Author Archives: Kole Hicks

May 23rd – Revealing the Score (Kenshi: The Swamplands)

Hello everyone!

It’s been a little while since the last update, but hopefully this one will sate your musical appetite! I’ve been working on a video series that documents my entire game music creation process (from Inspiration to Implementation) & just finished the first video on the music of Kenshi’s Swamplands. You can check it out at the link below!

April 11th – Pixel Piracy!

I’m very happy to announce that I’ve just signed on to compose the music for Quadro Delta’s first title, Pixel Piracy!  Pixel Piracy is a side-scrolling 2d, real time strategy/sandbox/simulation game and I can’t wait to begin writing sea shanties galore!


You can find out more about Pixel Piracy here:

As always, I’ll be documenting my progress as the score develops & will be sharing my thoughts, audio excerpts, & video clips! Thanks for reading & get your peg-legs ready to dance to some Pirate tunes :)

April 7th – What does a Carnotaurus sound like?


You hear a twig snap off in the distance & halt your pursuit of the lone Gallimimus. Slinking down lower to the ground you realize that you’re not the only hunter stalking this naive prehistoric chicken. As you duck behind the cover of a tree, you catch a glimpse of this guy sniffing the air hungrily.


You can see the “Aha!” moment in his eyes & he lets out an excited heart-stopping roar. Poor Gallimimus never had a chance…

The Carnotaurus is one of our larger carnivorous predators in ‘The Stomping Land’ & creating the sounds for him were a blast.  So fun in fact, that I made a video to share a bit of my process!

March 12th – Kenshi Audio Update – Harpoons!



FFFFTTTHUUUMMMPPPH!!!!  That’s the sound of a Harpoon Turret… kind of.

What I’ve been working on…

*Various sounds for Various Ranged weapons (one of which you see above).  Not all the sounds are completed, but a decent chunk of them are finished.

*More impact sounds.  Want to hit doors, gates, walls, rocks, even the sand?  Got ya covered now.

*Plethora of new sounds to existing sound systems (UI, Doors open/closing, etc.)

Soon to work on…

*Swamp stuff!  Basic Ambiance & eventually music after I get back from the GDC.

Speaking of which, I’ll be attending the GDC next week & if you’ll also be there then just let me know!

February 1st – Kenshi Audio Update – Doors!

Happy 2014 everyone!  There are a handful of new SFX & lots of tweaks/fixes with the audio for Kenshi (to eventually be included in a future update)…

*Balanced the Music/SFX a bit more via suggestions on the forums

*Added a new Slider in the menu to control the volume of the Ambient SFX (Wind for now, but might include other sounds later); suggested on the forums

*Armor sounds work a little differently & should be a tad bit more sparse.

*New Ambient sounds for some Machinery (Generator, Processor, Ceiling Fans, etc.)

*More Building Click & Inventory Item sounds

*Sounds for Doors/Gates finally!  Although I still need to create some for prison cells/cages.

*All Audio will slightly change depending on the game speed you’ve chosen to play at (Normal, x2, x4).  Just create a new “aural atmosphere” & not to change gameplay in any way.

As a side note, I just went to a fantastic concert featuring a group that I hope to hire for Kenshi’s next music session (not 100% confirmed).  If you’re in Southern California I highly recommend checking them out; super powerful taiko drums & emotional music!

Dec. 23rd 2013, Kenshi Update – What’s New in Audio?

Since the initial HUGE Audio update in Alpha .50, it may seem like there have only been minor additions to the Audio, but that would be quite far from the truth.  It’s definitely more dramatic going from absolutely no sound to a lot of music Music with some SFX, but I’d say between that time & now I’ve created (and will hopefully have integrated in the near future) 100 if not 200 various SFX.

Kenshi Female

So, along with all of the fantastic progress in this latest update (Females, Cannibals, etc.) we have an equally large Audio update.  I won’t list off all of the things that’ve been added, but here are some of the main sounds I tackled…

*Tons of Inventory item sounds – Everything from a bottle of rum to a bag of potatoes or even robotic components

*Audio for Building/Construction – This covers everything from UI sounds when you click on various building options to actual sounds when placing the buildings in-game.  Some even have audio attached to them when placed in-game.  (Not all though, as some need to be synced to animations when they’re finalized)

*Impact sounds for Training Dummies!  Because these dummies shouldn’t be spurting blood when you hit them… well, unless you’re one of those types who like to tie bandits to posts & use ‘em as target practice

*And Much more…

Oh yes & before I forget, this will be my final beard update!  January 1st 2014 it’ll all be shaved off.  It’s been pretty fantastic hearing the reactions from everyone over my beard and I’ll miss stroking it measuredly while deep in thought, but its time has come.  So before it departs, here is one last picture…

Dec Beard

Happy Holidays!

December 9th, 2013 – The Stomping Land – What does a Gallimimus Sound like?

Over the past few months, I’ve been fortunate enough to work on a great new game in development called The Stomping Land.  I’ve specifically been tasked with creating audio for the game and I’d like to give you a little “behind the scenes” look into one of my favorite areas… creating Dino sounds!



These “small” long distance runners are herbivores who like to roam around in packs for protection.  It’s name is translated as “Chicken or Rooster Mimic,” however I didn’t think the sounds of Chickens would be appropriate for our muscular Gallimimus.  With that said, I did feel very strongly that vocalizations from some kind of flocking bird would be appropriate.  First, I want to talk a little bit about how I like to build sounds though.  I like to think of it as writing music & building in layers, so quite often the vocalization sounds I create will feature Bass, Tenor, & Soprano parts (Low, Mid, High).

For Gallimimus I listened to a variety of different bird sounds, went to the Zoo to record a few new ones, and eventually settled on 4 unique bird vocalizations that would allow the Gallimimus to be quite expressive & dynamic in range.  The sounds of Geese & Flamingos make up a majority of the communicating/chattering & aggressive sounds.  Contrarily screeches of a Seagull make for a great “death” sound & the lonely call of a peacock works quite well for the passive/ambient vocalizations (perhaps of a single lost Gallimimus trying to find their way back to the flock).

After pitching them down to fit the size of the Gallimimus, all of these sounds I would consider the featured or “soprano” layer.  In some of the vocalizations, you might hear the other layers (especially if you’re pretty close to the Gallimimus).  These are subtle “flourishes”… perhaps grunts, screeches, gargles, or even breathing… all of which depends on the purpose of the vocalization.

Here is an all-audio link to a possible encounter scenario in-game between a lone Gallimimus & Carnotaurus.

That didn’t end very well for our Gallimimus… hope you enjoyed it nonetheless!  Next blog post will feature the sounds of a different Dino (or perhaps even our Hunters)!


Nov. 22nd – Audio For Jeklynn Heights – Maps…

Maps, maps, maps…

Recently I was tasked with taking all of the various Jeklynn Heights SFX (some which I’ve created & some by other sound designers) and placing them in the following map.  **Disclaimer: This is a rough Alpha video BEFORE my pass on the sounds, nevertheless it shows off how cool the map is!**

In this specific blog post, I just wanted to talk a little bit about my approach to placing sounds throughout the map and our overall “aural vision” for the world of Jeklynn Heights.  The game has a fantastic art style, so it’s essential that we create an aural soundscape that rivals its visual uniqueness.

The Slums


Dark, gritty, unhealthy, claustrophobic, stinky, rusted, maniacal, demented… all words that could accurately describe the Slums in Jeklynn Heights.  This is the area where the depraved and oppressed reside, so as you walkthrough the town don’t be surprised to hear denizens coughing up a lung, babies crying, dogs incessantly barking, and crows cawing ’til you’re crazy.  This part of Jeklynn Heights is not bustling and full of happy-go-lucky laughter or good times, instead it’s mostly quiet minus the handful miserable residents you’ll hear.  This is quite a stark contrast to the uppity rich people in the Square…

The Square

Jeklynn Heights

Boisterous, clamorous, cocky, uptight, narcissistic… ah yes that is a good description of our residents in the Square.  The streets are alive with laughter, glasses “cheersing,” and loud conversation emanating from each building.  The birds are delicate and sing their beautiful songs in harmony with one another, while thoroughbreds neigh their contentment throughout the night.  You’ll only find the upper class of high society residing in this part of town, but don’t be mistaken in thinking they’re not just as crazy as the denizens in the Slums!

Contested Middle Ground


In between these two polar opposites, we have neutral grounds ripe for the taking.  Overall, the soundscape shouldn’t portray either the Slums nor the Square, so we took a note from the beautiful artwork and had the audio in the neutral areas create a mysterious feeling.  Rare bird calls, odd creature vocalizations, howling wind, creaking plants, and more helped immerse these neutral contested areas in the uneasy yet exciting feeling that something is always lurking around the corner.

Our goal is to have the sound design be so distinguishable from area to area that the player will immediately know where they’re at without having to even look at the screen, yet still have the audio design for each region seamlessly blend into each other so that it feels like a single cohesive world.  Thanks for reading!