Tim Beaudet’s Indy Time-Trial Racer
Eggcelerate! from Tyre Bytes which is an independant games studio focused on driving games and racing simulation asked me to create some additional sounds in the final stages of developing the easter themed time-trial racer Eggcelerate!
Its my first real gig working for a games studio and i couldnt be happier that i landed it with Tim. He’s been super supportive and generous with giving me this opportunity and the experience has been nothing short of excellent!
Ive been looking for a project to get involved with for about 3 months now, i worked with a few game developers i found on twitch but they were mostly just personal projects or game jam’s that were not going to end up anywhere on the map.
Its very important when choosing who to work with that you engage with them on a personal level. Putting your all into a project can be difficult when working on something you dont enjoy or relate to. Being that i love cars, Racing games and anything with an engine or a bassline. It made clear sense, Tim has similar interest and was on the same page. I was really grateful that I was given the opportunity to work with him on this project.
My Personal view of the game
Eggcelerate is a really fun and quirky little racer, The game dynamics lie around the concept of balancing an egg on the vehicle whilst avoiding dangers and obstacles along the racecourse.
Its very challenging and can be a frustrating keeping the egg in the basket at times, Tim has done a great job of making this challenging but fun. With 30 levels (Even up in SPACE!) your not left wanting for more. The levels are a simplistic visual treat, Playfull and dynamic and as you progress through the game you unlock more vehicles to have fun with!
Driving fast over bumps, catching the egg on landing makes for really fun gameplay. I love the low poly style theme and great driving mechanics its a real treat to play. You can tell Tim spent some time fine tuning the physics, They are definitely engaging and finding ways to launch the egg over the finish line can make for hours of fun gameplay and speedrunning.
I watched Tim over a few weeks on his Twitch Channel finish up the last bits of development to ship the title. It was great to get involved and watch things develop, We even managed to add the sounds i made live on stream and work some problems out. It really helped me work solutions to bugs and problems on demand as they presented themselves.
Being able to watch Tim work problems and bugs out on Eggcelerate helped me learn a lot about game dev as a whole. It’s been many years since i was involved in it, The last time being working with the first version of the Unreal Tournament Engine on a total conversion project themes on the Matrix movie.
I highly recommend watching his streams if you want to learn more or just be entertained by his awesome bird “Monky” sitting on his shoulder whilst he writes code!
I was asked to create some sound effects for in-game obstacles like the “machine-saw” that moves from one side of the track to the other blocking a clear path along the road, The “boxing glove” that smashes into the player and knocks you over and a massive hammer that squashed your vehicle! I also had to make engine sounds for various vehicles. The sounds all have to be mouth generated but still needed to resemble the real world counterparts, be fun and quirky and fit the theme of the game.
Here is the work order i recieved from Tim which outlined what he required.
It was challenging to invision various engine sounds created by mouth that had a unique and specific character, They had to not only seemlesly loop but also sound good when being pitched up to simulate the different engine RPM’s.
Recording the sounds
I started with recording sessions trying out different techniques, Gargling water, Covering my mouth with different cloth and holding metal or plastic containers between my mouth and microphone to create resonances in those materials. It really helped define different character and added a nice resonance in the high frequencies you would get from an exhaust pipe. It definitely was a challenge to make each sound different and resemble the vehicles in-game, Sometimes a mouth recording would sound really interesting but would just not work when put into practice.
Recording some percussive tones to add into the final mix where some engine pinking or rattling was neceseray couldnt be done by mouth so where recorded seperataly and layered in. Mouth sounds tend to be rubbery, Muffled and heavy in the mids so i needed some sounds to bring some fast transient character back into the mix. The percussive recording session took me around 2hours, tapping and banging various diffrent objects untill i had a small library of folly.
I ended up with 84 total usable sounds in the final library but in total i recorded 3h20m of audio. I only used a small amount of this selecting, Splicing and arranging them into usable samples.
Processing the sounds
Some of Tim’s orignal sounds needed trimming, Volume automation and some EQ processing to bring the character out. A touch of fast bus compression at a ratio of 3:1 was used to control any peaky transients, I also mastered with a High Pass Filter at 50hz and a touch of reverb.
Some sounds needed controled lengths so they would time-up to pre existing animation sequences. The Saw and Hammer for example had a short animation time and needed a few tweeks to get right when testing live on stream.
Because of the short timespan to finish the project, there was no time for Tim to add any additional code for audio. Tim was using Unity’s pitch-bend to simulate a rise in RPM so developing the loop points for the engine sounds needed some prior thought and consideration. I took into consideration there was a clear line between the vehicles, Some where old like the 1950’s truck and the Minibus. Some newer like the F1 car, so i split these up and thought about dealing with them as seperate characters. I did some experimenting on FL Studio for about a day figuring out a technique that i could repeat for each engine sound. I knew i would have to layer some sounds, For example the Truck needed three layers, The first for a low muffled rumble the midrange i recorded a “tac, tac, tac” mouth sound and lastly i lightly layered on one of the samples from the percusive recordings session i did.
I found by experimenting with the Start and End Loop points in a sampler the rythm and character of the loop would change, Sometimes it would sound terrible and completely off beat, But once you found the sweet spot it sounds like the engine is skipping a beat, Dropping RPM’s and struggling to turn over, perfect for some of the bigger engine varients.
Blending Layers together
Some of the engine sounds where built up in two, Three, Four layers, This example below is the F1 car where it has a ryhmic top layer from the percusive recording session.blended with a nasal high pitched hum and under this lies a deep throaty tone to give the engine some weight
Original sounds and Time limitation
As i mentioned Tim already had some sounds prepared that needed some adjustment, he also asked me to mix all the sounds so that they all balanced well in the game.
Again because there was no time or coding scope in aiding with audio placement or gain adjustment i decided a simple aproach of leveling the sounds by priority. This is a rough guide and all the sounds where leveled by ear and meter, some engine sounds have more or less harmonics and naturaly sound louder or quieter, some engine sounds where too loud and needed adjusting after testing.
Leveling the sounds
I started with the music and leveled and limited it to -0db, Second highest where the engine sounds which i leveled at -3db with a small amount of dynamic range (about -1 to -1.5db), This also leaves headroom for the music to be about twice as louder than the entire soundeffects bank, if anyone wanted to ever play that way.
The third loudest needed to be the obstacles and skidding which ranged between -3db to -6db, The hammer for example has a louder transient when impacting the vehicle by around +2db, The Saw also exhibits the same properties.
There is a range of eggsplat effects that needed leveling between -4db and -6db acording to where they land.
Atmospheric sounds where leveld between -6db to -9db to keep them in the background.
The cumulative total dynamic range of all samples is around 6db. The engine sound sits the most prominent and iare around twice as loud or less than the sound effects, The ambient sounds are half as quiet as the engine sounds which phycoacousticaly leads the listener into a 3 tier system.
Heres a list of available vehicles and how they sound in-game