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So "cute sounds are hard to make" others usually say, and i'm now finding that out first hand.

How do you guys go about this? I'm working on a small video game, with fluffy psycho bunnies, and i'm having a hard time making things like electricity bolts and fireballs sound cute, can you guys think of examples for inspiration? I was only able to think of Zelda, wind waker, but even there, they're a bit to realistic.

Thanks!!

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7 Answers

My suggestion would be to try and make them sound "smaller." For example, maybe the lighting bolts sound more like short zaps that are high in pitch, and have a rising pitch on the tail. Maybe the fireballs sound more "poofy" than "whooshy."

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Thanks @Shaun, love the poofy idea! –  Filipe Chagas Jun 15 '11 at 15:19
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maybe roll to musical instrument type sources. bells, chimes, woodblocks, etc. also tubes tend to work well for "thunk" sounds that can replace impacts or launches.

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I'd go for fake! I'm thinking dangerous stuff looks cute when they're made out of paper or cotton.

Like the fireballs, I'd use some plastic or paper wrapping, cellofane, or something that makes a crackly sound. And a low-end woosh, like "air-in-membrane" for the woosh of the fireball.

And the lightning, I'd use some metal sheets like the "thunder-plate". Just something really sort of fake-y to make it sound cute and unreal.

I think you'd like the soundtrack of Dungeon Keeper, if you know that game. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOdy51-QVgE&feature=related that's a clip of it.

Good luck!

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I think for an example you could look at the Raving Rabids games. They are very close to what you describe.

Independent of that, you might try having realistic sounds for the effects of the fire balls and lightning bolts, but have the cute characters make cute sounds layered with them as they either shoot or are shot with these various things. I think the contrast could make for an interesting result.

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That is a cool idea! –  Filipe Chagas Jun 15 '11 at 20:06
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I keep thinking of pitched-up ricochets or synthy "pew pew" sounds. Layer that on top of a zap or something if you want to keep an element of realism there. Maybe a slide whistle or a mouth siren?

Look to the sound your bunnies make for inspiration. Are they firing the bolts and fireballs? Can you connect their sounds to the sounds of the weapons fire?

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Yes, the attacks come out of the "Master bunny"'s hands, haha –  Filipe Chagas Jun 15 '11 at 15:11
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Working with contrast can make the overall result sound cute as well, and even better if you're allowed to make it humorous/funny. As for cuteness I'd probably focus mainly on your psycho bunny and any other character sounds, and contrast that with over-the-top sound effects. It's hard to say - it depends on the style of the art direction, but to me, contrast is often a more useful tool than a specific kind of technical approach.

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I actually had to do this not too long ago. It was a fairly violent little game, but the characters were all cute cartoon animations. First thing I did was look to the old Warner Bros. stuff for inspiration. In the end I wound up mixing "goofy" elements with nasty explosions etc. Can't go wrong with a "boingy" spring sound, thin broken glass type stuff and some good old fashioned "SPLATS". +1 on the concept of making them sound smaller as well. Puts perspective on the non-lethal factor.

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