通常来说，手机游戏有环状环境音效、背景音乐、对话以及用户界面和游戏音效。为制作《Backflip Slots》的菜单环境音效，我带着手持Zoom H4到赌场录制环境音效。幸运的是，我带着这个奇怪的小设备走进赌场时保安并未过问。
由于《Backflip Slots》看起来较为传统，因而我们需要传统音效与之相配。在滚轴旋转上，我采用带轻微摩擦质感的环状机械音效。为达成此目标，我将拖拉机发动机音效和音效库中工厂机器样品音效结合起来，并融入《Sonic Fiction》（游戏邦注：某音乐专辑）的元素。
即使放置于其他文件之上，音效文件也必须清晰明了。这款游戏与工作室其他游戏（游戏邦注：如《Paper Toss》、《NinJump》等）有相似的特征，我将其他游戏的现有音效运用到《Backflip Slots》中。以《NinJump》为例，我在“hiyaahh”音效中加入锣钹声，作为成功组合的音效。游戏中还深藏着某些音效组合，只有顶级玩家才能听出来。
Excerpt: The Insider’s Guide to Music and Sound for Mobile Games
When using headphones, we hear most of the sonic spectrum. One challenge of creating audio content for mobile is taking into account the possibility of headphone usage. The iPad allows for a bit more mid-range frequency content, so I considered this when working with Backflip Studios on their HD stuff.
Typically, a mobile game will have a looping background ambience, background music, dialogue and UI/gameplay sounds. For the menu ambience in Backflip Slots, I visited a casino and brought along my Zoom H4 handheld recorder to capture the ambience. Luckily, security didn’t ask any questions as I entered the building with this strange little device.
After finding the rows of slots machines, I sat in the middle and started playing. This location gave me a nicely-balanced ambience, so I placed the recorder on the seat next to me and started experimenting with different configurations. All this was done without headphones, so I had to use my best judgment and just go for it.
The funny thing about casinos is that each slot machine plays jingles in the key of C. The result is a hypnotizing cacophony that keeps the players hooked. I have actually played live gigs at casinos before and been instructed to keep every song in the key of C. This is surreal, much like playing alongside a choir of robots!
Since Backflip Slots was getting a more traditional look, we needed the sound to follow suit. For the reel spin, I went for a looping mechanical sound with a subtle friction texture. To achieve this, I combined the sound of a tractor engine with factory machinery samples from my own sound library. The two sounds were then mixed together and combined with elements from Sonic Fiction.
Seamless looping is commonplace in games but often brings technical challenges. That can detract from the creative focus, but it’s a necessary evil, given the technical limitations of the hardware platforms. The reel landing sounds needed more of a chunky ‘click’ feel that would not be too overbearing.
Each bonus spin-character icon has an animated sequence in which they come to life and jump off the screen. These actions received everything from an 8-bit flamethrower to the sound of a samurai sword being unsheathed.
One of the keys to creating sonic appeal is subtlety and this can require extensive testing. Game sounds should not grate on the nerves even after being heard hundreds of times. This usually entails experimenting with volume, EQ and pitch shifting. The end result should always be a pleasant listening experience for the development team and ultimately, the player.
The win sequences were also in sharp contrast to the reel spins and button presses. Win animations explode on the screen with coins raining down on top of an animated logo. Add pulsating lasers and lightning strikes and you now have some serious eye candy! These received a good amount of ‘bling’ on the sonic end and went through extensive revisions before completion.
Even when being piled on top of each other, audio files must be audible and clean. Since the game featured all of their IP (Paper Toss, NinJump, Graffiti Ball, etc), I used the existing sounds from their other games and remixed them to work within Slots. In the case of “NinJump”, I blended the hiyaahh with a gong cymbal for the combo win. Some of the combinations are buried deep in the game and will only be heard by top players.
The best way to test for this was to play them simultaneously in Pro Tools and listen for any breakup in the sound. Since the coins are the theme of the game, I gave them most of the higher frequencies while cutting the highs out of some of the pre-existing sound effects from all the games represented.
Notice that I’m not going into painstaking detail on how I created the audio. That is because my entire process of working revolves around listening. A fellow guitarist once told me that creating music essentially boils down to 90% listening and 10% doing. When I get writers’ block with my own guitar playing, the solution that works best is this: Tune the guitar down (or up) to a new tuning. This is much like picking up an instrument for the first time. The chords or scales you once knew are now worthless! This forces you to rely more on listening, and you approach the instrument with more of a child-like wonder.
The point here is that restrictions often bring out the best material. Try not to get too overwhelmed with all of today’s fancy gear. You can make amazing sound or music with a limited set of tools. Listen to the Super Mario Brothers theme song. It was created in an environment of staggering limitations. Koji Kondo rose above them and worked with what he had to create one of the most memorable pieces of music in modern history.
It never ceases to amaze me what can be done with today’s virtual instruments. There are so many great products out there that you really have to focus on the game project. It’s easy to become distracted by attention-grabbing effects. Scroll through any of today’s modern VI’s (virtual instruments) and you’ll see exactly what I mean. Always keep a screenshot or video of the game visible to keep you focused. (Source: Game Career Guide)