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Making some sounds for a mobile game and need to make a force field sound. Doing a little research on it, but thought I'd ask here. Any thoughts?

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the few things that I run into when doing forcefields:

1) electrical forcefields are going to sound different than magical forcefields. Be sure to know what's causing the FF story-wise as you pull together your source elements.

2) forcefields tend to be tricky to mix unless you plan the frequency spectrums out carefully. Its very easy to get caught up making this full frequency drone that sounds amazing but that takes up all of the headroom in a mix and has to be turned way down before anyone can say anything through it. Don't make that mistake - have a very low frequency layer and a very high frequency layer with a fair amount of midrange left untouched or barely touched so that people can talk through it without it having to disappear.

3) consider a continuously moving layer. base that sound on whatever is continuously moving in the visual. things like stretched voices and wispy synth tones are nice touches on good forcefields.

4) don't go too layer crazy. build the 3 to 5 best sounding layers you can build, make sure they each serve a specific purpose in the sound and roll with those.

  • thanks for the feedback! yeah, it's a technological/electrical forcefield. What do you recommend, as source material, for the low frequency layer? It's a mobile game, so it's going to need to sound good without the low end but good when the low end is audible (with headphones, etc). Also, it won't really have "layers" like in a AAA title with middleware and all that. It's a frenetic, arcade-style game. Also, the force field is user-generated. – geekisthenewcool Dec 5 '11 at 0:17
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Try taking any sort of electric hum or buzz and running it through a RTAS pitch shifter with a high feedback. The more you pitch it the more powerful the forcefield will sound.

  • that's almost exactly what I was going to suggest. – Rene Dec 4 '11 at 15:25
  • which direction? pitching it up or down? – geekisthenewcool Dec 5 '11 at 0:10
  • It depends what you want it to sound like. Get in there and experiment with it. – MarcoP Dec 5 '11 at 8:04
  • Some chorus could add a little life to it, as well... – subtlelapse Dec 6 '12 at 20:06
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I just made a forcefield sound by taking a bowed brass prayer bowl and running it through some of the modulation plugs in Pro-Tools. I think I actually used the "Sci-fi" plug, in fact.

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what is generating the force field?

  • electrical, not magic. the player draws the force field with their finger. – geekisthenewcool Dec 5 '11 at 0:11
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    well, there you go. Andy Farnell has an incredible demonstration on basic electrical buzz and you can take that simple idea and run it through many things to your liking, including parametric control to make it "interactive". – georgi Dec 6 '11 at 11:12
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Run a energy sounding synth lead through a doppler and phaser.

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What RTAS plugins are you using? I'm thinking of little electric static sound with a low freq hum from an oscillator

  • i don't know if i'm about to get judged for this, but I don't have ProTools, so I use VST effects. Good call on the oscillator though. – geekisthenewcool May 18 '12 at 21:29
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I agree with Rene don't go to layer crazy, but you may try an electrical hum and an impulse reverb. Set it to a short decay. When you set a convolution reverb to a short decay time, you're basically just affecting the sound. I'm not sure if you have a convolution reverb, but there's one in kontakt, guitar rig, built into logic, waves, a number of things. Definitely invest in one.

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