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Chapter 12. The Sound of Games > Creating Music Loops - Pg. 249

The Sound of Games 249 Below are a few possibilities for home-grown sound design that you may find helpful. Some are realistic, some are melodramatic and cartoony. It is up to the sound designer's imagination to ef- fectively use these ideas and come up with more. Table 12.1. Sounds from Scratch Desired Sound Arrow, swinging fist, or swinging anything Bushes Electric shock Boiling water Crashes Materials with Which to Fake It Swing various-sized sticks, wires, and so on about 6 inches from the microphone Broom straw rustling. Two blocks of wood covered in sandpaper; make one long stroke. Use a straw to make bubbles in water. Make a "crash box"--a wooden box (or cardboard for smaller crashes) filled with clangy metal things. Toss in some glass and even plastic containers for variety. Seal it up well, and beat it around to get the crash effect. If you were backstage in a live theater, you might see a 2-by-4-by-2-foot box attached to a crank that spins it. Put some newspaper in a few inches of water and slosh around with your hands or feet. Use the equalizer in your sound-editing software to remove the bass. Some programs even have a preset for phone voice. Open an umbrella really fast for a burst of flames. Crumple up thick cellophane near the microphone for the crackle. Knock coconut shells together. Cover them with cloth for galloping on grass, and so on. Slap a ruler against various surfaces, or fold a belt in half and snap it. The easiest, most common way of getting a large, boomy sound is to take a recorded sound (such as waving posterboard or really low piano notes) and just slow it down substantially with the sound editor, maybe adding some reverb to make it ring out. You can make a multitude of aircraft and space sounds using a garden-variety hair dryer. Just record the motor sound starting up and turning off, and then, with the sound- editing program, slow down the sound or speed it up--or try it in reverse! Mud Telephone voice Fire Horses Gunshot Thunder Aircraft such as airplanes or spaceships Fact: Almost every sound in Star Wars was made by recording common everyday items and then making common alterations and modifications to the sounds, such as slowing them down, reversing them, or adding reverb. Try these on your recorded sounds and see what you come up with. To some extent it is even OK to use someone else's prerecorded sounds to play with and edit yourself; just be sure that you are making significant changes to the sounds, because it's not cool to steal. You can find a brief list of online sound resources in Appendix E,"Developer Resources." Creating Music Loops Much like tiles for the background of a Web page or those in a tile-based world, a music or audio loop is an economical means of creating a larger sound or musical idea from a smaller one. The goal is to make the loop seamless and interesting. In most cases, there should not be any sense of beginning or end to your sound because this very quickly creates monotony. Looping sound has been in use since the early days of electronic music and musique concrète (a form developed in the early 1940s, based on the recording, mixing, and synthesizing of sounds found in nature). In the old days, loops were created by splicing the ends of a tape-recorded sound and piecing the start and end segments of the sound together with splicing tape. This looked like--you guessed it--a loop. The sound designer would then set the looped tape on the reel-to-reel and hit the Play button, and