Man O’ War: Corsair Music & Sound Part 1

Man O’ War: Corsair Music & Sound Part 1

Man O’ War: Corsair Music & Sound Part 1

Well, It’s mid afternoon and I’m slumped in a chair at a well known coffee shop chain, disappointed with the Tuna Melt i’ve just eaten as nowhere else was open in this little market town of Faringdon, situated halfway between Swindon & Oxford.

So with some time to bludgeon, I thought it would be a good time write a little bit about my role in the making of “Man O’ War”

It’s been well documented now how it’s the love of the original Boardgame/Warhammer world that pushes the Evil’s to make a game everyone can be proud of.

I’m a musician first and foremost with a background in songwriting and performing, so composing music for Man O’ War was at in the ball park of what I’m used to.

Recording the sound effects was a different proposition.

With our budget, we couldn’t really afford for the powers at be to send me off to New Zealand and push me out in a small boat with a microphone and wait for it to start to rain and thunder. (maybe the next game) So we had to do some research and spend many hours finding talented sound recordists. I’ll talk more about this in a future blog.

The music has been an absolute joy to work on, having never written with an orchestral template before. Like so many composers/musicians with a home set up, the possibilities have opened up massively over the past few years with orchestral libraries surpassing even the creators hopes I believe.

So for you techies out there, I’m working on an old trusty 2009 imac using Logic X as my DAW (digital audio workstation) where I create all the music. My ram is maxed out and I’m using Firewire 800 drives to run my samples.

I can then load these sample libraries into the Logic (using Kontakt) and just start playing around with the sounds on a Midi keyboard.

Being a game set in the Warhammer world the word “Epic” does get thrown around ALOT. I’m not even sure what epic means anymore now that lighthearted tv shows are using Strings Ostinato’s’.and Taiko drums at every opportunity over footage of someone baking a cake or putting the final touches on a pot they’ve made.

With the loudness war still being fought and many great composers using sound design to help shape and mould their latest tracks it was an interesting discussion about what direction we wanted to sail down regarding to the feel of the music.

After chatting with James and Mark at Evil Twin we agreed that it was more of a traditional score sound we wanted. We spoke about a “War of Music” where certain elements clash with each other like a battle, and so I’ve tried to assign in my head certain instruments to certain races. The drums are very tribal and very Orc fitting, yet clash with a military snare from the Brettonians.

The Elves on the other hand just seem to pop up in my head when I hear the string legato’s.

These are just some examples and it was good early own to know my template from which to work with.

We’re currently exploring ways to make the music more adaptive so that ear fatigue does not occur for the gamer. We’ve become aware very quickly that although a piece of music can sound particularly good in the game after 5 minutes, after 20 minutes, it’s sending you a little bit loopy and you’re looking for the music off option.

The weather environment in the game is a musical layer in itself and we wanted the gamer to be able to sail the ocean with just the wind in their hair (hair optional) and a Megalodon lurking waiting to pounce!

Essentially my mantra for the music and sound has been “less is more”

So here’s a link to one of the pieces of music that features in the game and hope you like the sounds and feel of it. The piece moves from slightly different moods to reflect the different races in Man O’ War Corsair and I hope it compliments everyone’s else hard work in the game.

Captain Carroll


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