BFBC2 Vietnam Del 8: Ljudet

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Publicerad den november 19, 2010 med 5 kommentarer">5 kommentarer

Här nedan kan du läsa en intervju om ljudet i BFBC2 Vietnam.

Magnus Walterstad, Olof Strömqvist, and Mari Saastamoinen. Extraordinary audio geeks, and perfectly sane people. Really. Photo: Christopher Bennison.

Meet the sound crew at DICE that makes Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam a journey back in time and place, to the 60’s and the jungles of Vietnam. Also, learn the secret art of recording pigs, otters, and home-made flame-throwers.
Hi Magnus! As Senior Sound Designer, what was your gut reaction to Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam?
— I remember thinking ”Let’s make this an homage to our original Battlefield: Vietnam game!” Then I started thinking about NVA propaganda, 60’s music blasting from vehicles, and flame-throwers. The Vietnam War is most likely the war in history that has the strongest link to a specific soundscape. So when we looked at all the possibilities this gave us, we kind of felt like kids in a candy store.

What is good game audio like, do you think?
— Audio is all about emotions and assisting gameplay, without stealing attention from the overall experience. If we’re able to give the player a dreamlike experience, fully immersed throughout the game, then we have done our jobs. You should feel it, not hear it.

How did you want to change the audio in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam compared to the base game?
— One obvious thing was the worn down, slightly broken and dirty weapons. We did not want to move the sound too far away from the original weapon sounds, but still work with the new look and feel. So we decided to make the weapons sound just a tad thicker and less dynamic.

Jet plane + fire extinguisher + balloon + open fire = flame-thrower!

Do you ever improvise to make a totally new sound?

— Yeah, like the flame-thrower for example. It actually consists of two different sounds. One is loopable in stereo, placed on the flamethrower. This sound is based on sounds from a fire extinguisher, a jet plane, and an air balloon. The second sound is one shot, mono, and attached to the long flames that shoot out of the nozzle. This one is made from the sound of an open fire. Oh, and the characteristic M79 grenade launcher ”flump” sound was created by tapping the side of my 22-year old homemade keyboard stand. It just had that perfect hollow tube ring to it.

Hi Mari! You’re in charge of environmental sounds. What did you think when you heard about Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam for the first time?
— I was thrilled! I’ve always loved Vietnam movies and wanted to work on a project like this. I plowed through an entire shelf of Vietnam War movies to get inspiration before I started creating the environmental sounds. I think ambience is just as important as music when it comes to setting the mood.

What do you actually do on a normal day at work?

Either I work in ProTools creating sounds or mixing a trailer, or I’m out recording anything from ambiences to jets. Right now I’m experimenting with my latest equalizers that I got during my work on Vietnam. They’re excellent and have a warm, analog type smooth sound.

— A lot of the rich jungle ambiences I’ve made in surround. It gives it a nice and closer feel to the forest and insects, and that makes it lovely to put in those extra flies and mosquitoes. We’ve actually seen people playing the game trying to wave flies away because they thought they were real!

What kind of vibe were you after compared to the base game?

— In the base game, I wanted the sound to have a documentary, but still epic and movie-like, feel to it. In Vietnam I wanted it to feel more like classic war movies. This is partly down to choosing what insects and animals to include, making sure to keep it at least somewhat geographically accurate. So birds in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam are all from Asia, for example. I have long lists of animals written down in my notebook.

The first page of Mari’s notebook with ideas for possible animals to include in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam. Pot-bellied pig: Check!

Do you have any favorite sounds you created for Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam?

— Yes! On one of the maps, you can hear the Vietnamese pig ”Horace” oink from time to time. There is also a colony of Asian short-clawed otters in there. I recorded the otters last summer when I was on vacation in England and visited ”The Chestnut Centre Otter, Owl, and Wildlife Park”.

And Horace?
— That was a really old and really angry pig that I also met on my vacation. Every time you got close, he got a bit annoyed and squealed angrily, which I thought was pretty funny (he was on the other side of a fence). So obviously we had to record him, and now he’s in the game. Well, you can’t see him, only hear him. I made sure to mix the in-game sound to seem distant and unspecific, so the players don’t assume that they will actually see the pig right in front of them.

The first page of Mari’s notebook with ideas for possible animals to include in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam. Pot-bellied pig: Check!

Do you always bring recorders on vacation?

— Yes. :)

Hi Olof! What did you want to achieve with the new voice-overs in Vietnam?

— I wanted to create a different feel from the base game. This was a different time and place, with a different lingo. I also wanted to bring back certain audio elements from the original Battlefield: Vietnam so returning fans will feel at home. This includes the witty American radio DJ and the Vietnamese propaganda voice.

— One of the new things I introduced was the voice of a news anchor during loading of the maps and end sequences. I think it brings the feeling of the era to life, with its formal tone and delivery that borders on propaganda.

How do voice-over recordings work, anyways?

— We have worked with an agency in England to find a lot of people. Just like in Bad Company 2, we wanted the soldiers to feel like real people, not some macho space marines. The scripts are a mix of lines needed for essential gameplay information, and more non-informative stuff that is there to build atmosphere. I made a framework for the script — what we needed — that was sent to an external scriptwriter who took it from there. When doing in-game voices, it’s imprtant to know what you will hear the most frequently in the game, and therefore needs the most variation. Especially since I hear some people play our games for several hours…

Why did you change the radio chatter from the base game?

— That was to stay true to the era. People didn’t have mini transmitters and earpieces back then. This changes the whole soundscape, since we now have a game world filled with even more people screaming back and forth.

Sensitive guys, once you get to know them.

Sensitive guys, once you get to know them.

What’s your strongest memory from doing these voice-overs?

— Well, this was for Bad Company 2, but I asked our main cast to improvise on a given theme or situation. This got me a lot of fantastic material: they talked about life after death, Woody Allen — anything, really, that we used bits from for situations when the player does nothing for a while. The actors had grown close, having worked together for I think four years.

— In one improvised scene, one of the characters got a bit emotional and went into how much the others meant to him, while they just tried to make a joke out of it. It all felt like a strange mix of reality and fiction, comedy and drama. That was a pretty moving moment in the studio. So, a tip for you if you’re playing the single player campaign in Bad Company 2 — hang back for a while and see what the characters have to say.

That news anchor man in Vietnam is pretty cool. Did he do a lot of improv as well?

— Not really. Those lines are all in the script. But one funy thing was when we were hosting auditions for him. I think we must have had like six people coming in saying ”I’m thinking this guy sounds like Walter Cronkite”, and giving us their very best Walter Cronkite impression [he would be the former IRL news anchor reporting from, among other things, the Vietnam War and Watergate — Editor’s note].

Magnus Walterstad
Audio Director, Senior Sound Designer
Main Vietnam Focus: Sound Effects/Music
Why I’m into sounds: ”To mess with your head!”

Mari Saastamoinen
Sound Designer
Main Vietnam Focus: Environmental Audio
Why I’m into sounds: ”I want to recreate the emotions and experiences that sounds evoke, whether it’s a tank exploding or a gust of air in the desert”

Olof Strömqvist
Audio Designer
Main Vietnam Focus: Voice Director
Why I’m into sounds: ”It’s so strong — it can evoke emotion even without images, or completely change the feeling in what is being shown”


New voice-overs for US and NVA troops (no radio)

American witty DJ at the American bases

American 60’s news anchor presenting every map and end of round results

Hannoi Hannah NVA propaganda speaker in NVA bases

2 hours of 60’s sounding music on the radios in the American vehicles

Also features flies, mosquitos, the black great spotted woodpecker, short-clawed Asian otters, and one angry pig


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