Over 80 microphones set up to capture gun sounds, with mics dotted over 5km
Swedish studio EA DICE has offered a glimpse into Electronic Arts’ scale of ambition on the Medal of Honor reboot project – with the developer claiming to have attempted ‘the biggest gun recording ever’ for the game.
EA DICE audio director Stefan Strandberg tells Develop that his own studio and EALA spent two days with movie recordists and nearly one hundred microphones to record the game’s gun sounds in the most meticulous fashion.
“I think it’s the biggest gun recording ever attempted – a joint venture with the Medal of Honor team,” he says in an audio-focused interview.
The audio operation was used to create sounds in both Medal of Honor and Battlefield Bad Company 2.
“For two days we had movie guys Jean Paul Fasal and Brian Watkins there with an 80 microphone set-up capturing every weapon sound you can imagine to both computer and analogue tape recorders,” Strandberg says.
“We even had people sync-recording in the mountains five-kilometers away.”
“The resulting ProTools sessions allow you to create any kind of weapon sound you like, though the portrait of the tail is a constant, which is why we still like to use ‘guerrilla’ recordings we make during the military exercises that take place around Stockholm periodically. Running around the forest with shotgun mics – recording from the hip – also yields some fantastic assets,” Strandberg adds.
Medal of Honor, a joint project between EA LA and DICE, is EA’s latest bid to usurp Activision’s reign on the war-based FPS market.
DICE itself is working on the multiplayer component of the game – an understandable move considering its reputation in multiplayer design.
For Battlefield, DICE had implemented a series of new audio techniques – some of which gave the audio team an unprecedented level of authority on the project.
As Strandberg explains: “We’ve gotten out of the audio rooms and worked with other disciplines more collaboratively. For example, if you want to make something louder, sometimes pushing up the volume slider isn’t enough.
“So we went to the FX artists and said, ‘look, the explosions won’t feel dangerous if we don’t shake the camera,’ and in an unusual development, we audio guys ended up controlling the camera shake so we could ensure perfect synchronisation.”
He added: “In fact, not only do we trigger and control the shaking x, y and z parameters from the audio engine, we also trigger rumbling of the joypad. It’s all done subtly but it makes the explosions seem louder – it’s like we’ve got more dimensions to work in.”
Further revelation on the audio design of Battlefield can be found here.