In this week’s Studio Insider feature on the SWTOR website, Audio Designer Scott Morton talks about the process of capturing the right music for each moment in battle. Morton discusses the challenges and nuances of proper combat music, and breaks down the team’s thought process.
One of the first things we do when beginning audio production on combat abilities is to give each class a distinctive aural character. We’ve discovered that a great way to establish a sonic palette for each class is to come up with one or two descriptive terms that capture the essence of what we’re trying to convey, and attempt to tune every sound to those terms. The Jedi classes are very “Zen” in nature, employing a lot of yellow, white, and blue visual effects – usually softer around the edges. For these, we want to convey ideas like “smooth” and “wavelike” in our audio. Because the Sith represent a more corrupt and “edgier” side of the force, we want the sounds associated with them to be more “rough.” Smugglers are “flashy”. Agents are “refined” and “sleek”.
(Makes you wonder if Trooper and Bounty Hunter soundtracks aren’t really that remarkable or if they just forgot to mention them…)
The artistic process can yield some unexpected, but pleasant, results, Morton adds. But also notes that it is important that the audio strongly supports the visual aspects of the gaming experience. Check out Morton’s three-stage audio production walkthrough here. In case you’re not only interested in the sounds but in the gameplay, you can preorder class-guides for the mentioned classes (Jedi Knights and Consulars, Sith Warriors and Inquisitors, Smugglers and Agents) in our online shop.