Case Study: Vampyr

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Vampires, like zombies, rarely go out of fashion. There’s also something tremendously beguiling about Victorian and turn of the century London, with its thrilling blend of dense fog, industrial progress and high murder rates. Put the two together and you get the game Vampyr.

Olivier Deriviere is one of the most trailblazing game composers out there. His musical range is broad, his dedication to providing a fresh sonic palette for every project is enviable, and his belief that game music should be as innovative and immersive as the game itself is legendary.

He got in touch with me to provide a few new sounds for Vampyr to help build the atmosphere for the game. The brief was to create some textural beds that felt both “of the time” but also somehow unusual and slightly out of place. The aim was to create a sense of unease but also to reflect the period the game is set in; industrial, but organic.

Surprisingly, for me at least, we settled on using Metaphysical Function, a sound generator that comes with Native Instruments huge Reaktor audio software engine.

I’m quite happy to divulge that I am far from the most prolific or proficient user of Reaktor. It is generally only a matter of moments between me loading it up and something utterly bewildering me. Fortunately, I had used Metaphysical Function a couple of times before; it’s pretty useful for unusual sound effects and textures, and did a very good job of getting that organic/industrial vibe we wanted.

I just wish the method for saving sounds wasn’t so utterly convoluted!

All in all, it was more of a sound design job than a synth programming one. But I do like my textures and soundscapes, so it was good fun (despite Reaktor!).


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