Beginnings

I got my start in game sound design at Leapfrog, designing on toys with tiny speakers.
 

 
I remember how diligent my collaborators and I were…We could have settled for porting a general set of samples onto the baserom, but no…we had to make sure the audio engine had the capability to extend the instrument set to the cartridge each time, for nearly each individual title, to be able to include some kitty meow instruments for games featuring cats, some synths that were a little more complex than just a square or sawtooth wave for our arcade titles, some percussion variety, something that sounds like a gamelan but wasn’t… all kinds of different hand-built sample sets. In these BGMs I even drew in layers of decreasing velocity in repeated notes in the piano roll to imitate BPM-synced delay effects (no DSP in midi). The compositions were precious, and I was determined to make everything sound great, no matter what the limitations in channels, bit rate, sample rate, polyphony.
Listening back to some of them, in a world of very sweet-sounding products, I can’t believe that they let me get away with so much beepy electronica in games for toddlers.

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