I’m Michael the composer and sound designer for the project (you can call me Mick to avoid confusion hah). I thought I’d start an audio journal and introduce myself. I’ve been working in games for a few years now, darting between AAA releases on franchises such as Transformers and indie hits like MirrorMoon EP. I’m absolutely thrilled to be working on Rogue System as it sits right in the middle of what interests me the most; Sci-Fi and Simulation. I’ve wanted to work on a sim for a long time and separately I’ve always wanted to work on a serious space themed science fiction game. I never thought those two genres would overlap and Michael Juliano deserves a lot of praise for his ambition in bringing them together.
This week I’ll talk a little about the music and my set up, then in the next entry I’ll talk about the sound design and some of my processes. I’ve never documented my work before and I’m quite keen to be transparent about the way I do it. It’s still very early days however so everything is still very much in the ‘ideas’ phase.
For the soundtrack I want to use as many external sound sources as possible, by that I mean away from the computer. It’s easy to get caught up in the thousands of virtual instruments and soft synths out there. I find myself in situations where I have limitless sound creation possibilities with soft synths but ironically struggle to create anything with them. So to avoid this I’ve taken advice from one of my favorite composers Jon Hopkins where he says, “The more different types of signal you have going in the more ‘real’ a piece of music sounds, the more dimensional and the more like it’s built on a physical structure.”
I have set my studio up in such a way as to impose limits without restricting sonic range, I’ll be working mostly with instruments and musicians instead of programs and virtual synthesis.
This is where I spend pretty much all of my time, it’s a humble setup compared with big studios, but it’s still very much capable for the job. On the left we have a MicroBrute and on the right there’s a Leipzig-S, they’re both pure analog synthesizers and produce super rich, deep and complex sounds.
Behind the camera is a recording space where I capture sounds and record live instruments. My fiancee Kerry is an accomplished violinist and I intend to make good use of her skills. I’ll also be recording a lot of voice, guitar and percussion. I haven’t been able to completely eliminate software instruments, as there’s a limit to what I can record in my home, so we’ve ordered two brilliant sounding string and prepared piano libraries. With that I believe all bases are covered to begin creating a physical, emotive and dynamic soundtrack for the game. Once the music is written, integration into the engine is a whole other thing which I’d like to talk about, but that’s some ways off in the future.
So that’s where I am at the moment, not much has been written as it’s still early days, but I’ve setup a Sound Cloud account which you can follow, I’ll be uploading little ideas every now and then and would love to hear any feedback you may have. https://soundcloud.com/roguesystemost – The 3 tracks on the soundcloud are a little old, they’re some of the first things I wrote when I first started talking to Michael last year.
Next time I’ll talk about my approach to sound design and get some examples ready to listen to. If you want to follow my work, you’re welcome to check out my portfolio over at: www.manningaudio.com