Samantha van der Sluis took the time to answer a few questions we had about their work on the upcoming game Cloudscape. Here is what they had to say!
Q1: One of your upcoming games "Cloudscape" is an adorable pixelated life sim. How did you create the chiptune sounds for that score?
A1: Thank you! It's an incredible project to work on, and I hope the fans will appreciate the love and care we put into the game. The overall score is a hybrid between orchestral and synth/chiptune sounds. I decided to go with this sound to complement the art style. The chiptune sounds are created from VST synths where I used presets and also created my own adjusting certain knobs and faders. Some of the most used throughout the soundtrack are stock plugins from Cubase which I manually adjusted to customize the sound, as well as Omnisphere patches, and creating an initial sine wave then editing that into another interesting sound wave. There's so many synth plug-ins and VSTs that I'm constantly patch surfing, but the ones mentioned above are definitely heard the most throughout the score. I also take inspiration for sounds from Mort Garson's "Plantasia" album, Nintendo's "Earthbound" soundtrack, and indie games "Alchemic Cutie" with music by Dale North and "Garden Story" composed by Grahm Nesbitt.
Q2: You tend to compose for cozy and light-hearted games. Do you find these types of games simply line up with your musical instincts? Or is it for a different reason?
A2: I definitely have a soft spot for cozy, wholesome games and always enjoy the music from games in this category. Although I am capable of composing in a variety of styles, it's also important to be proud of the project you are working on and to enjoy it. I feel fulfilled when working on these types of projects as there's usually many different kinds of music needed such as "beach music", "seasonal music", "map-specific music" and "combat music" to name a few. Cute, cozy games are definitely my favourite type of genre to write for, but I also won't shy away from something out of this category!
Q3: You work in the film industry doing "Music Preparation". Do you mind explaining what that entails?
A3: Sure thing! Music Preparation basically involves everything needed in order to have the sheet music ready for musicians to play live. This can involve orchestration, MIDI mockups, and mostly copying and proofing the score and each part before it reaches the musician in the studio. It's important that this step in the process happens to avoid any mistakes on the scoring stage. Hiring live musicians and studios is very expensive, and the amount of mistakes on the sheet music I can limit, the less stress and expenses the team have to deal with.
Q4: Are you passionate about composing film scores as well as game soundtracks?
Q5: Do you have any other upcoming projects you are allowed to talk about?