Soundscape - Caverns
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 large natural cavern, thus, no music, no footsteps, only the sounds of the cavern is what we’re after. Tracks must be able to loop cleanly and provide a rich, high definition canvas for the environment being featured. 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 bat swooping down to attack the listener, 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. The track should be at least (5:00) or 5 minutes in length but longer tracks are welcome.
Gig Details - Descriptions:
Setting’s Environment. The featured cavern is vast, featuring a natural pool of water which has collected in a basin from normal condensation. A heavy echo aftereffect should be added to key sound effects within the soundscape to not only provide a strong contrast to similarly related environments but also to contextualize the specifics of this setting. Special attention should be taken in the type of echo effect used. As a cavern, we want to portray the feeling of a vast, underground, environment, as opposed to say, narrow, winding tunnels. In fact, it’s vital that all efforts are made to make as clear a distinction in this track of portraying a cavern as opposed to other, very similar fantasy locations such as a dungeon or sewer, with auditions able to make this clear likely to stand out among the rest.
Animals. Including some animals common to a natural cavern can help to add that critical 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 caverns include but are not limited to: bats, cave crickets, lizards, large spiders, and other 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.
2. Don’t make it into a zoo. In a bid to make sure that the listeners know where they are, some artists have taken to including a menagerie of animal life, making the track sound more like a walk through a zoo than a believable soundscape. Successful tracks include a limited number of animals and those with more animals, include them in an organic, living sort of way.
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/bats 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 (like a bear), the fall of a large stone in the distance, the sounds of distant strange hissing or exotic voices, a very minor rumble of the earth, a generic magical sound effect, a mysterious gash of wind, quick light footsteps scampering in the distance, and so on, are just some random examples of what this fantasy element can entail. This is your chance to be creative and have some real fun by making these caverns, interesting, compelling, and uniquely yours. 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:
• Subtle. 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. The track cannot introduce any element that forces the Game Master (the one running the game) to introduce something to their game.
• Non-Fantasy Fantasy. Not every ‘fantasy’ element needs to be a dragon or fireball spell. Adding dynamic yet mundane elements such as a breaking of a stalactite, the falls of small pebbles echoing in the distance, the flapping of leathery wings, 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 fantasy layer should overlap with the cavern soundscape organically yet, there should be no dependence. Said another way, 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 bat squeaking in response to a falling stone, either both SFX do not appear in the non-fantasy version or the squeak of the large bat occurs in the non-fantasy version in such a way that it feels normal in the absence of the falling stone.
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!!!