I had a riotously good time making the audio clip for my first Alien Menace session

What audio clip, you ask? You didn’t listen the first time? You missed out on Pyramid Magazine editor +Steven Marsh‘s inspired performance? +Antoni Ten Monrós totally owning the role of the Captain? And +Gerardo Tasistro and me as Jones the Tech and Yi, the videographer, each of whom gave our one or two lines before meeting electric flaming death at the hands of a now-deceased cyberdisc?

Well, shoot. You’d better go listen, then.

I wanted to do this, but was uncertain if I could pull it off. Luckily for me, my Google Fu is strong, and I came across the recommendation to use Audacity.

There may well be better sound editors out there, but this one was free, intuitive, allowed multitrack sound design, and the capture of sounds through your own system. I was able to, within scant hours:

  • Meld the sounds of an arc welder and the supersonic “zip” of an actual bullet to make my blaster sound effects
  • Insert, seamlessly, the sound of the hydraulic lift, which made an unmistakable sound of the cargo ramp on a ship going down
  • Overlay machinegun noises (the Captain’s futile efforts to punch through 5d armor with a 3d submachine gun) with screams that interrupted said noises
  • Put in other partial effects like a few moments of footfalls, samples from a longer clip.

All in all, it took me maybe two hours to make a call for voice actor help, get responses, polish and practice the voice work, and then add sufficient sound effects to make it compelling enough.

Gerardo followed up with a more embellished version quite quickly – but the one I had was good enough, and it seems like a fun way to provide future information to the gamers.

Now if there was only an easy way to share the clips so that all the players were listening at once. I bet +Fantasy Grounds can do it, but I’ll need to figure out how. Google Hangouts should  be able to do it, but again, not sure exactly how just yet.

One last thing: the amazing thing about our roleplaying community is that I’m sure that had I wanted an Englishman for Beake, a female soldier for The Captain, someone of Korean descent for Yi, and an actual Welshman for Jones . . . I probably could have gotten them. I wound up with a Spaniard who speaks four languages, two midwesterners (well, me by location, but I was born on the east coast), and someone from either Uruguay or Mexico – not sure, but it was way more interesting that I could have hoped.

One thought on “The Audacity of Sound

  1. I use audacity extensively for my podcast. It's not perfect (I could do with an exponential rather than a linear fade in/out) but it does the things I want.

    If you ever need an English voice, just let me know.

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