The Creation Process
Being that I live in Dallas, TX and work a full-time job while also going to school full-time, I first had to recognize my limitations. There was simply no way I'd be able to physically capture the audio from many of the animals I wanted to use. Unfortunately, I had neither the available time nor the resources to do so. Still, I made use of what I had and thus was able to obtain several audio samples of various animals from soundideas.sourceaudio.com. As shown here, I carefully laid out my plans for each asset and went to work.
D'kuk and Kraktoh are the two planets visited during the Uranus Attacks! gameplay. From the images I saw of the planets, they were both barren and foreboding while also being home to strange creatures called the Barnadys and Fnoons.
I wanted to give each planet its own unique sound so the player would be able to distinguish between the two. My goal was to make them seem dark, eery and full of mystery. Why were they barren? Where were the other creatures on the planet? These are the types of questions I wanted both the ambience and the sounds of the planets respective inhabitants to both ask and possibly answer.
For Kraktoh, the source audio was from Killer Whales while using California Sea Lions for Dkuk. Once I acquired the audio, I began experimenting with different time-based effects. I found that by stretching them out using Varispeed (thus reducing the overall pitch) and then adding a bit of reverb to reduce any harshness was a step in the right direction. Additionally, I also duplicated, reversed and then layered that sound file over the existing which allowed me to get the finished product.
Deciding to let the audio duties of the engine fall to my cat, Pancakes, it was a simple matter to turn on my personal Zoom recorder, lay it down next to him, and then treat him like the spoiled cat that he is. For such a small cat, he creates a surprisingly deep purring sound. Once captured, I had to do a bit of cleaning up with an EQ to cut out the background noise. Then it was a matter of reducing the pitch, adding a bit of compression to even the sound out and, finally, a EQ plug-in to isolate the frequency range which really stood out as 'mechanical' sounding.
After submitting the first draft, the feedback I received stated that it didn't sound spaceship enough. It needed a more space-like quality to it and a flanger was suggested. I went back and made those modifications which did the trick. My cat has now become a flying, alien-zapping spaceship.
The Barnabys and Fnoons are the subjects of the player's affection in Uranus Attacks!. The two alien creatures needed to be foreign sounding (not of this world), be distinctively different, and also sound as if they're in pain as the player incinerates them with their spaceship.
For the Fnoons, I used sounds from a Walrus while for the Barnabys, I used the sounds from both a Camel and from that of a Beluga Whale. Initially, I didn't have to do very much to the camel sound or the Walrus as I wanted to give the impression that they were large creatures. However, the feedback I received was that they were just too deep sounding and gave the impression that they were angry and not in pain. I went back in and raised the pitch to get the desired effect. The animal assets were fun to work with as they already had animal-like qualities to them. As such, they only needed to be manipulated to sound less like creatures from Earth.
The staccato-like sounds created by Raccoons seemed to be a perfect fit for the Teleport In/Out assets. Using the Vari-Fi plug-in, I was able to take the Raccoon sound and give it a warping sound which, when combined with a flanger, seemed to match up well when combined with the engine asset.
For me, the vaporizer was the most challenging asset. Given the fact that I used the original sound of a Red Chickaree squirrel, my original asset came out sounding too small, too weak, and not matching the image of the large vaporizer which was portrayed on the screen.
After receiving some feedback, I ended up doubling the layer and then lowering the pitch of the second layer. This gave it a much fuller sound which, when combined with the Vari-Fi plug-in to give it a more defined drop in pitch at the tail end of the clip, seemed to complete the vaporizer asset.