Various visions popped into our minds: a piece of a gooey-centered candy, a crack of first ice-slicks, a cat’s purr, etc. Once we gathered ideas, we recorded many raw «samples of happiness» that have become the layers, some kind of pleasant packages we could work with and build on sound tracks. We started adding them to every event of the game as audio sweeteners. For example, we’ve enhanced the flag whipping with a handful of starch scattered from a hammer stroke; and the rustle of an old book cover with a shaggy coconut shell.
Let us illustrate the idea with an example. On the video given below, we see a swamp altar sparkling and producing an almost imperceptible glow followed by the appearance of a new character.
The purpose of this event is to show the creature materializing. That’s why we’ve made mixed sounds of magic that take viewer’s attention. Fireworks mark the fervour of the event as they flash around the altar, so we brought the sounds of flying rockets to the foreground in the mix of the audio layers.
Bringing the swamp to life with a gurgle as the characters move across the stone texture of the altar relates to projecting feelings for the environment. These are crucial aspects of audio engagement that we gave to the middle ground of the audio canvas. Finally, fire and sparks of light are the embellishments of the far-distant view adding volume to the event. We voiced them with a nonintrusive crackle of fizzle candies and boosted high frequencies with a band filter.
When creating a sound for magic casting, over 100 layers of audio were utilized. We recorded flower petals, garlic husks, dishwashing sponges, water splashing, and black pepper peas for artistic inspiration.
We complemented the layers with harp sounds from a Spitfire library and mixed it with less than 10% of an audio signal from a Sondtoys granular reverb bus (The magic casting scene is a delicate event, so the excess of granular synthesis, which make the sound either unintelligible, or futuristic, doesn’t belong there).
Thus, we have developed a special sounding style for Skylore with an abundance of life for the ear source recordings, layers of unexpected textures, light touches of creative processing and categorizing the layers at the soundstage according to their importance.
Before starting to score Skylore, our composers had to consider factors such as the plot and the history behind it as well as the style of animation and cultural context. The world of Skylore is imbued with magic, why the musical arrangements were filled with the sounds of harps, bells, and the xylophone. Our desire was to conjure up associations with the kind of fantasy from Disney animations. As the characters of the game and the environment have been adorned with a bright cartoon style, the music has no explicit dissonant motifs or elements escalating suspense. Even facing distinctly prominent enemies should not cause a sense of exclusion.
The story unravels as a confrontation between two factions. One side consisting of morally uplifting characters, acting in the interest of peace and unity. The other is introduced with prideful independence, keen on liberty races, portraying aggression and hostility. Hence why we externalized the motives of the first faction with woodwind instruments, and the defiance of the second one is emphasized by the timpani and brass section.
The inspiration for the music is influenced by the World Of Warcraft soundtracks and the magical universe of Harry Potter, more specifically from its first parts, where the events haven’t yet turned dramatic.