Limbo Redux

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Wwise/Limbo Redux Contest – 2014

We are proud to announce this entry has been nominated finalist for the Wwise Limbo Redux Contest, which consisted on proposing an alternative sound design for a minute of Limbo by PlayDead Studios, and integrate it into the game by using Audiokinetic’s audio authoring tool and sound engine: Wwise. The following text explains Naila’s version of Limbo.


Overview
LIMBO IN THE SOUTH AMERICAN TROPIC
This version of Limbo takes place in the South American tropic and intends to give an adventurous mood. In this new story, some tribes worship the Queen Spider through their music, so the boy must defeat her in order to regain peace and harmony in the jungle (and of course, so that he can go back to sleep with no interruptions).


Description
The minute I chose corresponds to the first part of the first level. It starts with sounds of different kinds of crickets and frogs with the intention of recreating how these actually sound in real life. The soundscape never repeats itself the same. There’s also a bird called “Mochilero” that is typical from the Amazon jungle which helps to contextualize the setting (or at least it adds an exotic touch). When the boy reaches the log, other animal sounds appear that add more variety to the game (owls and a weird frog), as well as soft wind. As the boy reaches the cliff, he can hear from the distance some filtered drums and horns (these are supposed to be from the tribes that praise the Queen Spider). The boy keeps going down the rope, runs through the cave (where you can hear some water drippings and bats) and he finally jumps into the boat, in search for the spider. In the river you can hear a bunch of herons quaking.


LimboPhoto4

Sounds

I recorded the owls, herons, frogs and crickets in recent trips that I have made in my country, Colombia (more specifically in a village called Silvania), using a Zoom H4n recorder and then applying noise reduction processes with the X-Noise plug in from the Waves bundle. The bats and few other creature sounds are re-elaborations of sound libraries. I edited all the sounds into small fragments, and then in Wwise, using few audio samples, I recreated a constantly varying soundscape.

The drums are part of some recordings I did around 6 years ago for my undergraduate dissertation in which I recorded Colombian folk from the Caribbean. The wagon, bells, horns and ropes were re- elaborated using sound libraries and sounds of my own. For the boy’s expressions I recorded my own voice, but as I’m a girl I had to pitch it down. Footsteps and foley were recorded by me.
For the menu, I recorded a friend that is native of Cartagena, and has a very marked tropical accent that matches the context of the drums. All sounds were edited in Protools 9.


The following is a second entry for the contest of Limbo in the Tropic:

Techniques in Wwise
In general, my objective was to make a soundscape that would constantly vary. For this, I used the following techniques:
1) Random Containers: I mostly used random containers and established ranges of volume, pitch and filter. Some frog containers, for example, have just one audio sample but different variations of pitch.
2) Base Loop: there is a base loop of crickets. In order for it to not sound repetitive, I edited the loop into three segments, added them into a random container, and randomized their playback order. The herons sounds in the lake have the same technique.
3) Music: I filtered the music and panned it to the right so that it would give the impression of something sounding from far away, and mixed the crickets and other creatures loud to increase that effect. The music loops can be randomly interchangeable in case of being needed for other parts of the level. However, for this entry purpose, I used a playlist container.
4) Offscreen Sounds: Using offscreen sounds help to expand what is seen on screen, and to provide information about the setting, mood and story. The whole minute is full of these kind of sounds. When the boy gets into the boat, there’s a sound of a bell -you don’t see any bell, but it helps to change the mood. Also, as mentioned before, the mochilero birds help to contextualize the scene.
5) Soft Wind: This was created using Wwise SoundSeed plug-in.
6) Footsteps and Foley: These were based on what was originally in the session; I just replaced the containers with my own sounds.
7) Voice expressions: The voices have pitch variations, and were mixed with the jump sounds.


Final Thoughts
Although we had to make the sound for just one minute of the game, it was a big challenge learn the software, understand the session, and implement new ideas. Now I can at least say I’m a bit Wwiser :)

-Naila