Damjan Mrvunac took the time to answer a few questions we had about their discography and work on the Serious Sam series. Here is what they had to say!
Q1: You have worked on several point-and-click adventure games. Are you happy to see the genre having a resurgence in the indie scene?
A1: I grew up on point-and-click adventures on Amiga 500, which was a vast improvement over ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 (that we all had in the eighties here in Europe). After gaming moved on to a PC, I played Runaway games, the Broken Sword franchise and some other great adventures that sparked my interest, which led me into a game development career. Seeing young indie devs (who are probably younger than those games) developing new adventures is fantastic, and I hope we’ll have a ton of great games and that the next generations will be inspired by these games like we veterans were.
Q2: You have created music for several Nintendo DS games. Do you have any advice for the handful of homebrew developers making music for that console?
A2: The company I helped with the sound for their DS games at the time was looking for high-quality sound playback with a low memory/CPU footprint. In the end, they settled on a plugin that uses MOD file format, which I was very familiar with from my days with Amiga 500. The format allowed me to create music which couldn’t be possible if we used lossy format (decoding of which would eat out the CPU) or wave (which would eat out the memory). And it was fun re-learning all the stuff I learned 15 years ago.
Q3: You have been creating music for the Serious Sam games since 2001. What has it been like to grow as a musician alongside the series for more than 20 years?
A3: Absolutely delightful! My position here at Croteam allowed me to experiment with different genres, sounds, and types of music and integrate them all with sound effects. Most of the people I know do either one or the other: music or sfx, but doing both allowed me a different perspective, a more cohesive one I could say, about what game audio really means for a game and how a successful audio mix can enhance the experience for players. If I were working as a freelancer, perhaps my hands would be tied, and there would be “less me” in Serious Sam ;)
Q4: Were there any specific sample packs or pieces of hardware you used when working on Serious Sam: The First Encounter?
A4: Back in the days of TFE/TSE it was Akai S2000 maxed out with a lot of sample CDs (which were lost during my move to another house), but some titles I remember were Pitbull Jungle Loops, Heart of Africa, Heart of Asia... I also owned a lot of hardware synths; I used D50, DX7, Trinity, X3, M1, GEM S3, Alpha Juno 2, and JX10... it's hard to mention them all; it was a whole room full of synths and nowhere to sit.
Q5: In the newest instalment of the series, Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem, Were there any specific guitar pedals you used to get the tone on songs like RaGnaarRock and Freedom Too?
A5: I used a method called re-amping, where you send your recorded guitar DI signal back to the guitar amplifier so you can finetune the sound while not worrying (anymore) about performance. The sound that ended in those songs was a combination of Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier and Diezel VH4 amps, recorded through SM57, Beyerdynamic M160 and Senn E906, all driven through Mesa 412 Oversized cab. True metal…
Q6: Do your nightmares ever have a score?
A6: No, now that you mentioned it, my dreams never have any music. Weird!
Q7: What is your favourite sci-fi horror movie?
A7: Hard to pick something that fills both genres, but from the gritty sci-fi movies that are not afraid to show some gore, I dig Robocop, Starship Troopers, but most of all, Aliens.
Q8: What have you been listening to lately?
A8: I recently discovered that one of my favourite prog metal bands from the 90s has reunited, so I’m listening to Norwegian band Conception - again!
Find more of their music below.