Cube - Creating Powerups

Armour Pickup

I wanted the armour to have quite a metallic and futuristic sound to it so it would fit the theme of the game world. I started with a sub heavy synth patch to underly the rest of the sounds and provide that futuristic feel. This involved using a sweeping LFO to modulate the sub oscillator level and the cutoff filter, resulting in a sharp punch. Next i needed some metallic layers, so i took a sample of two of my kitchen knives scraping together and the sound of a butter knife clanging against a drinking glass. This is where things got interesting. I sent the kitchen knife scrape to a reverb bus and then recorded the reverb output onto a separate track. Removing the lows and mids left a very nice shimmering sound. I applied the same technique to the synth patch, creating a reverb swell after the dry sound plays. I then returned to the orignal metal sounds and reversed them so they created a short and smooth build into the rest of the sound. Finally i wanted some more physical sounds, as though the player is putting the armour on. I had some recordings of my jacket being dropped onto the floor, which gave the sound a general rustling quality, as though the player is putting the armour on. The final sound was the recording of a zip to reinforce the idea of the armour being phyically put on. These last two sounds weren't so much for the purpose of realism, but more to add relatable sound for the players brain to understand. Finishing touches involved some EQ, compression and reverb to glue everything together.

Armour Project File


Health Pickup

For the health i want the player to feel relief, so the main sound i was focused on was an exhaling, calm breath. This could remind the player of a lot of things: meditation, emerging from water, swigging a large cold drink, anything really that provides some satisfying relief to a person. On top of this i wanted to add a more processed and surreal breath layer to make the sound more interesting. Much like with the armour, i reversed a second breath recording and used it as a quick fade in to the overall sound. I then added a reverb to this that tailed off in time with my first breath recording. Finally i wanted to drive home the health aspect of this pickup, so i did the rather cliché heartbeat sound. I made this with a simple sine impulse and quick decay time. Finally a bit of EQ, compression and reverb to glue everything.

Health Project File


Ammo Pickup

The ammo was quite simple to make. When i was editing my footstep recordings previously i noticed that the gravel sounds almost had a shotgun pump quality to them. They weren't close enough to suit an actual shotgun but i thought the sound was relatable enough to have an "ammo-like" sound. By placing two sound files next to each other with a small interval between them i could deliver that shotgun pump motion. I then layered another two gravel sounds to add more depth to the sound. I then needed a more foundational sound to glue the gravel files together, because as they were the gap between them wasn't very comfortable to listen to. My winter jacket recordings worked pretty well for the armour, so i tried it out again and it added a nice layer of garbled noise that stitched everything into one sound. I experimented with various other metallic objects to see if anything else could make it a bit more interesting. Using a sound file of my keys jangling and pitching them down created a sound quite similar to shotgun shells rattling, so i layered this in as the final sound. The usual compression, EQ and reverb finished it off.

Ammo project file



The powerup in Cube is a Quad Damage, so i wanted it to sound quite big and powerful. There's not really any physical component to the sound of a powerup so most of the sound was synth generated. I started but layering a couple of sweeping synth patches on top of each other to create the effect of an enegy build. I then ran them through a delay to give it a nice tailoff. To fill out the sound more i took a recording of my microwave running and swelled it in at the start. This made it sound beefier and also added a radioactive hum.

Powerup project file

Powerup project file