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Diablo 3 had some literally meaty sound design

2 min read

Braaiblo 3

If there’s one aspect of gaming that goes largely unnoticed, it’s the magical world of sound design. We’re not talking soundtracks here, but rather those everyday audio cues, from footsteps to sword-strikes, that level of sound is there, permeating the world of games such as Diablo 3, and drowning out those incessant clicks. But how do they actually make them?

Talking to Kill Screen, Blizzard sound designer Joseph Lawrence revealed that the Foley engineering present, from succubae slaying to demon decapitation, resulted from some rather meaty work. Literally.

Well when we started this game, we all knew that we were going to need an absolutely metric ton of gushy, gooey, squishy sounds. ‘Cause that kind of stuff is everywhere in the game.

Over the years we’ve done numerous sessions for those-we’ve put our hands in giant vats of yogurt, glue. One particularly disgusting session that just looked horrible by the time we got done was this pile of stuff I’d been manipulating with my hands-it started off as bits of spaghetti, then I mixed in some yogurt [and] chocolate sauce; I think there were some packing peanuts.

All these different liquids have a different viscosity and way they sound sticky. We used all manner of vegetables; by the time it was done there was this big pile of disgusting brown goo. There was even a New York steak at the bottom of it that I was slapping against to make splat sounds.

I can’t tell you how many trips to the grocery store I had to turn in to the accounting department when I’d bought 10 watermelons and crab legs. It’s like, "Mmm, what’s for dinner? Doesn’t really look very good!" [Laughs] The grocery store is just a playground for a sound designer.

There are so many things there that make an interesting noise, and there’s no end to the combination of things you can squish together and smash.

Interesting fact here from the interview, is that Lawrence noted that the sound effect gathering sessions usually needed two people present, as one of the engineers would become so covered in supermarket entrails, that it would be impossible to operate the necessary equipment to capture those sounds.

Last Updated: July 12, 2012

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