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Interview with Christian Salyer, Music and Sound Designer
These guys rock!
Conducted by Jared

THE COMPANY

1. Can you tell me some general information about your company?

Sure. Sound Element is an audio production studio. We create audio for a variety of projects ranging from PC and Console Games to Movies. This year alone we have music in 4 video games, 5 episodes of nationally broadcasted TV shows and put out 4 different audio CDs.

We can provide our clients with music, sound effects and even the dialog casting recording and editing for their projects.

2. What games have you worked on recently, and what did you do in those games?

Our two most recent titles were Vigilante 8 2nd Offense for Activision/Luxoflux and Top Gear: Hyper Bike for Kemco/Snowblind Studios. In V8SO we did Music for the PSX/and DC versions and we did the Voice work and some sound effects for the PSX/DC/andN64. For T.G.H.B. we did all the music and some sound design.

3. What non-game projects have you worked on this year?

Oh my goodness… lets' see. Some of the other stuff we did just in 1999 was a Children's Album for OneMusic. An R&B/HipHop Album for Zomba/Bruton Music. A Techno-Alternative Rock Album for Zomba/Bruton Music. A production CD for Sound-Ideas, and we had our music in 1 episode of the FOX TV show "Americas Most Wanted" and 4 episodes of a Warner Bros. TV talk show called "The Jenny Jones Show".

4. Do you do any of the coding, or do you just create the sound and music for the development team?

Nope… no coding beyond the basic use of the tools provided by the programmers in the world editors, but we do work with programmers to design how the sound effects should work in the game and create the raw audio that makes the sound possible.

5. What genres of music inspire you?

I would have to say cinematic music and things that have a driving beat. I especially like music that puts those two things together. I am just waiting to do a project were I can realize a design of that nature.

ABOUT VIGILANTE 8: SECOND OFFENSE

5. Did Activision approach you about doing the sound for V8, or vice versa?

I approached the developer Luxoflux (don't you love that name?) with an email. Peter Morawiec responded saying they were looking for someone for their next game. He asked if I could send them a demo and a list of credits. He knew exactly what he was looking for… and luckily we were able to provide him with it.

6. Did you find working with Activision to be a pleasant experience?

I mostly worked with Peter Morawiec from Luxoflux who turned out to be a great person…with a real drive to put out a product he could be proud of (I like that). At the same time though he was laid back and cool. I would love to work with him and his team again, I had a lot of fun. The Activision producer was Murali Tegulapalle and the few times that we meet he was very nice and seemed to love what he was doing.

7. Specifically, what did you do in the game?

My company and I did the Menu and In-Game music for the Playstation and Dreamcast versions of the game. We also casted, directed, recorded and edited the Voice acting for all 3 versions (N64/PSX/DC). In last few days of production we were also lucky enough to provide them with some sound design work too.

8. Were there any restrictions placed on you (due to the hardware and cart format) regarding the Nintendo 64 version of Vigilante 8: Second Offense, as opposed to the DC and PSX versions?

No because we did not do the music for the N64 version. We only provided the edited voice files and some sound effects for this version. All the music was done by another company in MIDI format… They even did a MIDI version of the theme song we wrote for the PSX and DC versions.

9. How closely did you work with the programmers in implementing the sound into the game?

On this title we did not have to do much other then provide the edited files and play test the game for audio glitches and anomalies in the sound. Luxoflux implemented all the audio in the code and did the file conversions for the different formats.

PAST PROJECTS

9. Can you tell me about past projects you have worked on?

I will name 5 games 5 Television shows and 5 audio CDs.

Games:

1. African Safari Trophy Hunter 3D Nfusion / WizardWorks PC
2. Postal RWS / Ripcord PC/Mac
3. Postal Special Delivery RWS / Ripcord PC/Mac
4. Top Gear: Hyper Bike Snowblind / Kemco N64
5. Vigilante 8 2nd Offense Luxoflux / Activision PSX/DC

Shows:

1. 27th and prospect (Documentary) HBO
2. Americas Most Wanted (7 episodes) FOX
3. The Chris Rock Show (1 episode) HBO
4. The Fixer (Movie) ShowTime
5. The Jenny Jones Show (12 episodes) Warner Bros.

   

Album/CDs:

1. Contemporary R&B Zomba / Bruton Music
2. Ear Candy II Sound Ideas
3. Kids Songs One Music
4. Noise Terrorists Zomba / Bruton Music
5. RAPCD1 Zomba / Bruton Music

10. Which past projects were your favorites, and why?

I would have to say Postal for Running with Scissors. It was after doing that project that I realized what music career path I wanted to take. I had so much fun working on the audio for that game I knew I had to put my energy into becoming part of the game industry. It is like the old saying "find something you would do for free and then get paid to do it". Well I have found it and I am going to keep doing it. I feel very fortunate to be blessed with the talent to work in a field that I love.

11. Have you found game companies in the past to typically be easy to work with?

Yeah… I have definitely found the people to be allot nicer then some of the other audio fields I have done work in, yet another reason why I love this industry. We are all a bunch of big kids playing with our toys and making money doing it.

YOUR FUTURE

12. Tell me a bit about your participation in the upcoming N64 game Top Gear: Hyperbike.

OK. We did all the music and some of the sound effects. It was a fairly Basic Job.

Raoul Said, of Snowblind hired us to create a piece of music for the menu and each of the 6 levels in the game; Congo jungle, Egypt dessert, Redwood forest, Florence Italy, Swiss Alps and Celtic coastline. He wanted music loops that were 16bit 22k mono wave files a minute to one and a half minutes long. They also hired us to do some of the sound effects they needed some outside help with.

13. What upcoming games are you currently working on other then Top Gear: Hyperbike?

Shhhhhh It's a secret! Hehehe :)  Nothing I can talk about yet… but as soon as I get the OK I will be sure to let you know. Sorry, I know that is a lame answer but the NDA monster might get me if I tell.

14. What does your company have planned for the future (increased game development, expanding into other media, etc.)?

Games, games, and more games if I get my way. I would be more then happy to work on nothing but game titles for 2000.

15. Finally, where do you see your company in five years?

We will be on the forefront of the game Industry when it comes to audio. I will work hard to make sure it happens. To infinity and beyond baby  :)

We'd like to thank Mr. Salyer for his time. For more information on Sound Element and more sounds please visit their website at http://www.sndelement.com.

Click here to read their complete credits.

Sound Samples:

African Safari Trophy Hunter 3D:
Death
Lose
Menu

Top Gear: Hyperbike (N64)*:
Congo
Egypt

Redwood

Others:
KS Happy 
(From Kid's Songs)
Luge Racing
(from an upcoming Extreme Sports title)
SI 01
(From Ear Candy 2)

*(c)1999 KEMCO. TOP GEAR is a registered trademark of KEMCO.



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