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Halo's Marty O'Donnell On His Audio Beginnings

SoundWorks Collection posted some material they recorded at GDC10 this year with Halo Composer Marty O'Donnell talking about where he came from, and how he's carved out his niche at Bungie. There's a bit about where Reach's music and sound progress is...

[SoundWorks Collection posted some material they recorded at GDC10 this year with Halo Composer Marty O'Donnell talking about where he came from, and how he's carved out his niche at Bungie. There's a bit about where Reach's music and sound progress is...]


SWC: How did you get your start in music composing?
 
MARTY: Well, i started in commercial music in Chicago and did jingles for almost fifteen years. That was early in the 80s. 
 
But I was always a gamer so I was watching how game audio was maturing and progressing, and it got to the point about 1993 when I played the game Myst and I thought, “Oh these guys really get it--they’re doing something very interesting and it doesn’t sound just like a game.”
 
So I met Robin and Ren Miller, and I worked on Riven which was their sequel, and I met the guys at Bungie and worked on Bungie games and by 2000 I had switched over to nothing but games and got hired at Bungie as the audio director there.
 
SWC: What do you remember as challenges, your production timelines--what was the work environment like then?
 
MARTY: In the late 90s there was still memory constraints and voice limits and a lot of that stuff was still in there, so I had to function as good as possible within those constraints. 
 
But it still seemed like lightyears ahead where it might have been in the 80s, so I was pretty happy with that.  And since then, in the last ten years, it’s just unbelievable how much more we can do with the technology and I think it’s just going to keep improving.
 
SWC: What about the attention to sound now, it plays a much bigger role--when are you pulled in during pre-production?
 
MARTY: There is no such things as an Audio Director in films, and that means you have your editor’s opinion, and the director’s opinion, and you have a composer and a sound design guy, and there’s nobody who’s got a singular audio vision (usually) for film unless it’s a director.
 
Watch more of Marty O’Donnell’s Exclusive GDC10 Interview at

 

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