BattleBards is working for a high-profile, undisclosed client set to release a new product aimed at the tabletop gaming market. As Audio Producer for this product, BattleBards will create and manage the audio needs required for this product with all final decisions regarding track selection handed off to the client. Selected artists will be credited with the creation of the tracks purchased. All Gigs are full Buyout only.
This Gig is for an environmental soundscape, that is, a soundscape featuring a specific environment. We would like to provide gamers with a track that can be played highlighting the sounds of being deep within a filthy, underground sewer system thus, no music, no footsteps, only the sounds of the sewer is what we’re after.
A challenge here is to make each track somewhat general, able to be used in a multitude of situations. For example, if you include the sounds of a giant alligator coming through a sewer pipe, use of this track would be limited to too few situations where such a thing occurs, that’s too narrow a range so this must be avoided at all costs.
Looping: Tracks must be able to loop cleanly and provide a rich, high definition canvas for the environment being featured.
Runtime: The track should be at least (5:00) or 5 minutes in length but longer tracks are welcome.
- Subtle Atmosphere - We need these tracks to be used in almost any situation so accenting sound effects featured need to stay unobtrusive, distant, periphery. Avoid any close range sound effects that could cause someone to pause, panic, or turn around.
- No Listener – Do not include the presence of the listener in any capacity. For example, no footsteps, no voices, nothing. Only the environment is featured.
- No Music – If the artist wishes to insist on some music, a very light layer of music maybe permitted by only to add to the atmosphere of the setting but this should be used sparingly.
The featured sewer is underground and constructed in stone. The sewers are in active use thus the sounds of gently running water can likely be heard in some form or another throughout the track. In fact, occasional small waves of water (filled with sludge) are a likely sound as buckets or troughs from the city above are dumped to clear the streets. A slight echo aftereffect added to key sound effects within the soundscape can help to portray a since of being in a large series of winding tunnels.
Including some animals common to sewers can help to add that grounding context needed. But REMEMBER, we need these tracks to be used in almost any situation so the animal sound featured need to stay unobtrusive.
Some normal animals commonly associated with a sewer include but are not limited to: mice, rats, snakes, opossums, raccoons and various insects.
When adding animal sounds, make sure:
1. They are not too close. Funny thing about players at a gaming table, if they hear a creature nearby, they’ll likely want to kill, ride, or dominate it and if the person running the game doesn’t have that in mind, it’s going to frustrate everyone. Keep those animals safely in the periphery, part of the background. The exception of the closeness rule are mice and rats, it’s OK to hear them both close and far to the listener.
2. Don’t make it into a zoo. DON’T include a menagerie of animal life. Successful tracks can include a limited number of animals or those with more animals, but they should be included in an organic, living sort of way.
Limit Repeats of Clips and Loops:
If you’re going to embed many loops you need to be careful. These soundscapes are meant to be looped in a gaming session which can play for hours. Over saturating any one element will likely become grating to the listeners. Make sure those loops you embed (water/rats squeaks being the most likely) are done so with enough variation to avoid becoming jarring.
The Light Fantasy Layer:
As gaming focused audio, we need a touch of fantasy to our soundscapes. A layer of subtle fantasy accenting SFX should be included in the piece. A very distant, faint, echoing roar of some large animal, the faint splashing sounds of a human sized creature running in a water filled tunnel, the sounds of distant strange hissing, occasional bubbling of water, echoing screech of a ratman (half rat, half man) are just some random examples of what this fantasy element can entail.
Adding this light layer of fantasy is often cited as the most challenging part of creating a soundscape, the following are some bullet points to keep in mind:
• REMEMBER THE SUBTLE RULE IN THE FIRST IMPORTANT NOTE. This is the most important bit of advice. Notice how all of the examples included above include the words “faint” and “distant”. All fantasy elements must be unobtrusive and pushed into the background of the piece like the other SFX. The track cannot introduce any element that forces the Game Master (the one running the game) to introduce something to their game they do not intend. To test whether a sound effect you want to add to the track is obtrusive, ask yourself “will someone walking around in this environment suddenly stop if they hear this?”
• Non-Fantasy Fantasy. Not every ‘fantasy’ element needs to be over-the-top like a ratman or fireball spell. Adding dynamic yet mundane elements such as a rusty steel grate moving in the distance, the sounds of stone blocks splashing in the water, scratching on the walls, and so on can add a sense of ‘life’ to the piece which, thanks to the setting of the game, will work with the player’s imagination to make these feel fantastical.
• Don’t Go Overboard. The artist is at their discretion when deciding how full their fantasy layer will be, however, making your environment too active will likely freak players out and make for an unusable track for a Game Master.
• Layer Dependence. The non-fantasy soundscape should be able to stand on its own, with no reliance on the fantasy elements. For example, if the fantasy layer includes the sounds of a large rat squeaking in response to a falling stone block, either both SFX do not appear in the non-fantasy version or the squeak of the large rat occurs in the non-fantasy version in such a way that it feels normal in the absence of the falling block.
For references of how to execute the addition of subtle, non-obtrusive fantasy and non-fantasy accenting SFX, check out these previous Gigs before featuring other soundscapes:
Audition: To audition, please upload an MP3 of the track with the light fantasy layer.
Deliverables: Both the light fantasy version (with the fantasy layer) and non-fantasy version (without the fantasy layer) is required.
Please note that there will be no tolerance for stolen work, so make sure that submitted auditions are original compositions and that you have 100% rights to use and sell everything that you submit for consideration.
Most important of all, have fun making these! Talent that enjoys immersing gamers in these settings tend to be the most successful since it often shows in the track. If you have any questions, please shoot us over a message through Audio Catch, we’ll try to answer all of it, don’t be shy. Good luck!!!