Wilhelm wasn’t going to cut it for A-list game release Dead Space 3. Meet the young Amelia, instead, screaming. And behold the sheer horror that only a squishy watermelon can produce. I always knew fruit and toddlers were up to no good.

Kill Screen, the indie game mag, collaborates with The Creators’ Project to go behind the scenes at developer Visceral Games to talk about the audio design and interactive sound system in Dead Space. Producer and editor Jamin Warren tells CDM it was his favorite of the series yet.

In addition to examining sound design and field recording, the piece also looks a bit at the procedural audio system. Sound elements are interactively conducted by the game engine to respond to events, plotting everything from breathing sound to music cues and mix volumes based on the linear level of “fear.” It’s just one dimension, emotionally, but then I recall some of the most successful game sound systems did something simple, but (to crib the developer name) visceral. Think of the sound in, say, Pac Man.

The challenge with games is, as ever, to make repeated sound effects and interactively-triggered sounds as effective as something like film – without its fixed beginning, middle, end, and timeline. But while not everyone is a fan of this kind of console game, the elements of design remain the same. And you can see the world of game audio in terms of connecting to emotion and the addictive quality of games whether it’s Dead Space 3 or something like Angry Birds. (Quick: hum the tune to Tetris. And tell me you don’t recall that feeling of blocks stacking up toward the top of the screen. Or insert your own example here.)

Thanks, Kill Screen.

Dead Space 3′s Fear System is the most horrifying audio you’ll ever not see

  • Chris Sciurba

    Very cool. I’ve always been fascinated by the process (and results) of this end of sound design.

  • Ned

    It’s a shame that the game is such a terrible joke. Glad that something good came out of it though.