"I always bring my recorder on vacation"
Mari Saastamoinen Minto
Sound DesignerAmbient Sound Designer Mari Saastamoinen Minto wants to make every game location feel unique and like you are really there. By careful use of audio, she can evoke emotions and tell stories that go beyond what the player can see.
“I love being a sound designer. I just can’t get enough of sound. Even when I’m on vacation, I always bring my recorder so I can catch any sounds that I find interesting. Working with audio in games, I want to recreate the emotions and experiences that sounds evoke, whether it’s a tank exploding or a gust of air in the desert.
Working with ambiences for a level is always a challenge. Communication with artists and level designers is as important as doing research about birds, insects and animals. I usually begin my work by asking questions like: Where in the world are we? What time of day is it? What is the weather like? What is the vibe? All of these things affect the audio. I read books and go through tons of ornithological websites and sound libraries to find the geographically right type of birds and animals for each specific level. I also watch documentaries and movies with the same type of environments to find inspiration and get new ideas.
I have my own private sound libraries where I´ve used recordings from caves to the levels “Operation Métro” and “Damavand Peak”. These are recordings I´ve done when I´ve been on holidays, and I think using your own recordings is lots of fun and makes the final audio feel unique and fresh.
On one level for Battlefield 3, the artist said that there had just been a thunderstorm, and it had just stopped raining. For me, that’s important to know since it gives the environment a totally different sound. From this information, different sounds starts to pop into my head, such as droplets falling from tree branches and drain pipes, footsteps on wet ground, or the distant rolling of thunder as the clouds move away and a cooler gust of wind hits my face.
I try to make every map unique and I rarely reuse content I´ve made myself. I want it to sound realistic and believable and I want you to be able to close your eyes and feel that you´re really there. In real life no two moments sound identical, and I strive for that same unpredictability and depth when designing my sounds.
When designing ambiences there’s lots of room for storytelling. Things like the hungry cat on “Seine Crossing” and the broken relationship in “Uprising” in Battlefield 3 are all things that add life and believability that there is a world beyond what I can see as a player.”