound Affect

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If we weren’t in crunch time before, we sure are now. It’s good to know that we really only have a couple weeks left before IGF, but it also feels like any energy spent not thinking about the game at this point is somewhat wasted. Of course, there needs to be balance in everything, especially under the kind of pressure we’re feeling right now. If you push people too much in one direction, they start to bend or break, and that can cause irreparable damage to relationships and to a team, ultimately making a project worse than it could have been. My team and I have been really lucky so far; we’ve had hardly any drama and we all like each other for the most part. If we can just get through IGF without killing each other I think we’ll be a lot stronger for it.

My work from the past two weeks has mostly been about sound effects, and I’ve been enjoying that. I’m mainly pulling sounds from FreeSound.org, but I’ve also used freeSFX and my own BFXR creations. I didn’t anticipate having to worry about licensing where sound was concerned, but it turns out that anything used for any kind of gain, not just financial, can fall under commercial use. Thus I’ve had to make absolutely sure that the sounds I pick can be used commercially and that I keep track of both where I got the sounds from and who made them. I know there’s a slim chance that we would get sued for using a noncommercial sound or not attributing a creator, but I really don’t want that to be the reason our game fails. At any rate, it’s been fun for me to dive into this stuff and I’m a better producer/sound guy for it. Our composer, Caleb Blood, has continued to produce excellent tracks for our music and I could not be happier with how our collaboration has turned out so far. If nothing else, the IGF judges will be impressed by our soundtrack. Once again, I really like being able to facilitate work between my team and an artist who comes from a similar background to myself.

Lastly, I want to talk a little about my own peer review. I’m happy to say that it sounds like my team likes me and thinks I’m doing a good job. I wasn’t really sure what to expect because, as a producer, it sometimes feels like you’re contributing in much smaller ways than the engineers or artists. I genuinely try to do my best though in whatever capacity I can, and that’s paid off throughout my time in EAE. I’m leaning more and more towards sound and design in my work and that’s grown more rewarding throughout. I’m still not at the point where I can create something out of whole cloth and implement it directly into the game, at least not in Unity, but I’m working towards that. I really enjoy discussing design aspects with the team too, and I want to continue to improve in that area.

The only real concern I received was about my ability to appear enthusiastic about the work I’m presenting. Personally, that’s always been a challenge for me and is the primary reason I’ve never been a great public speaker. As an introvert, putting forth that kind of energy is especially draining and I’ve only really been able to conjure it up in interactions with my immediate family, my closest friends, and my significant others. Revealing that part of myself to a crowd of my peers is still a major challenge for me and I’m acutely aware of that fact. I know I have the capacity to be funny and to talk about things in an intelligent, accessible way, though, so I think I can work with that in being a better presenter, both for large crowds and for a small group of people. My experience as a podcaster, streamer, and Let’s Player has contributed to the public speaking skills I do possess now, so I’m really glad I decided to pursue those hobbies. Even now, I’m finding a couple hours a week to stream and work on my YouTube channel, and that’s helped to keep me grounded during these stressful times. My gut says being a good presenter really just comes with practice, so seeking out more and more opportunities to put myself on the spot will only help me.

Well, that’s about all for this post. Fall break is coming up this week, but most of us will just use that extra time to work in the lab. Our real break will come after we submit to IGF, and I know we all can’t wait for that. Mostly, I’m eager to see what the larger world of indie games has to say about our creation and how we rank up compared to the hundreds of other submissions. See you on the next level!


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