Sounds of Star Wars Battlefront: Part IV

This article originally appeared here.

The Sarlacc

“In its belly, you will find a new definition of pain and suffering as you are slowly digested over a thousand years.” (C-3PO)

In a new installment of our “Sounds of Star Wars™ Battlefront™” series, it’s time to talk about the Sarlacc. Here to shed light on the dreaded Tatooine beast’s in-game sounds is Sound Designer Philip Eriksson.

PHILIP ERIKSSON: The Sarlacc had been vividly depicted near the beginning of Star Wars™: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi™ and based on this debut and the sounds used in the film, I started searching for new source material, as I needed the extra sounds to create more variations based on the film sounds, and also to create some new sounds for actions not covered in the movie.

I knew that the original sounds were created from, amongst other things, alligators, but in order to create more variation I had to find plenty of similar and also different sounds. In addition to new alligator source material, I also collected a bunch of pig grunts, squeals and snorts, with which I could make very similar sounds. I also blended in other sounds including hippos, dogs, cats, sea lions and humans to build something unique and slightly familiar, but also very alien.

For the main scream I ended up focusing on pig, alligator and hippo sounds; it starts with a pitched down disgusting grunt and after that there is a combination of different squeals and snorts in different pitches, which I used to be able to create different tones and variations.

I also needed to create the breathing and intestinal movement sounds to really make the Sarlacc come to life. For the body movement and skin ripples, I used sounds of cats eating moist food; these sounds have a really slimy feel to them, to which I added some layers of pitched down sleeping bull terrier to represent the sound of the Sarlacc’s lungs working. However the key component to make the sound really work, was the sound of the snoring-like breathing from a sea lion, which with its natural low pitched feel and whistling tonal throat character, was a perfect addition. It was important to make the sounds fit together with the scream and maintain the illusion that all the sounds are coming from the same monster.

The sounds of the Sarlacc’s digestion were the final key to creating a complete experience, because (spoiler alert!) you as a player can fall into the Sarlacc Pit!

The sounds I used are a combination of a pit-bull eating and some barking, blended together with the Sarlacc crunching sounds that we pulled from the Skywalker Sound archive.

For the burps, I recorded some of my own, found plenty of Audio Director Ben Minto’s in the DICE sound library and again reworked some original content from the Skywalker Sound archive.

When I started with the implementation I wanted to make the Sarlacc as alive as possible by triggering different sounds at different places within its mass, tied to different logic triggers. I also worked on the timing and sequence order of the triggers to give each listener a memorable aural journey down the Sarlacc’s throat!

Here you can see a part of how the gameplay logic drives the sound of the Sarlacc; a small sneak peek behind the curtain. On distance you will be able to hear variations of the scream with lots of reverb and delay. The scream sounds trigger when a player happens to fall into the Sarlacc or when it is really hungry.

As you approach the Sarlacc we crossfade into the closer variations of the scream, and now you´re really going to hear how big the monster is; you might also start to hear the breathing. If you´re standing really close you can hear the slimy sounds from the body and clearly hear how the creature breathes. If you have the misfortune to fall into the Sarlacc you´re going to be totally surrounded by the body’s digestive sounds and then as you slowly die you also get the attack sound of the Sarlacc’s intestines. After your sad but certain death, I then trigger a huge disgusting and satisfied burp.

Thanks for listening, and mind your step!