Category Archives: Collab: Game Design Thesis

Doing sound for games

Last semester I did a Game Design Independent Study with Caitlin Morris and Mohini Dutta to work on the thesis project of our fellow classmates, Eric Chung, Margaret Moser, and Joungyoun Lee. I was responsible for creating sound pieces that would accompany specific stages of the game (ex. rooms, hallways, as well as specific scenes and player interactions), and it was great to be involved in the project from the early stages.

As a sound designer, we’re typically involved in the later stages of game design, and there tends to be limited collaboration with the rest of the team besides getting specific requests. The process for this game, however, differed greatly from that, and I believe the sound pieces (and the game as a whole) benefited from having all of the creative parties meeting and discussing from the very beginning. By giving Caitlin, Mohini, and I an early look at the game’s story, mechanics, and player experiences, we were able to develop our portions with a much deeper understanding of the project as a whole.

Here is a description from the game’s official website:

Bardo is a digital first-person game that combines the linear model of classical tragic narrative with the interactivity of video games. A story in the form of Oedipus Rex or Antigone requires a strong sense of causality and dramatic necessity, but game systems are inherently unpredictable-in order to be games at all, they must respond to user input. How can a linear and unmoving thing fit neatly within something that requires change? By incorporating unique gameplay mechanics and innovative dynamic storytelling techniques, Bardo will bring these two seemingly opposed forces together.

Eric, Margaret, and Joungyoun recently put together a quick teaser for the game (which features the music I composed), and you can see that here:

It has been a tremendously rewarding experience for all aspects of the project (from process and prototyping to theoretical debate and just plain old fun), and I look forward to continuing to work on the project after graduation. Looking forward to the official release.