Aija Alsina


Sound design and music -
Game level
Abandoned Hospital,
(2017)

My purpose of this project was to create a soundscape that would bring the given game level to life. Some sounds are used purely as diegetic as a reply to the visuals, e.g. elevator door squeak, lights flickering and water dripping in the bathroom, while the rest have more non-diegetic purpose.

Drone

The main sonic field comes from a low drone sound which is used as 2D sound in the game and loops indefinitely as long as the game is on. I have composed it from scratch using five Logic's built-in instruments and trying to give it a dark, mysterious, spooky vibe.

Melody

I composed a high pitch piano track for this game level, which would contrast the low drone sound. At first, I thought I would use it as a 2D sound just as the drone throughout the whole game level. But then I decided it would be more interesting if the piano sequences unfolded themselves unpredictably, as the player moves and explores the area. I have implemented the piano sequences in the game in a way that, as the player starts walking along the corridor he hears at first spare piano sequences that develop further from simple passages to more rich patterns as he progresses into the game, and secondly, they change their tone timbre gradually shifting from classical piano to the sound of a toy piano. For these sounds, triggered audio feature is being used. At the end of the corridor, we hear the same melody is now played like on a musical-box and this time it's looping, marking the end of a passage and enhancing the creepiness of the space reflected through the child-like melody and a child's voice in one of the rooms.

I wanted to avoid the issue that the piano melody would only play if the player is moving through the level in one direction, say, if he turned around and moved back it would be just the drone sound with no piano melody. Therefore for triggered audio elements “play once only” is un-ticked, with exceptions of 1) operating room - where the piano melody is looped so no need to trigger it each time; 2) the trigger at the bathroom entrance because it is longer (8 bars instead of 4) and there is a higher risk it would overlap with itself when entering and exiting the room quickly.

Operation room

For this room I have used a contrasting audio from the rest of the game. Firstly, there are two different but synchronised rhythmical audio loops, one of which has a pulse of higher frequencies that creates a sense of anticipation. Secondly, both doors of the room trigger a piano motif which is derived from the main theme, but this time is more upbeat and dynamic, depicting an action and movement forward.

Elevator

The sound for the elevator was obtained from a recording of a squeaky door in Freesound.org (juskiddink), then EQ'd and edited the length to match the frequency of the elevator door movement.

Flickering light

The audio for seven flickering lamps were obtained by editing a single file from Freesound.org (scotchio) and creating seven audio files from it, different in length and pattern. They were placed as 3D sound elements near/just below the lamp which is flickering.

Water drops

The audio of a water drops in the bathroom is my recording of a water dripping in a bowl of water. The 3D sound element was placed in one of the sinks and acts as a diegetic sound with sound spread 0, so that the player can exactly locate the sink where the sound is coming from.

Baby

I wanted to add a baby voice to enhance the spookiness of this place and to complement the choice of instrumentation as described above. It’s my own recording of my baby, with added reverb and delay.

Screams

I created this sound in Logic as I felt the large hall needed more sound elements to stumble upon if the player decides to wander around there. It’s a 3D sound element placed in a hall, sonically not too distant from the whole ambience but noticeable enough if you pass by in a straight line down the hall.