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.
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…
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!