First Post!

Hello! Welcome to the Papa Sangre development blog, where we’re going to geek out about how we’re developing Papa Sangre’s gameplay, audio, tech, artwork, PR and the rest.

We’d love to hear from you!

The most interest we’ve had in the game is about the audio — probably unsurprisingly. So let’s have a quick look at that for our first post.

Ben Cave, Papa Sangre producerWell, here’s a couple of members of our team building the first teaser for Papa Sangre, which you can hear here … the rather fabulously good-looking Benjamin Cave, project producer, and the fantastically talented Dr. Nicholas Ryan (sound designer and composer).

There are two main types of audio in the game, both of them binaural.

Nick Ryan, Composer and Sound DesignerOne comes from a software engine that can simultaneously position a number of sounds behind your head — or anywhere else — and move them about in real time relative to where you move in the game (which, we may have mentioned elsewhere on the site, is BLOODY HARD TO DO, at least on a handheld device).

We haven’t got a name for our engine (maybe suggest one — we’ll use it forever and give you a credit!).

The other type of sound involves a few novel techniques using the extraordinary dummy head Neumann lent us (thank you Neumann). The head has the same shape, density and features as a human head, with two exceptional microphones in the ear canals. These shots show Ben and Nick moving around some of our studio speakers (playing mono audio) relative to the dummy head, which records what it hears. This creates flat two-channel files (left and right), which are beautifully binaural when you listen back on headphones.

Picture of Nick and Ben moving loudspeakers relative to the dummy head micA Neumann dummy head recording device

This is not the first iPhone game to feature binaural audio: you can find a few games on the App Store that use a dummy head or something similar to record two-channel binaural files. The beautiful Zen Bound springs to mind. To the iPhone CPU this is as demanding as playing a stereo file (mainly because it is just a two-channel audio file!). The difference here is that we’re also generating binaural audio in real time.

It means the player can move about freely inside the game, and the game procedurally uses an HRTF to work out how sound sources should change relative to the player’s movements in real time.

This was, by the way, BLOODY HARD.

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