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Weekend Warrior: Making Mystical Mousy Music

Updated: Sep 10, 2019

Mice & Mystics

Some of you may be aware that in my day job I work as a Theatre Technician. Long hours and evening and weekend shifts are hardly conducive to a great gaming schedule but sometimes my skillset can really help me elevate my gaming to the next level. In particular I’m talking about sound editing and cueing.

For my birthday I will be giving myself the present of Mice & Mystics from Plaid Hat Games and I wanted to really amp up the storytelling aspect by adding some music and sound effects. The designer of M&M is Jerry Hawthorne and his games (such as Stuffed Fables) all feature a great story at their heart but a great story can become a turgid trek through fluffed pronunciation and monotonous, inflectionless prose when in the hands of the wrong storyteller.

I figured the easiest way to solve that problem was to prerecord the story scenes and play them back at the right moment. As the game has been out for a while now I did a quick google to see if anyone had already attempted this. And that’s when I found this…

That’s right, ten dollars to a charitable cause and I had Mad Men’s Rich Sommer narrating my game for me. Rich does a great job and gives each character a unique voice but I knew I wanted more which is where my editing skills come in.

Adobe Audition

I always edit in Adobe Audition largely because that’s the programme I learnt at university, although back then it was called Cool Edit. Next I needed some sound effects and music to really make the voice recordings pop. I can’t share my finished recordings with you because, well, copyright, but I can point you towards my main sources.

For sound effects I used Free Sound and the BBC Sound Effects Library. For music I used Tabletop Audio and Hook Sounds.

Once I had my audio set up it was time to find a way to play it back easily during gameplay. If I were running a show I’d have used QLab, but this is a mac only product and at home I’m limited to my android tablet so once again I turned to google to find the best Qlab alternative and I discovered Audio Cues. I was so happy with this app that after 5 minutes of playing with it I sprung for the full version.

Audio Cues

As you can see I have my Cues lined up down the side there. Each cue can be triggered manually via the Go Button or automatically with or after the previous cue. You can also use a bluetooth keyboard and assign effects to specific keys, for example I have the Cat sound effect keyed to the number 2, meaning whenever Brodie shows up I can play his meow.

Audio Cues

Cues can also be set to loop which is useful for the ambience tracks I have such as the sewer and rushing water effects. You can also set individual levels for all the tracks to make them louder or quieter as necessary.

With everything programmed I am now super psyched to actually get the game to the table and put my audio through its paces. Unfortunately, it’s not my birthday until November!

Until next time, have fun gaming and tell some great stories!

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