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US Musician, Composer and Producer

Gary Gibbons

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Video Game Sound Design

2014-05-25 04:16:31

Lately, I have been working on a wide variety of custom-made music projects and original music for my band Whole Nine Yards as well as mixing & mastering for TV and Film. But that's not all, one of the most fun and challenging projects that I am currently working on is an iOS game made by a Hong Kong game company that is scheduled for a June 2014 release. Can't talk about what the game is until it's released, so today I thought I would share my sound design work flow and creative experience.

I was asked to make three 1.5 minute compositions with a RPG feel that were loopable for the UI 'user interface', Fight scene and Boss scene. The client requested that I first create and submit fifteen 20 second demos. Then after they selected the 20 second demo that they liked, I would extend the compositions from 20 seconds to one and a half minutes. I spent a couple days composing the demo music. A very helpful part that I ask all of my clients is to provide examples to help with my workflow. So the client passed along links of game music from other games that they liked and wanted the direction to go for their release.

As for the music I composed, all of the compositions has a symphonic theme that include strings, french horns, flutes and concert drums. The only musical challenge was making sure that the flute instruments that I selected didn't come across with an Asian ethnic feel. I think it was interesting that in the end one of the compositions ended up with a pan flute from the Halion Sonic vst by Steinberg. It's not a high end and modern virtual instrument preset. It's sound is a bit dated and since I have some really great and realistic flute virtual instruments, it is kinda funny that it was selected over the more current vst's that's at my disposal. But in the end the composition has a great melody and game music vibe. So it worked out just fine.


Originally I wanted to make all of the SFX by recording raw sounds with metal and wood items. I ended up recording, sheets of metal, chop sticks, taiko sticks, drum sticks, Uno cards, scrappers, hammers hitting pots, scrappers and sheets of metal, cookie cutters, cup cake molds, keys, and hitting the rims of taiko drums. Then after recording the sounds I imported some raw samples into a vst called Padshop Pro or used pluggins to manipulate them. Most SFX that I created I layered 2 to 8 tracks of sounds. And then panned them to get a nice stereo sound.

World Worm Studios
Video Game Sound Design: making sword SFX at World Worm Studios
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The hardest SFX to create turned out to be an electrical surge or lightning effect. I could get the lightning sound from the sheets of metal but it wasn't matching up with the animation that required this effect. Since it was a short effect that repeated up to four times I made some interesting short swishing sounds that were layered with a short circuit and metal effects. I felt that it was an interesting direction but I ended up having to try a second time. I have to be honest, I was stumped. Without a good recording of electrical surges or an explosion sound that was short that didn't have a heavy attack, I wasn't sure about what to experiment with.

World Worm Studios
World Worm Studios, Video Game Sound Design
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So I tried to import an explosion sample into Padshop Pro. After tweaking the settings several times, I layered 2 more samples and finally completed the new SFX. Next week, I have my second bunch of SFX to complete and then I will be finished. Then ready for the next game!

If you have a game project, feel free to contact me at

Studio Address: World Worm Studios, Unit B, 4/F, Wai Kee Industrial Building, 25 Hung To Road, Kwun Tong, Kowloon Website : Contact : 852 3154 3312

World Worm Studios
World Worm Studios, Video Game Sound Design
Click here to enlarge the picture