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Luke McManus

Music Redesigning the Sound of LIMBO

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Posted (edited)

Hey all,

So I have this unfathomable obsession with the games LIMBO and INSIDE, two games produced by Playdead Studios. But as a sound designer, I'm specifically into the audio of the game, its use of ambient tracks and specific sounds to create this level of emotion I've never felt in a platformer before.

I took a stab at redesigning the sound and ambiance of one of LIMBO's trailers to see if I could replicate such emotionality with my own creativity. Check it out below. All feedback is appreciated. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMD1OljsIVA&feature=youtu.be

Thanks!

Edited by Luke McManus

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The balance between the sound design and the music loop is pretty off IMO. Now a quick disclaimer - I'm on a laptop right now so that could be part of it. If you want to showcase a sound design mock up then really let that be the focus. Right now it feels like the music is trying to be the focus. 

The first few sound effects that are really upfront in the mix (at around 0:32) have a lot of high end harshness to it. The dirt foley before that was okay but very nuanced in the mix. The sound designer behind LIMBO, Martin Stig Anderson, talks a lot about using tape saturation to give everything in the game a smeared, warmth to it. I think this allowed the sounds to feel more homogenous. Like they come from the same world. 

Some of your sound design is okay but some of it really attacks the high end and gives a harsh performance. It doesn't make me want to enter the world but rather it makes me want to withdraw from it. There are also lot of moments where sound design could've helped but it was silent. For a sound design mock up, especially one that's about a minute long, you really want to showcase the depth of your talents and skills. The sounds in this mock up sound more like royalty free sound clips than they do actual sound design. I'm sorry to give you this sort of feedback but I hope it helps. It's what other audio directors looking to hire would most likely say. 

Thanks!

Nate

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Posted (edited)
50 minutes ago, nsmadsen said:

The balance between the sound design and the music loop is pretty off IMO. Now a quick disclaimer - I'm on laptop speakers right now so that could be part of it. If you want to showcase a sound design mock up then really let that be the focus. Right now it feels like the music is trying to be the focus. 

The first few sound effects that are really upfront in the mix (at around 0:32) have a lot of high end harshness to it. The dirt foley before that was okay but very nuanced in the mix. The sound designer behind LIMBO, Martin Stig Anderson, talks a lot about using tape saturation to give everything in the game a smeared, warmth to it. I think this allowed the sounds to feel more homogenous. Like they come from the same world. 

Some of your sound design is okay but some of it really attacks the high end and gives a harsh performance. It doesn't make me want to enter the world but rather it makes me want to withdraw from it. There are also lot of moments where sound design could've helped but it was silent. For a sound design mock up, especially one that's about a minute long, you really want to showcase the depth of your talents and skills. The sounds in this mock up sound more like royalty free sound clips than they do actual sound design. I'm sorry to give you this sort of feedback but I hope it helps. It's what other audio directors looking to hire would most likely say. 

Thanks!

Nate

Hey!

It's not a problem at all, I really appreciate the feedback. Now that I've spent some time away from it, I'm also beginning to realize the excess high-end in some of the sounds. Could you clarify what you mean by the balance between the sound design and music loop? Are you referring to equalization?

Thanks!

Luke

EDIT: I follow you now on the balance between music and sound. Perhaps I didn't label it right, but I also want to showcase the music equally, so I'll add that in to the video's description and title since I made both the sound and the music. But I definitely appreciate the feedback and the time you took to make it! 

 

Edited by Luke McManus

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I just want off to say that this is a very noble project, and I found that you did a good job getting the sounds correct (wood sounds like wood, crunching grass, etc). However, it does feel like the sounds aren't coming from the game's universe, instead I feel like I can tell these are, well, sounds someone recorded and stuck over the game (not sure if I articulated that right). 

I'd suggest going to the source game itself, listen to the sounds and pay attention to the atmosphere. Get your nicest pair of speakers and headphones, and try and replicate the sounds as close as you possibly can.

Hope this helps!

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1 hour ago, phantaminum said:

I just want off to say that this is a very noble project, and I found that you did a good job getting the sounds correct (wood sounds like wood, crunching grass, etc). However, it does feel like the sounds aren't coming from the game's universe, instead I feel like I can tell these are, well, sounds someone recorded and stuck over the game (not sure if I articulated that right). 

I'd suggest going to the source game itself, listen to the sounds and pay attention to the atmosphere. Get your nicest pair of speakers and headphones, and try and replicate the sounds as close as you possibly can.

Hope this helps!

Thank you for the feedback! I get what you're saying about the atmosphere of the game. What I'll probably do is practice some more and then have a go at their INSIDE trailer, and post that one up as well.

Thanks again!

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On 7/2/2018 at 10:10 AM, phantaminum said:

I'd suggest going to the source game itself, listen to the sounds and pay attention to the atmosphere. Get your nicest pair of speakers and headphones, and try and replicate the sounds as close as you possibly can.

This makes perfect sense if he wants to re-create the game experience. But what if he wants to "re-score" the game with his own experience? In that case, it's better to learn how to take your own source files and make them all sound like they're coming from the same world. Really, both approaches will provide plenty of learning opportunities. 

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That's a fair assessment! Looking back, my post does appear to be suggesting to re-create the sounds. I think my intention was to suggest paying attention as to why the sounds/score work as well as they do with the game, and apply it to his approach.

Agreed though, one has to find their own path!

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