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How DICE crafted era-appropriate sounds for Battlefield 1

How do you accurately make a video game sound like it's taking place in the past? Some of the Battlefield 1 sound design team explain just that in a new audio-focused interview with A Sound Effect.
"We focus on getting the right guns, but substitutes with similar action and materials usually suffice. For miking, a good stereo pair straight above the gun together with a lavalier on the weapon is usually good enough, but as always, more is more!"

- Battlefield 1 audio director Bence Pajor.

Swedish studio EA DICE has long been lauded for the audio design of its Battlefield games. The latest example, Battlefield 1, takes place in World War I, and some of the game's sound team recently chatted with sound design hub A Sound Effect about what it's like to try and realistically recreate the sounds of a bygone conflict.

Game devs with an interest in sound design, especially for realistic first-person shooters, will likely find the conversation interesting. Even if you don't have specific interest in this field, these sorts of in-depth chats about an oft-overlooked aspect of game development can be fun to read as a reminder of all the weird work that goes into crafting good noise. 

"We are all interested in recording and creating our own content — be it weapons, first-person foley or ambiences. For Battlefield 1 I used recordings my husband and I had from being on holiday in France or away in the desert in the UAE," said sound designer Mari Saastamoinen Minto. "For the storm I used a recording I did for Battlefield 4 on a boat. It’s just a very dynamic “wind in microphone” recording that really has that first-person perspective in its characteristics, and that is one of my secret weapons when it comes to sound designing storms. For rain I always bake in another one of my own favorite recordings, 'rain on head', recorded from inside the hood of my coat." 

Later in the conversation, the team touches on the work they did to try and aurally represent ancient weapons and machines of war, like armored trains or all-terrain transports.

"For transport vehicles we worked very closely with our collegues over at Criterion Games in the UK. They have a lineage of building great sounding racing games so we challenged them to build off-terrain transport vehicles that rattle in contrast to the carbon fiber, no clearance, v10 perfection that they excel at," said sound designer Andreas Almström. "We didn’t have the opportunity to conduct a recording session of an actual armored train since they are quite rare nowadays, but we tried our best to mimic references and expectations."

You can find more comments on the sound design of Battlefield 1 in the full interview

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