They Breathe

theybreathe

What it is

During 2011 I worked on They Breathe as a part of the studio Working Parts. With a focus on subtle story-telling and dark atmosphere, the game a is vertically scrolling 2d-game about a frog diving deeper underwater to save his friends. The game was released on Xbox Live Indie Games in December 2011, and on PC (IndieCity) in March 2012.

What I did

My work involved all the ambient sounds in the game, I also did most of the sound effects.

Samples of my work

The game was supposed to be (surprisingly) dark in tone, which had me creating almost horror-like, ambient sounds at times. Here’s an example:

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It’s dark and deep underwater with the water surface being so far away it’s almost like entering a different world. The sound is mainly created by mixing recorded thunder sounds with heavily processed water sounds and strange synthesizers. It’s also possible to hear the main theme occasionally fading in and out.

Here’s a video showing some parts of the game:

How I did it

They Breathe was created in XNA (using XACT sound tools), which ended up being educational. It gave me a better grasp of the inner workings of XACT.
During the project I also pushed for creating the game using only background sounds rather than relying on music to creating more of an immersive, seamless experience with as much diegetic sound as possible.
It led to a lot of experimentation on how to keep the sound interesting and noticably varied throughout the game. I ended up creating several different background sound layers that faded in and out at different water depths. The background layers also become more and more abstract the deeper the player goes.

Download the demo

A free demo of the game is available through Xbox Live Indie Games on Xbox 360. The game is priced at 240 Microsoft points.
You can also buy the game for PC on IndieCity.com, currently priced at US $1.99.