Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Midas Touch!

Friday, Mr.Midas was packed up in a patch and sent off to the land of Newerth.
Now let's talk about his sound:


In Greek mythology, Midas was a king who was rewarded for his kindness (debatable) with a wish from the god Dionysus. In his stupidity, he chose the power to turn everything he touches to gold.
He learned through his folly, that you should be careful with what you wish for.
Personally, I would rather have gone with a wish of "Guns that shoot dub-step." But maybe he was a little bit more country with a dash of greed.

Anyway, I knew gold would be involved.

After seeing the character model, I decided to not record any foley sound. He didn't have anything on him that would make a specific sound unique to the character, there's his golden hand but, it doesn't play an important role to the character (i.e. no special effects or anything for it). His alternative model however, is a man made entirely out of gold. I might at a later date do some foley sound for his golden body movements but as of now, he will remain silent.


S2's Nome wrote the finalized script for Midas that was then put up for auditions.
2 out of the 13 auditions we got, really stood out.
It was important that we didn't use a voice that sounded like our Witch slayer's alternative avatar: Pimp Slayer.

So Turner Battle (an epic last name), ended up being our favorite.
He had the perfect king-like voice and could actually churn out some great tidbits.

Since his alternative hero looked less human with his body made entirely out of gold, I decided to process his voice a little bit, making it sound different.
The following audio is his normal voice first with the processed one after:

Sound Design:

Attacks and Whooshes:

He throws a stone\nugget made of gold. (I just call it the philosopher's stone.)

For his impacts, I wanted a sound that would bleed through all the other attack sounds in the game, making it easier to identify:
I ended up recording sounds of chains being dropped on the ground, iron pipes hitting other iron pipes, a hammer hitting an anvil and the sound of a waterphone.
I used various plug-ins to give it a more "magic" sound.

In order to create the whooshes, I simply used a doppler effect plug-in on the attack sounds:

Ability 1:

Midas throws 5 bottles of liquid gold that smashes into the ground.

I had previously done some bottle sounds for Master of Arms and I really liked the sound of the throw.

After trying out some sound library sounds, I decided that since I didn't have enough nor the correct ones I needed, that I would go and record beer bottles being thrown - bouncing on the ground and smashing (worry not fellow drunks, I had "emptied" them prior to the recording! *hic*).

I then recorded the sounds of blowing into a bottle and put a Doppler on it for the whoosh sounds.

For the glass impacts, I used the previous smash sounds and added the sound of thick mud and water splashes.
I then sweeten the sound by using the previous attack impacts of the golden stone, but ran them first through a pitch change filter that stretched it and gave the sound random pitches.

As you will be able to hear in the following two first clips, the sound of the bottle impacts are directional, this means that if a bottle breaks behind the camera view, the sound will be played behind the player, same is true for in front, left and right. Though not incredibly amazing, it should give an interesting detail to the player's game session:

Ability 2:

For his second ability, he sends out golden lions that runs to a selectable area and explodes.

From the moment I saw it, I knew that I had to get the sound of lions running.
Obviously, I can't go to a zoo and ask for some lions and demand them to run while I record them because:

A, I'm "allergic" to scary big cats and
B, I didn't have much time.

To reproduce something believable, I had to record three different things:

1, Me running barefoot on dirt (Which made my neighbour think I had totally lost it)

2, Using a pair of worker gloves and slamming my hands on the dirt in a specific tempo (A kid came up to me and asked if my parents wouldn't ground me for doing this. When I said no, he said: "You are soooo lucky!")

3, Kicking up dirt (with a shoe on.)

I then made sure they were in sync and then compressed and equalized them for some sub-woofer love, I also made sure to make them loop, so if the balance team decides to make the lions run longer or shorter, it would not be a problem.

The second thing I worked on was the cast sound. I knew that we wanted to have Midas to occasionally say something that every player could hear, so no need for a lion's roar.
Instead, I used a recording of a french horn and processed it so much that it didn't sound like it used to.
I used a recording of a gun that I processed to be more "magical" and then layered a wind chime over it.

For the explosion, I ended up recording ceramic super-cheap vases that I destroyed, because it didn't sound like glass.
To my ears, it would work perfectly for gold debris or a statue breaking apart (more about that later).

I used the sound of thunder and processed it a little to be more aggressive. I also used some lion roars and snarls to sweeten the sound.
To top it all off, the low frequency sound of a Howitzer, was used to give it that extra push in the start:

Ability 3:

He melts into liquid gold, teleports to a location and reappears.

A friend of mine works with metal in an industrial workshop and often need to melt huge chunks of it. I called her and asked if I could record some sounds at her place and she happily obliged.

I stood in her workshop thinking I would faint, while she melted metal in that ridiculous heat. I was so scared the microphones I had with me, were going to die, but incredibly, they didn't.

Metal makes some of the weirdest gurgle sounds I have ever heard, monster quality gurgles.
Though I recorded 2 hours worth of material, I only used 3 seconds of it for the melting ability.
I layered some water bubbles a top of it because, why not!

For the weird looking stream of gold that flies through the air to the location Midas will reappear, I reused his attack whoosh sounds and created some Doppler effects out of the recordings of the metal melting. Also, he will randomly laugh when he flies around.

For when he reappear; I recorded a coin hitting hard on a wooden table, a firework explosion that's been slowed down, steam from cooking potatoes (nom!) and I reused some of the snarls of the lions:

Ability 4:

By combining any of the three abilities upon an enemy, the enemy turns into solid gold for a few seconds.

This was a hard sound to get right, it would play on any that turns into gold and, considering that all of Midas' abilities are in fact AOE, I couldn't make a sound that would be loud.
I had to instead make a soft but slightly more unique sound than any of his other abilities.

The sound was made by yet again using the impact sounds I had made previously (for his normal attacks), and make them into whooshes; this time however, slowing them down even more. I then added a bell sound to be an indicator:


Midas explodes into a gold statue that breaks apart.

For his death animation, I started to run out of time. I decided to re-use previous recorded sounds and what ever I could find in my sound library that would work.

I wanted the blocks of gold to slide on the ground and I ended up putting something together that I was quite happy with:

Midas was an interesting challenge but I am glad to finally be done with him.
For more information about Midas, check out his spotlight video:


  1. Hey man just wanted to drop by and tell you how awesome I think it is that you're doing all of this. Not only are you posting about how certain things are done, but you're doing screenshots, AND videos.

    Checking out all of these things really is a great experience for me. It's more of an inspiration to me than anything else. It reminds me not to be so anal with my work, but to be more creative with it.

    It's cool to see that you implement little things to a sound just to make it that much cooler.

    I admire your work. You're a solid sound producer.


  2. big thumbs up for ur work i love all your works/mods and this one here is impressive

  3. The sounds fit really well with all the abilities; especially the bottles (love the directional sound!) and the metal/water bubbling in his teleport.

    I always find it intriguing how random sounds can end up sounding more like the actual sounds than the actual sounds themselves.

    Keep it up!

  4. Hey, quick question for you guys at S2 sound design.

    BreakyCPK said that he'd sent all the voice files over to S2 for his announcer pack almost 6 months ago, but we still don't have it out. I just want to know what its status is, as it's been in the works longer than the Duke Nukem announcer pack but keeps getting delayed.

  5. It is being delayed because I keep on hearing it's not good enough.