Interview with RV_kgunesse
Hey RenegadeLine Community,
this week we sat down with RV_kgunesse, who is our very talented Sound Designer. He is the one responsible for everything you hear in the game, from the chilling sounds of wind to the blasting explosion of a RPG. You might have already seen him around, since he isn't a stranger to these forums and likes to post every now and then.
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General Information about RV_kgunesse:
Nationality: Great Britain
Joined RV: August 2015
Position: Sound Designer
What is the difference between a sound designer, a composer and musical director?
Oh well, a composer composes music. He would, ehm, he would write music basically. It’s kind of all merged together now, so a producer could compose music and produce the music as well. It’s all kind of blended in together, but a composer writes music and a sound designer is responsible for creating sound effects, to put it into the simplest way. A sound designer will create sound effects and will be involved in the audio for a game or a film. That kind of thing.
It’s hard to say “This guy does this and this guy does that”, since it sorta blends in together.
So, a composer creates music?
Yeah yeah, a composer creates music and a sound designer designs sound. It’s not just sound effects, you know, he also designs how the game feels. Does he want it to sound dark, does he want it to sound action-packed? You do these through the sound effects, but it’s not just sound effects, there is more to it.
When did you realize sound design is something you like to do?
I’ve been playing the guitar for, hmmm, for about 10 years now. And I don’t know, I just did a music technology course when I was at secondary school and we learned about recording and how to use a recording software. From there I just started paying attention to sound. How films sounded, how games sounded. I just started to pay more attention to it and then I thought “Oh, how do you make these sounds?” and “how do they actually go about making these laser guns” and stuff like that. So then I just started experimenting with that kind of stuff and I kind of just progressed from there. I just got more and more into it and it is what I like doing now. It’s great fun.
What would you say is required to be a good sound designer?
You need a good ear and you need to think outside the box from time to time I’d say. Ehm, in terms of recording, if you need a sound…for example here's how the sound of the laser gun in Star Wars was designed: He [the sound designer] went over to a suspension bridge and kicked one of the wires on the suspension bridge and that gave us the Star Wars laser sound. So it’s kind of experimenting and a whole lot of trial and error.
But it's a tough question to be honest. Well, so, you also need the ability to convey a mood or an emotion, that’s important. Anybody can just create sound effects like “Here you go”, but if the sound makes the consumer feel a certain way, the sound designer has done a good job.
Which other projects have you been working on so far?
Ehm, I don’t know if I can say, since I signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Just for the sake of that I’m not gonna say it, but it was an AAA-Game. I’ve also done some work for Chester Zoo, which is one of the largest zoos. They have an installation there, where you can walk around. It’s a big park, it takes you about an hour to walk around and it takes you on a journey through all these different islands, like Sumatra and Indonesia. And they needed sound effects for when you are walking through specific areas, like the sounds of animals or boats or thunder and lightning. I provided them with all the sounds for that. So, when people walk through, they hear those specific sounds.
Most of the stuff I’ve done was at university.
So what did you study at university?
Music technology, bachelor of science.
Did you learn everything you need to know there?
Yeah, let’s say it helps. I enjoyed sound design, but as soon I left uni I thought “That’s it”. I enjoy mixing as well, I enjoy mixing music, you know, I also like producing music, all that kind of stuff. But sound design is where I wanna be.
The course was very broad. It taught you mixing a live band, live sound, making sounds for games and films, how to use different softwares, like synthesizing software. All sorts of stuff, but it was really helpful. I learned a lot.
What have you already finished in RenegadeLine and what are you working on right now?
Trying to get the weapon sounds done at the moment. I’ve done some of the easier sounds, like footsteps. I’ve also done bullet impact, so that when a bullet hits something it makes a sound. I also designed a few ambient sounds, like water and wind, but I’m trying to focus on the weapons, since the weapons are a major part of the game, you know?
Right now I’m updating them all to fit the fire rate, because I didn’t have the fire rate at the beginning. But I have them now, so I am updating the sounds. I’ve got a few more sniper rifles, so I gotta do those. Ehm, but I’m trying to get the automatic weapons done first, they are more difficult and then the sniper rifles and the other one can wait. [Laughs]
Did you want to work in the games industry from the beginning or did it “just happen”?
Gaming was my number one choice, like, I would have been happy in film or TV, but I love playing games and I always have. That’s why it was my number one.
You’re not just stuck to one thing. In films it’s common for you to be stuck doing only the mixing or doing one thing, but in games you have to do a multitude of things. One day you could be recording out in the fields somewhere. In the next you could be inside recording some of the voice noises. There’s a lot of things to do, which is why I like to do it. You don’t just stick to one thing.
What do you like most about the work as a sound designer?
I just like experimenting. I’ve got a weird mind, when I’m out somewhere and I hear a sound I’m just like “Oh no, why don’t I have my recording equipment on me”. [Laughs]
You pick up on sounds, like there is a helicopter above my house and I’m like “I gotta record that, might come in handy”. So you pick up on sounds and they could be used for anything. You can turn a random sound, say, the light sabers in Star Wars, the “hum” sound of the light saber: It’s just a projector, just a simple projector and you can turn it into a light saber and everyone knows what a light saber sounds like. You can just turn a sound into something else and that is great fun.
I think it’s really cool to take an ordinary sound and turn it into something completely different.
It’s a lot easier now with all the computers. But it’s great, it’s great. If I’m bored I would just go out with my recording equipment and go down to the park or something. Record a few trees, you know the wind in the trees. Most is just get out and record stuff. You get some weird looks, though, like when you go to a super market. [Laughs]
You’re just standing there with a microphone like “Don’t mind me, carry on”.
What are your main tools for creating, editing and designing sound?
So, I have a "RØDE NTG2" and another recorder. I use these two to record things like foot steps, ambient noises, bullet impacts. They are for the easily obtainable sounds.
I’m in the middle of England, where do I find a firing range? For that I just use sound samples from the internet. I have a whole library. And I also have some sounds for explosions.
When I make the vehicle sounds, I’m going to record my car [Laughs] which will be good.
For editing I use Ableton live and Pro Tools. I use Ableton mainly, just because I’ve been using it since forever and the workflow suits me. I use that to edit sounds. And then Pro Tools I use if I want to chop up sounds. I don’t use it often, but I use it for some things.
The ability sounds are obviously not real, like the Shockwave. Ehm, that’s mostly just trial and error. I got five different versions of the Shockwave sound.
Yeah, I’ve got the animation video and I thought “Uh, that could sound like this” so I did it and sent it over to Chris. And Chris was like “I was thinking more like this”, so I went back and did it again. Because the sounds aren’t real there is a lot of trial and error to get the sound right, but I got it in the end. I used some wind sounds and other sounds and it sounds pretty good, I like it. [Laughs]
What is the toughest part when it comes to sound design?
Just to get it to blend together, so when you are playing it in-game it sounds like a real gun. There are no gaps, not too much bass, nothing overpowering, it has to sound just right.
What we haven’t come to yet, what we will come to at the end of the game development, is that you have to mix it all aswell. So, that will probably be my job, too. [Laughs] Going into the game and setting the levels for sounds, so that the wind isn’t too loud or the guns aren’t too quiet, these are all very important.
What is the most complicated thing you ever created?
Ehm, 2 things. One of them was getting the automatic weapons in this game to sound right, because there are a few ways of doing it. The way I have chosen to do it is to get an automatic firing gun loop, that’s just 10-12 shots of the gun just firing continuously. And then you chop it up into individual shots and then put it back in the game. So when you play it, it plays back the shots individually and randomly. Nothing sounds the same. But again making the guns sound good was kind of a nightmare, because a lot of the guns in the game fire slower than what they do in real life. So I had to do a lot of editing to the sounds, just to get it to sound well when you fire multiple shots, but also for 1 single shot. That has to sound like 1 shot, it doesn’t cut off or anything, so that has been kind of a challenge.
The other was something I did in uni. I had to replace all the sounds to the original PSP trailer and there was this red robot thing, I don’t know what it was. It was all over the screen and constantly moving about and there were loads of things going on on the screen and coming up with a sound for that was just a nightmare, though in the end it ended up on YouTube and my website and I like it. I just used Lego and dropped it, rubbing the legos between my hands and then putting them together. That was a complicated one.
Like I said most of it is just trial and error, you just gotta keep going. A lot of things I have come across by accident. I will just be making sounds and drop in another sound and then realize “Oh, that sounds quite good actually” and I just leave it there then.
Can you give me a short run-down on how you create a specific sound?
What I do is this: With the ambients it is as simple as recording footsteps or the wind and then you simply do some processing.
But with the guns, they are the most complicated bit I’d say. With single shot sounds, like shotguns or pistols or sniper rifles, you just gotta create one shot, because there is just one shot being played at a time in the game. So I just drop in a few sniper rifle, pistol sounds and do some editing. I do a few versions, 3-5 versions, of these sounds, so that in the game it doesn’t sound repetitive.
For the automatic weapons, like I said, I put in a sound like a gun could be firing a round of like 30 bullets and then you chop it up into individual hits and then you also have to create the trail off of the sound. Like if you play it once it doesn’t go “Boom”, and instead goes “Boommmmm” - it doesn’t cut off. So you gotta create the bullet shots and you gotta create the tails. So, when you are playing in game you hear the bullet shots when you hold down the fire button and when you release it you hear the bullet tails. And you gotta get it right, so it sounds like one continuous sound. It’s a bit of a pain, but I’m getting there. [Laughs]
I just have to ask: What is the best sounding game you have played?
Ahhh, I couldn’t just choose one, because there are several I like. There isn’t just one. Well, first off, you might disagree, but I really enjoy the sound design in Mass Effect 3. I can tell they put a lot of work into things like the weapons and the reapers, because everything is sci-fi set in the future. So a lot of it has been made from scratch. And yeah, I really like the sounds. [Laughs]
Another one is Limbo, which is a weird one, since there isn’t much sound. I think if there was too much sound it wouldn’t have the same impact. It’s really atmospheric, it’s just wind and footsteps for the most part. You know when the spider comes in and you get that low rumble, I just think it sounds great.
Battlefield 4 is another one. Whether you play with headphones or surround sound, everything just sounds like it should. You know there is different sound for explosions up-close and far away. It just sounds brilliant.
Ehm, there are probably a few others, but I can’t name it. Elite Dangerous sounds quite good.
Do you have a favourite game?
Ah, “Spyro 3 – the year of the Dragon” on the PS1. It’s just for nostalgic reasons. I used to play a lot of it when I was younger. I spent my life on it when I was young.
What kind of music do you like to listen to?
Whatever floats my boat really. I like a lot of rock, metal and electronic music. Drum and bass.
If I like it, I like it. I don’t really have a preference. I’m not into pop and what’s on the charts, like Ariana Grande or Iggy Azelea, ugh, nah, I don’t listen to that. I found out the less known an artist is, the better they are. I found guys on soundcloud I’m following with 200 followers and the music they create is really really good.
Do you have a favorite sports team or favorite sport?
Nah, I don’t follow sport. I like motorsport and ehm, Xtreme sports, like skydiving, snowboarding. I don’t follow it, but I like watching it.
Football, rugby, tennis…nah, I don’t watch that. [Laughs]
What is your favorite weapon in RenegadeLine when it comes to sound?
Probably the rocket launcher, a lot of that sound came from blasting steam out of an iron and pouring water onto a hot frying pan. [Laughs]
That's it for this weeks interview. Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoyed it. If you have anything to add, whether that be ideas, questions or feeback, feel free to leave us a comment HERE
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