The last few days have mostly been about designing a new palette for the game I’ve been working on Button Up!. In its first iteration Button Up! was Molecule Match, the game mechanics are essentially the same (not accounting for the developments since then) but with a new theme. So as the theme changed from a science based game about molecules to a haberdashery-esc game about buttons, the SFX were in need of an overhaul.
For Molecule Match I went for a bright and synthetic palette, portraying a ‘sciencey’ feel with lots of pops and twinkles. I mainly used Logic Pro’s EFM1 FM Synth layered with various tuned percussion and bits and bobs from around the house that made interesting pops & clicks (Nurf guns and snapping carrots to name a couple!).
For Button Up! bright pops & clicks just didn’t fit, it needed a much softer palette, something that conveyed textiles yet still produced a rewarding flourish. As you probably know, textiles don’t really produce any sound that you could describe as a flourish, for this I looked up the Galactic Assistant by SoundMorph.
Some notable sounds in the game are:
These are made up of marimba hits in quick succession layered with the Galactic Assistant.
As the Galactic Assistant is designed to create hi-tech interface SFX, it’s particularly good at producing diverse and detailed sounds with a lot of pitch modulation. However, the sound I was going for needed to stick to a certain key due to the addition of music in coming updates, too much pitch modulation would be undesirably discordant. I found that using only the “Beeper 2” & “FM Synth” sections of Galactic Assistant produced the best results after fine tuning the FM Synth frequency parameters and removing the harmonics.
The “Psshh” and “Poof” sounds were layered last to give the sound effect a burst of completion. When nothing in the sample library seems to fit there’s always a sound designers most diverse tool, the mouth!
Swap & Shuffle Boosters
These are made from a few whoosh samples and various recordings of any wooden jewellery of my girlfriends that I could find.
Swap and shuffle boosters basically rearrange buttons either one at a time (swap) or all unthreaded (Shuffle). Depending on how many buttons you have unthreaded at the time you decided to shuffle, you’ll hear one of the last 3 sound effects in the preview;
Shuffle small – 5 buttons or less
Shuffle medium – 5>12 buttons
Shuffle large – 13 buttons or more
If you haven’t played the game, these explanations probably don’t make much sense! So I urge you to go check it out and hear them in action.
Yarn Pop, Block Pop & Confetti
Yarn Pop as you may be able to tell is a good old pop of the mouth, what’s probably a bit harder to make out is the flamethrower. The tricky thing with this sound was “what do pieces of yarn flying through the air sound like?”, answer: they don’t sound like anything. So instead of using a whoosh again, I hunted around and came across a few samples of a flamethrower. Pitched up, low cut and layered with the mouth pop produced a pretty convincing effect.
Block Pop was pretty straight forward, it didn’t need to be anything more than what it is. In gameplay it can be heard at the same time as any “pattern complete” SFX, if there were any musical quality to the should the two would have just been fighting for space. Keeping the tonality of the two effects completely different allows them to sit comfortably with each other in game.
Confetti was pretty fun to create, I recorded myself clapping and cheering several times from different areas in the room then layered them all together. I then added a short horn sample and voilà, a crowd cheering on your achievement!
These are only a couple of examples of the SFX in Button Up!, and out of context they probably don’t make as much sense as they would in play, so for a better idea of how they work together go grab the game, it’s free!