[This just in from Scigor of SFGames. He has been using Studio One Prime in the development of a forthcoming game, and is doing some fascinating things with it!]
And I’m the (crazy) mastermind behind SFGames, an indie games development team made of creative waywards.
SFGames is a team of artists and professionals joined together to work on various projects, starting on our first game with the working title of “Operation Cerulean Dew”—an action survival/horror game with sci-fi elements. We are lucky enough to be part of OSVR (Open Source Virtual Reality) partnership, so in addition to our main game, we have the chance to make new projects exclusively for Virtual Reality. We grabbed a great opportunity to develop an educational project for the Centenary of the Great War. And we have another cinematic VR project in the pipeline, a fantastic journey about human imagination and the spark of creativeness.
Illustration and character design are my main activity but I’m also a 3D enthusiast, passionate about video games and animation, and interested in many others artistic fields like music and cinema; a kind of “factotum” artist. But I’m not a pro musician; my approach is very self-taught and by ear. So why do I take care of sound design by myself?
Because I’m fascinated by how any forms of art are inextricably linked—creative ways to express emotions and ideas. For any idea that I write, every illustration that I paint, or melody that I record, I cannot think of these as separated things. If you’re creative, you can develop anything with the right methods and skills—but you will also need the right tools!
All this led me to a new approach to sound design and scoring, since these projects represent VR experiences addressed to a much more cinematic style in a “real” 3D space. While Francesco (our musician) has been working with Pro Tools and Logic, I’ve always tried to get by with free software as GarageBand, Ardour, and Audacity—but non of them offered enough. A couple of years ago I came across Studio One, which I found amazing from the beginning, mostly due to its great sound engine, so I was immediately convinced to use it in my work. It’s one of the very few programs that I was able to use right away without reading the manual!
I must say that are many artists like me with the need for a friendly and intuitive interface like Studio One, and while some state that the user interface doesn’t matter when you make music, I believe otherwise. Complex and hard-to-use interfaces become boring over time, and we are forced to waste too much time to learn how to use it, rather than create.
I’m working in a Windows multi-monitor environment, with a Wacom Cintiq tablet with touch screen as second monitor, and because this setup makes it hard use a standard keyboard (my tablet is huge), I mapped the most used key commands to a programmable Logitech G13 gameboard. Studio One works perfectly with my tablet, and it’s so responsive that I can “paint” music!
Even if Francesco is the one that works on the main soundtrack, I also have ideas that sometime I want use in our games. My workflow starts with a simple idea or direction to follow, a main theme using my simple template for scoring. So I basically rough out what the theme should sound like: add some instruments (a free orchestral library), some textures and colors, just to blend and fill the sound. And Studio One helps hugely on “sketching” quick ideas. Once I’ve reached my technical limitations, I send everything to Francesco who provides a professional rework of my ideas.
When it comes to sound recording and editing, I start with recording foley and sound effects on my own, if I have the right gear available. When I cannot do this by myself, I send some samples (sometimes made with my own voice on a webcam, as a guide) to Francesco: I give him a sound assets list and he records all needed sounds with extra variations. I remix everything in Studio One, and once I’ve finalized the sounds, I export the stems as sound cues for Unreal Engine.
I like that Studio One Prime is almost a complete DAW per se, very important in the Indie world! I find it very user friendly and works smoothly on any platform; I can still use it on my five years old MacBook Pro, and I don’t notice a difference in performance.
Also, I cannot work without the visual workflow and tool palette that Studio One provides me. Intuitive, simple, direct. What I need and in the right place. And scratch pads! I never get tired to say how useful they are for someone like me who doesn’t have knowledge of reading or writing musical notation, but has a lot of ideas to remember! And last but not least, I have never had a crash.
There are still many things I want to explore and experiment with Studio One, like the powerful macro system and the Mix Engine FX , very useful to give emphasis and personality to a set of sound effects all at once. As I said at the beginning, I’m not a professional musician, but Studio One fits my workflow naturally, and makes me feel as I’ve always use it. It simply sounds better!
I recommend Studio One 3 to indie developers and artists on a budget who want to start with a free yet powerful DAW, and later can move to more powerful versions for cheap.
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