What inspired us?
The idea came when we worked on an open-world game project that required many magic loops for the game's many objects that range from teleportation devices to treasure boxes, runes, and structures, each of various sizes. We had to design most sounds from scratch because we do not have such sounds in our existing library or the market. We needed the sound to be subtle yet beautiful so they fit nicely into the game.
We referenced and sourced for inspiration from games like Genshin Impact, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, TERA, Phantasy Star Online 2, Ni No Kuni 2, Stranger of Paradise, Atelier Sophie 2, and more! Finding magic drone examples in a game was challenging, and we had to rely on our imagination most of the time.
The Design Process
At first, we only worked on creating magic drone loops. But after working on the loops, we felt that it was also necessary to have accompanying magic activation sounds. We also knew we wanted to design a range of sounds from magic shimmers, melodic, dark, sci-fi, pulsing, and machines to elemental loops (electric, wind, water, fire) for more extensive and flexible usage for as many objects in the game as possible.
What we recorded?
We bought an electromagnetic microphone recently and played around with it. An electromagnetic microphone picks us sound waves with frequencies outside human hearing. We recorded many objects at our studio, but the Solid-state drive (SSD), Hard disk drive (HDD), iPhone (on-call) & iMac Display gave us sounds that could work as a magic loop.
@wowsound Do you know what an electromagnetic microphone is? Don’t you agree it looks like a stethoscope too? We have seen many sound designers using such microphones, so we bought one to test it and get new sounds! More videos to come! #sounddesign #soundeffects #creativity #gameaudio #sfx #studio #sounddesignerlife #sounddesigner #sound ♬ original sound - wowsound
@wowsound An electromagnetic microphone on HDD sounds like Orchestra tuning. We recorded random electrical devices we could find in our studio, and this sound was unique as it had a tonal and melodic sound. I could listen to it all day. Other devices mainly give off a high-pitch buzz kind of sound! #sounddesign #soundeffects #sound #sounddesigner #protools #gameaudio ♬ original sound - wowsound
@wowsound How we generate new sounds from one recording. When we design sounds for video games, we often process our raw recordings because we mainly design for 'unrealistic' sounds like magic. That is also why recording your files at a higher quality is important so you can process your sound more without artifacts. #sounddesign #sounddesigner #gameaudio #sfx #sound #soundrecording #experimental ♬ original sound - wowsound
We used back some of our old recordings recorded in 2020 for a Trailer SFX project because we realized we didn't use them for any SFX packs! So we recorded the Kalimba, Tuning Fork, Tibetan Bell, Tibetan Bowl, energy bar, and random objects like the fidget spinner, tin can, massager, and many others.
[ Energy Bar, Tuning Forks and Kalimba ]
[ Random Obects: Fidget Spinner, Face Massager, Tibetan Bell, Metal pip and screws and more ]
Here are some examples:
@wowsound #sounddesign #sounddesigner #gameaudio #creative #soundeffects #zeldabreathofthewild ♬ original sound - wowsound
@wowsound Using the Tibetan Bowl and a violin bow to create magic sounds!? Here's how we attempted to re-create the magic notification sound in Genshin Impact. The sound of a violin bow bowing on a Tibetan Bowl itself already sounds great, so we only processed the sound a little. Although the final results differ from the reference, we are happy and satisfied! #sounddesign #soundeffects #magic #genshinimpact #gamedev #gameaudio #creativity ♬ original sound - wowsound
@wowsound 🏹 Designing a magic charge SFX using a tuning fork and an energy bar #gameaudio #gamesfx #gamesounds #gamedevelopment #indiedev #sounddesign #soundeffects #creative #behindthescene #botw ♬ original sound - wowsound
*Quick Tip for Sound Designers
Always record stuff; you'll never know when the sounds will be useful. Once in a while, we gather random objects at home to record sounds for fun and keep them as a library of sounds to play with! For example, we just found a use for the fidget spinner sound on a tin can so store your recorded sounds somewhere because I'm sure you will have a use for them even if it is years down the road. We recorded a ton of chimes and shakers back in 2018 for our RPG Magic SFX Pack, and it is still useful now.
[ Windchimes, Shakers, Bells and more ]
We generated more sounds from Arturia, our favorite synthesizer, as a pad layer for the drone loops. You can play with the settings for every Arturia patch and change them to suit your needs.
What are our go-to plugins?
1) SOUND TOYS
Our current go-to plugin for adding interesting texture to raw recordings is still Sound Toys, namely the Crystallizer and Phase Mistress plugins.
We love Valhalla for reverbs and use a mixture of ValhallaRoom, ValhallaShimmer, ValhallaSupermassive, and ValhallaVintageVerb to create different depths and textures of reverbs.
3) FABFILTER PROQ3
After purchasing the Fabfilter ProQ3 about two years ago, it instantly became our go-to EQ. You can see the frequency, choose to cut either the 'mid', 'left', 'right' or the 'side', and even set the dynamic range of the EQ!
We bought a new plugin recently and used it heavily for this pack as we are dealing with many high-frequency sounds. Soothe2 is highly recommended by our friends in the audio industry who make music for films, pop music, and more! Soothe 2 helps remove harshness from any sound source, especially the high frequencies in our case. It works great to remove the harshness dynamically so the sound is still but not harsh so our shimmers can still cut through the mix without being too sharp.
That's all we have for this blog post! We hope you learned something new or found anything interesting!