Creating sound assets for games is an inspiring and rewarding task that often calls for a composer to generate musical segments that can stand alone to portray an emotional state or place the listener in a certain location. There are many types of assets that are needed and one that is vitally important for the game is the Splash.
Heard on the splash-screen, a splash is the musical or non-musical information heard when a logo appears at the very start of one’s journey into the game they are playing, often an attention grabbing section that is enough to make the user aware of the developers. For the Handsome Dragon Game, Dyadic, there were two splashes: one for the HDG (Handsome Dragon Games) logo and one for the Dyadic team.
The HDG splash is contemplative and intrigues the player, in time it may become the voice of Handsome Dragon Games, an audio cue that triggers the listener and one that will hold enough audio stimulus to know that it means HDG.
To create a splash for a game, in this case Dyadic, the splash needs to sum up the entire project, a short snippet that condenses the emotional state and location of the game. Using the same instrumentation from Dyadic was vital, the Shakuhachi (a Japanese bamboo flute) was one of the driving forces of the OST so it was logical to use the instrument in the Dyadic splash. A splash of this nature shouldn’t be a segment of one of the songs from the OST, it needs to be an original piece, even if it is a short variation of a theme used in the game.
ARMS RACE SPLASH
Arms Race is the latest game from HDG and will become available in less than a week. The premise is that diplomacy has failed and the only way to settle arguments is to Arm Wrestle! The game is set in the cold war era and the music is an arcade-lovers dream, a fast paced rock soundtrack with churning guitar riffs and keytar synthesisers. For the Splash to Arms Race, I needed to convey the games tone in a short musical burst, using the guidelines that were mentioned above.
Splash’s are an important piece of the game’s gestalt, after all, the goal of game development is to create an organised whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts. A well thought of splash can work wonders for any product, think of the advertising of fast-food chains, supermarkets and hardware stores, the splash becomes synonymous with the brand (even if you dislike the brand, the fact that it works is undeniable).
My favourite is the original Capcom splash, the intense motif that finally resolves to a glistening logo has been etched into my mind and two decades later is still fresh in my memory, a testament to the power of the splash. I still remember how it would excite me, like Pavlov’s dog, I would mentally salivate and know it was time to play some of my favourite games!
Until next time, stay creative and let me leave you with a question: What is your all time favourite splash?