The Musical Landscape of Dark Frontiers: Interview With Lead Sound Engineer and Composer

It’s undeniable that sound design and music have played an increasingly important role in the experience of video games. Whether it’s the Mario Bros tune that got stuck in your head when you were a kid, the chills-inducing soundtrack to Silent Hill 2, or the all-immersive sensory overload of games like GTA V or Skyrim.

We all have fun, scary, eerie, triumphant memories tied to the soundscape of our favorite games. That’s why today we are lucky to be able to interview Dark Frontiers’ Lead Sound Engineer Wade Fyfe and composer Pete Roche.

During this chat, we’ll discover more about the sound and music being conjured up for Dark Frontiers!

Question:

We are still in relatively early stages of game development, but have you had one ‘aha!’ moment when creating the soundscape or the musical score to Dark Frontiers that got you particularly excited?

Wade:

There have actually been a few ‘aha’ moments during development, mainly during the production of our ‘organic’ alien species. We are currently chipping through weeks of trial and error to create unique and horrifying sounds for these multiple species. I guess one of the moments that changed our direction of development was when we started mangling with wet latex plastics, this can produce a very natural and gore-ish ‘flap’ sound. Blended together with some panting and eating recordings from our studio dog Joey, We’ve come across some pretty unique audio textures. 🙂

Pete:

Almost every score I produce for Dark Frontiers gets me excited. I am trying to be in the game as much as possible, and then make dedicated songs for its areas, characters, parts, moods, or anything else that catches my attention at that moment. Seems like there is some kind of musical storage in my head, parts of which need to be connected to the specific elements of Dark Frontiers. This process is very inspiring!

Question:

Are there previous video games’ treatment of sound and music that inspire you when creating sounds and music for Dark Frontiers?

Wade:

During very early development we looked at other sci-fi games to make notes of and references with the team about what direction we should aim. However, DF is pretty specific in its aesthetic and the mood of the game is a large part of what makes it interesting so we’ve opted to try to create something completely unique.

Pete:

This is my first video game that I am composing a music score for. I come from a musical background, which is mostly related to mainstream and pop styles. But there have been some interesting projects that I’ve been working on: Movie scores, international collaborations for pop artists, songs played at major radio stations and clubs worldwide. Currently I am working on a very inspiring project with blind people, helping them (and myself) to understand the sound, its roots and sources.

Question:

Wade, has there been a particular sound that you have achieved in DF that you are particularly proud of? In previous talks, you told us about how you recreated the sound of boots walking on moon terrain.

Wade:

I’m extremely proud of everything we’ve made so far. 🙂 There are obvious areas of improvement that we are aware of and working on but so far It’s all been a sublime experience. We continue to improve until we fully achieve the immersive experience that the game deserves.

This is a 1970s military radio mic we use for a lot for the astronaut in-helmet sounds :)

Question:

Pete, who are the composers and musicians who have impacted you most in your life as a composer for game musical scores?

Pete:

So many of them, but here are a few. The first thing that is in my head was my participation in the orchestra. I got classical training and understanding how instruments work, separately, in groups. Stuff about arrangements, dynamics, moods and accents.

Next biggest musical impact is NOISIA — three amazing gentlemen from the Netherlands, making drum and bass music. It is very precise, melodic and energetic electronic music.

Alessandro Cortini also made an impact on my musical scores. Listening to him, I’ve encouraged myself to play and produce more with synthesisers, express and record the emotion while jamming and not sitting at the computer trying to get something done on the screen.

Question:

What is the overall effect you wish to give to Dark Frontiers through your craft?

Wade:

Nostalgic sci-fi horror.

Pete:

I would like Dark Frontiers to be as intuitive, smooth and dynamic as possible. Through my craft, I wish that people playing the game could hear the dedicated songs. And feel them deeply, with all of them cringy parts or imperfections that symbolise other types of aesthetic understanding that are present nowadays.

Question:

What aspect are you most looking forward to working on that you still haven’t had the chance to sink your teeth in?

Wade:

Hmmm, I would say that we haven’t gotten as deep into the binaural ambience effects as much as we would like to so far, but we must respect the process of development, that sort of effect and fine-tuning will come later down the line. 🙂

Pete:

Definitely, working on the actual development of a game itself. I Had a chance to learn and adjust some of things inside the developing software and now I am looking forward to doing more of that. As a sound designer and engineer I will be working with such aspects as environments, spaces, echos, samples, special fx, etc.

Question:

Thank you so much for sharing your secrets with us! Any final comments on Dark Frontiers?

Pete:

Thank you for your questions. I am very grateful to be a part of this amazing game! wishing the best of luck to the whole team, as well as my partner Wade. See you soon!

The creation process of a game as complex as Dark Frontiers possesses many small aspects that work together to make a solid gaming experience. Make sure to follow us so you won’t miss our next dev interviews!

About Dark Frontiers

“Dark Frontiers” is the newest, gamified space realm governed by a Gamestarter produced DAO. As NFT standards and values are shifting towards promoting use-cases, Dark Frontiers’ goal is to drive mainstream adoption by enhancing the usability of NFTs through staking, item ownership, and the creation of real-world value through in-game items.

Embarking on the gamified metaverse, players will pilot their own spaceship and conquer new planets, defeat oppositions, form guilds and capture new and unique NFTs that can either be built on or sold on the open markets.

The $DARK token in Dark Frontiers will cover an array of opportunities. For players interested in dominating entire sections of a universe, say, by owning a moon, or a planet, they can use this digital plot of land to earn interest on their $DARK. The token will not only be used for staking, but players can also purchase and upgrade their starship Galactica’s using $DARK. After upgrading your ship for universal domination, you are prepared to stand head-to-head with other opponents that are in your way!

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Dark Frontiers is a P2E virtual world, produced by Gamestarter.com and powered by $DARK