Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we delve deeper into audio and music on Republic Commando, via our interview with David Collins and Jesse Harlin, the audio lead and composer for the game, respectively. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.
Issues covered: going from film scoring to games, writing a column, dealing with the suits, getting the games at a discount, getting exposed to the hard work of audio and games, interviewing the composer, the turnover at LucasArts in the early 00s, being focused on audio and music in games, Redbook audio, having no one to learn from, having to figure out how to fit all the music on different consoles, parallels to silent film and MIDI, the development of iMUSE and having to replicate it, trying to find middleware for audio, hot-rodding the engine for audio, splitting sound and voice and the history, having lots of departments that had built up their own silos, being a service group at even a greater scale, the costs of switching, burnout and lack of downtime, having to crunch on multiple games at a time, the physical costs of burnout, having to hide that you're working on multiple projects, "see a dog hear a dog" sound design, shifting to being fully involved with one team, integrating departments earlier, having a fully immersive proof-of-concept level with audio, being able to hand off more to audio, still chasing what you'd like from audio, the non-Star Wars Star Wars game, systemic audio vs a more curated experience, the implementation of the Assault Ship, having different musical cues for different approaches, the game finding its own way from the Star Wars musical soundscape, not knowing what the movies would sound like, injecting more personality, having developed based on what we knew, the wonders of the ring modulator, a signature Star Wars sound, having the LucasArts audio available at Skywalker Sound, choosing a language for choral music (and not having Wookiee available), embedding your sister's name in a piece of music, training up the choir on how to sing Mandalorian, having the gall to invent Boba Fett's language, getting away with more because of timeline distance, slipping a thing to be low-key, wanting to use a talking dog, having a thing die because Business Affairs holds onto it for a long time, adding in Russian/Slavic dipthongs, knowing what fans were going to want to know, planning ahead for the meaning of the content, having The Battle of the Trees in Sanskrit for Duel of the Fates, slipping Doctor Who character names into The Old Republic, the audioscape of the "battle beyond," pulling in the audio for a developer diary, having the opportunity to widen the Universe, going nuts with the audio, having time to think about what a space should sound like, "this is my level too," integrated audio storytelling, the invisible art form, people not knowing how to describe audio, "you know, audio's cheap," the small size of the audio team, the high efficiency of audio, where the Ash video came from, having a weird coda to the game like that, critics thinking the game had rock in it, how mistakes happen in reviews, having had a deal, the only rock song ever to be in a Star Wars game, guitars and Star Wars, line items in a budget, Foley as a performance, having raw material for days for blasters and such, having clacky armor in front of the camera the whole game, having a footstep level, having to retag geometry, meeting with a fan, missing out on a multiplayer balancing issue, having networking break the music system, the airing of grievances, making a music map for QA, how to test audio effectively, the problem with music, what these guys are up to now, scores that don't work, knowing that things had to change, iterating on team makeup and process.
Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Star Wars, Marvel, Mafia, Avatar, Futurama, Counterspy, Yoku's Island Express, LucasArts, Escape from Monkey Island, Star Wars: Demolition, Starfighter (series), Sony, PlayStation, Uncharted 3, Journey, The Last of Us, Celebration, Skywalker Sound, Rage Software, Space Debris, Starfox, Paul Stroud, Game Developer Magazine, Electronic Musician, Larry the O, USC, The 7th Guest, Xbox, GameCube, Michael Land, Michelle Hinners, Unreal, Naughty Dog, Sony Santa Monica, The Force Unleashed 2, Troy Mashburn, Kevin Schmitt, John Hancock, Nathan Martz, Dave Bogan, Jenny Huang, Wwise, Daron Stinnett, Alien, Event Horizon, J. White, Obi-Wan, Resident Evil, Philip Sousa, Steve Matulac, George Lucas, Ben Burtt, Knights of the Old Republic, BioWare, Justin Lambros, Cindy Wong, Doctor Who, The Longest Day, Tales of Jabba's Palace/Tales of Mos Eisley Cantina, Creative Audio, Harrison Deutsch, Jedi: Fallen Order, Respawn Entertainment, Andrew Cheney, Julian Kwasneski, Bay Area Sound, Aaron Brown, Ash, Chris Williams, Full Throttle 2, The Gone Jackals, Halo, Marty McDonnell, John Williams, Michael Giacchino, Clint Bajakian, Mercenaries, Peter Hirschmann, Jana Vance, Dennie Thorpe, Tony Shalhoub, GalaxyQuest, Battlefront II, ComiCon, Joss Whedon, Riot Games, Valorant, Mafia Remake, Haden Blackman, Matthew Wood, Star Wars Resistance, Galaxy of Adventures, Forces of Destiny, Ahmed Best, Star Wars Jedi Temple Challenge, Jason Sudeikis, Rise of Skywalker, Boss Baby: Back in Business, Netflix, The Soundtrack Show, Ladyhawke, Mutiny on the Bounty, Akili Interactive Labs, EndeavorRx, Metal Gear Solid, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Epic Mickey, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.
Twitch: brettdouville, instagram:timlongojr, @brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub