Sega Game Compilations

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Frustrated by the variety of Sega Mega Drive collections on the market? There’s been collections on the PS2/PSP, PS3 and PS4 (as well as other platforms), all of which have collected a slightly different selection of games.

Comparing these lists can also be a bit hit and miss so I’ve gathered the PS2/PSP, PS3 and PS4 complete game lists in this handy spreadsheet which easily compares which games are on which collection.

Download it here: Sega_Game_Collections

There are a total of 73 games across these 3 collections, with notable absences in each collection. The PS4 “Sega Mega Drive Classics” collection for example omits essential games such as Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sonic & Knuckles

sonic_knuckles

The full list is as follows:

Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
Alien Soldier
Alien Storm
Alien Syndrome
Altered Beast
Altered Beast
Astro Blaster
Beyond Oasis
Bio-Hazard Battle
Bonanza Bros.
Columns
Columns III: Revenge of Columns
Comix Zone
Congo Bongo
Crack Down
Decap Attack
Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
Dynamite Headdy
Ecco Jr.
Ecco the Dolphin
Ecco: The Tides of Time
Eliminator
ESWAT: City Under Siege
Fantasy Zone
Fatal Labyrinth
Flicky
Future Spy
Gain Ground
Galaxy Force II
Golden Axe
Golden Axe II
Golden Axe III
Golden Axe Warrior
Gunstar Heroes
Kid Chameleon
Landstalker
Light Crusader
Phantasy Star
Phantasy Star II
Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom
Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millenium
Ristar
Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi
Shining Force
Shining Force II
Shining in the Darkness
Shinobi
Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
Sonic & Knuckles
Sonic 3D Blast
Sonic Spinball
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Sonic the Hedgehog 3
Space Fury
Space Harrier II
Space Harrier II
Streets of Rage
Streets of Rage 2
Streets of Rage 3
Super Thunder Blade
Super Zaxxon
Sword of Vermilion
Tac/Scan
The Revenge of Shinobi
ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron
ToeJam& Earl
Vectorman
VectorMan 2
Virtua Fighter 2
Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair
Zaxxon
Zektor

Note: There are no duplicates, some games are the arcade versions.

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F1 2018 – Audio Reviews

hero_f1_2018_V2.jpg

Game Informer
https://www.gameinformer.com/review/f1-2018/a-real-team-effort
Hearing the differences between the current cars and the historic ones is hypnotic, even for those of us who wouldn’t know the difference anyway.

Atomix
http://atomix.vg/review-f1-2018/
…an unparalleled audio mix. Each of the engines sounds different depending on your brand and of course, the V10 in some classic F1, will take you back to those awesome times of Formula 1

IGN Italia
https://it.ign.com/f1-2018-ps4/143813/review/f1-2018-la-recensione
…excellent in the reproduction of the sounds of the race and the engines

The Sixth Axis
http://www.thesixthaxis.com/2018/08/17/f1-2018-review/
This latter car is an absolute dream to drive, with a screaming engine as your soundtrack

Eurogamer
https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2018-08-17-f1-2018-marginal-gains-make-for-codemasters-best-f1-game-to-date
Much of F1 2018’s appeal can be found in those small details. How, having earned a seat at Ferrari early on in my first season after putting the McLaren on the podium across a string of races, the engine note was noticeably different, sounding like the exhaust was being put through a fuzz pedal at low revs.

PC Invasion
https://www.pcinvasion.com/f1-2018-review/
The roar of the engines is especially engaging, though. Hearing the screams and whines of these turbocharged beasts on straightaways never gets old. Even their soft wind-down while slowing for a turn is music to my ears. Codemasters’ sound department should be proud; the engine captures are commendable.

Xbox Tavern
https://www.xboxtavern.com/f1-2018-review/
The high level of visual and audio detail, grouped with the care and attention to authenticity, collectively makes for an experience that’s robust, faithful and deep. Codemasters’ subtle yet noticeable changes over F1 2017 takes an already distinguished racer and makes it bigger and better than ever.

F1 2018 looks and sounds outstanding.

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Hardcore Gamer
https://www.hardcoregamer.com/2018/08/17/review-f1-2018/309140/
The sounds of the cars are beyond wonderful in F1 2018. Each manufacturer has a distinctive engine sound and little things such as the exhaust under braking are noticeable and appreciative. Then there are the historic cars and each one of them blares wonderfully and distinctively.

Xbox Achievements
https://www.xboxachievements.com/game/f1-2018/review/
Each car sounds distinctive, while pit crew chatter keeps you well informed during a race. Menu music is nice enough, and commentary setting up events makes F1 2018 feel like a proper TV-style broadcast.

Twinfinite
https://twinfinite.net/2018/08/f1-2018-review/
The impressive levels of detail also extend to the visuals and sound. Engines rumble at the precise tone, tires squeal as you bounce over curbs, and the familiar voice of David Croft is there to introduce the sessions. All the sounds work together to create an immersive race-day atmosphere, and even the introduction media scene is complemented by the sound of the turnstiles at Melbourne, recorded directly from the track itself.

Playstation Country
http://www.playstationcountry.com/f1-2018-ps4-review/
Sound also remains stellar with the older machinery sounding thunderous and cars bottoming out on long, bumpy straights.

F118_screenshot_012.jpg

GT Planet
https://www.gtplanet.net/f1-2018-xbox-one-xreview/
Presentation has been improved with the visuals and audio doing a great job of creating atmosphere…

On the face of it, this seems like an easy job for Codemasters compared to other racing game devs. Record the ten modern cars, add in the classics, and get the usual gamut of track-side sounds. It’s not like the team has to source hundreds of cars, right?

But there’s so much more to F1 2018’s audio package than that. It starts with the spatial modelling. “We’ve overhauled the distance tones this year,” explains lead audio designer Brad Porter. “We’re actually getting authentic sounds of F1 cars at distance and blending between the on-board and the external shots and it’s created a far more believable broadcast sound.”

The team has also improved sound reverb and reflection — the latter is particularly useful for players to subconsciously determine their distance to walls, says Porter. He’s right; there’s not a lot of peripheral vision when you’re strapped into an F1 car, so the audio clues make it easier to know where you are on the track.

Each of the modern cars sound different to one another, if however faintly. Naturally, it’s the classics that really make an impression. As you wind the Renault R26’s 2.4-liter V8 past 20,000rpm, it lets out a banshee shriek that transports you right back to its championship-winning 2006 season. Step further back into any of the ’70s era cars — all new for F1 2018 — and the smooth, tech-laden scream is replaced with a more raw, natural battle cry.

It’s no less impressive; instead, the game acts as a hands-on history lesson, showcasing how the sport has changed over the decades.

Being a sports title as well as a racing one means plenty of commentary. This is really where F1 2018 can stretch its legs over the competition, while simultaneously immersing the player. You’ll hear quips about on-track action, summaries of the season’s highs and lows, and stand-out performances by other drivers. As a more casual fan of the sport, there’s some cool trivia in there too: when the season gets to Paul Ricard, Anthony Davidson drops the fact that the last time F1 was there, Prost won — making it the 100th grand prix win for Ferrari — and half of the current grid wasn’t even born yet!

While the character models may not be the most convincing, the voiceover work on all of them is excellent. Claire sounds genuinely excited to grill you post-race — or understandably dejected if you don’t answer — and every member of your team feels like a real person when they’re talking to you, not a simple script reader.

Special mention goes to the dynamic soundtrack too. As you flit between the menus of the game, the instruments check out or re-introduce themselves in real time. It’s subtle, but it gives the whole game a cohesive identity.

Critical Hit
https://www.criticalhit.net/review/f1-2018/
Nothing is spared too in the visual and sound departments, with the high-pitched roars of an F1 engine vibrating your eardrums

Applying for a job in the games industry (featuring the Codemasters audio department) – Part 1: Writing a CV

Disclaimer: I’m by no means an expert when it comes to job applications; I’ve been both successful and unsuccessful when applying for jobs. Both myself and various colleagues here at Codies have interviewed applicants to work on our respective teams and as a result we’ve seen many applications over the years. None of this information is guaranteed to get you “that dream job” but hopefully it will help to give you an idea of what, at least some people in this industry look for when assessing your cover letter and CV.

The Cover Letter

First and foremost is the cover letter, I’ve received everything from no cover letter at all to a 4 page document detailing everything said applicant has done from birth up to the moment they clicked “send”. Writing a cover letter that covers everything in your CV in very minute detail is not a good idea. Cover letters should be brief (a paragraph or two), address the employer and give a brief indication of why you wish to apply for the job. The cover letter doesn’t need to go into great detail about how when you were 8 years old, your grandmother bought you a copy of Colin McRae Rally on PlayStation 1 and you’ve been hooked on Codies games ever since. Instead focus on a few succinct points. Something along the lines of “I’m passionate about video games and motorsport and I believe my skill set and qualifications make me a great fit for the role of audio designer at Codemasters.”

IMG_2026Don’t you wish your CV was hot like me?
Brad – Silverstone GP weekend 2018

CV Length

Much like the cover letter, I’ve received everything from a 1 page CV to mammoth 5 or 6 page submissions that go largely unread. Most industry professionals will agree that a CV should be around 1-2 pages long. In fact, the first point everybody in the Codies audio department mentioned when I asked what they look for in a CV was the length! Think of the person reading not only your CV but many others, they don’t want to be scouring through 5 pages of information to extract the core details. An overly long CV may actually damage your chances of getting an interview as it may be skimmed over just to get through it quickly or worse yet, the potential employee may simply sigh at the length and ignore it completely.

Jethro Dunn, Principle audio designer here at Codies adds:

“The last time we were hiring I had around 40 or 50 CVs to go through. I don’t want to be looking at that many CVs if they’re all 4 or 5 pages. Keep it to 2 pages maximum and only include relevant employment history and education and keep it simple”.

P1020403.jpgJethro likes working here, he doesn’t like bad CVs. Don’t make Jethro angry.
Jethro – On location

So, let’s break down what you should be including and how you can be concise.

Employment History

Generally I’d advise that you tailor a CV towards the type of job you are applying for. What do I mean by this? For example, now that I’ve worked in the games industry for over a decade I don’t really need to list every retail job I’ve worked at and my “very important” responsibilities I had during those roles. Does a prospective employer really need to know that not only could I gut and skin a salmon while on the fish counter but I was also trained to serve on checkouts and use the cardboard compactor safely? Think about how much relevant experience you have as you create your CV. If this is indeed your first job in the industry and your last job was a retail position that you held down for 8 years then add it. If you’ve worked as a developer already and you’ve had 7 menial jobs in supermarkets and pubs then feel free to leave them out all together or spare the reader every detail about your irrelevant skills.

Senior audio designer James Kneen comments:

“Especially when you’re in your advanced years you really don’t need to list every job you’ve ever had, just the most recent and relevant ones. Bullet points for the notable skills are also fine – the more concise the better”.

IMG_1293.JPGWrite a good CV and you too could drink hot camels milk in Abu Dhabi.
James – Yas Marina F1 test session 2017

I’d also point out for comedic sake that James toyed with changing “advanced years” to “Past noon” or “twilight years” (He’s only 50).

I’d advise you hold work experience at a developer in higher regard than your bar job if you’re applying for further developer work. James Kneen and I previously mentored an audio intern and had advised him to apply for a QA job. After an afternoon of updating his CV we noticed he’d left off his work experience at Codemasters (his only relevant developer work). If you’re applying for a temporary QA job or a work experience placement and then return to retail or bar work, feel free to once again tailor your CV. A bar is going to be far more interested in your previous 2 years working at another bar than your knowledge of Jira, the difference between class 1 and class 3 bugs or that you know how to stream a build to an Xbox One dev kit.

This approach should also be taken into account when you decide what developers to apply for. As Codies dialogue producer Olly Johnson states:

“If you’re applying for a writing job at Naughty Dog then you probably want to work on a narrative driven experience and have an interest in storytelling and defining strong characters. You should have an encyclopaedic knowledge of cinema, literature, and storytelling techniques. If you’re applying for a job at Codemasters then you should know we are passionate about motorsport and want to contribute to representing the different racing types as realistically as possible, and to have a good understanding of racing terminology, and preferably be a keen racing gamer with plenty of opinions on the subject”.

Feel free to list any work experience you have completed but make sure it is relevant and not already superseded by more recent professional or relevant work. For example, my CV around the time I was graduating listed work experience I’d completed running the mixing desk at a local bar and a brief stint at a college working with the audio department. These were both relevant and at the time I’d had no better “professional” experience to list.

Education

Short and sweet also applies to your education; by all means add all relevant qualifications but perhaps go easy on listing every GCSE and A level that you achieved. If your CV is light on actual relevant professional experience you could add more detailed information about the skills you picked up, performances organised or even a brief description of what your dissertation focused on. For example, when I was applying for my first role in the industry I added a few bullet points about the interactive live event I organised and performed in while at Uni. I also had a bullet point that mentioned the focus of my dissertation (how improving audio quality can subjectively lead to a perceived improvement in graphical quality). These were two relevant areas during my time at uni that would at least indicate to a developer that I have an interest in audio and video games and had actively been tailoring my final projects towards these areas.

David Gurney, audio designer on the F1 franchise adds:

“Don’t give high regard to menial qualifications if you’ve got a degree or masters. I’ve seen CVs that list individual GCSE results as bullet points and even elaborate on certain subjects by stating how well they’ve done.”

IMG_8787.JPGThis is Dave, Dave writes good CV’s that’s why he now works with us instead of cleaning floors.
Dave – Silverstone GP weekend 2016

General content to avoid

There are a few things I find to be really overused in CVs, particularly word clouds or generalised sentences about how great you are. “I am a hard working individual who can work well as part of a team but is equally happy to work on solo tasks” is one of the classic personal statements. I’ve also seen word clouds with generic feel good phrases and positive descriptors about the applicant. Words like “motivated”, “hard working”, “creative”, “thoughtful”, “Resourceful”. It’s just a bit overdone and who would define themselves to an employer as anything but positive descriptors?

CVs also don’t need to detail every extracurricular activity you embark upon. Feel free to add a few bits about yourself but leave out the 20+ activities you take part in at your local church. I received a CV once that had a large paragraph stating that the applicant is involved in their local church community. The applicant had listed things like “part of the church band”, “very active at the local church”, “helps run church camping weekends”, “mentors and helps with church band members”. Not only were the majority of these points utterly redundant to the job they were applying for but the church section took up around a quarter of the CV.

Finally, don’t exaggerate or you will get caught out! Olly Johnson adds:

“I would always question details in your CV and cover letter to ensure you do really want to work for a company that deals in a racing and motorsport niche. Don’t overplay your interest in something, or your skill set and previous experience.  Ultimately, a great CV should give us plenty of talking points to discuss in the interview phase, and not for it to feel like an interrogation.  If you love writing… but have never watched an F1 race, it would always be better to say you are passionate about delivering great dialogue first and foremost, and that should you be given the chance, you would be keen to dig deep into any subject that was thrown your way.  An honest answer always trumps even a slight fabrication”.

41375499_301739793949417_6588902839098015744_nOlly likes to ruin cables, he does not like to ruin CVs though.
Olly – Not on location

Structure

As we’ve already covered you should prioritise both previous employment and education in terms of importance. Don’t have your GCSEs at the top of your CV, if your education is first and foremost on your CV then prioritise in terms of most recent, highest qualifications earned. A potential employer will be far more interested in your masters degree than the A you got in woodwork at GCSE.

Base the structure around relevance and experience, if you’ve never had a job in the industry (or any relevant work experience) then perhaps have your education at the top of your CV. This way an employer can quickly and easily see that you have a degree in your chosen field. On the other hand, if you’ve worked at Naughty Dog for a couple of years and perhaps done a year’s stint in QA at a small developer then have your professional experience at the top of your CV. You’ve already proved you are capable of working in the industry, make this obvious to your employer! Bury the retail job you had 10 years ago at the bottom of your employment section.

Check your links and details

Check all links and addresses then check them again. I’ve received links to show reels that either don’t work or ask for a login. I once reached out to one applicant to let them know a link didn’t work and we spent several emails back and forth trying to rectify why I couldn’t access the show reel. I’d imagine a lot of people (especially if they have a stack of good quality CVs to get through) may give up at this point and move on to the next applicant. Likewise check everything from your email address, website links and your name…yes, even your name! I received an application once that had a different name on the CV to the name the applicant had put in their email. Not only was I confused and had to clarify with the applicant but it’s also a good way for your application to get lost in the ether.

Summary

  • Keep it short and sweet
  • Include relevant details first and foremost
  • Avoid exaggerating your talents or feigning interest in subjects
  • Check all of your details
  • 2 pages or less

In the next article we will go on to discuss the interview process.

Making the most of work experience in the games industry. An Interview with Jamie White.

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Meet Jamie, a student on the Level 3 extended diploma in Games Design at the City of Wolverhampton College. Jamie recently completed a work experience placement at Codies in the Birmingham audio department. The placement would last for two weeks and would mainly be focused on audio QA. Students weren’t necessarily required to be primarily interested in audio; rather we were looking for keen students, interested in finding bugs. Work placement would also involve engaging in basic audio department maintenance while getting an inside look into the world of game development.

Jamie’s interest in gaming started from an early age, as he recalls some of his favourite games (which make me feel old) included Crash Bandicoot, Rayman Raving Rabbids and Pokemon. Although gaming had always been a hobby of Jamie’s he never actually intended to pursue a career in the industry – in fact he’d already started working as a chef. The Halo Wars 2 trailer, E3 2016 changed everything for him though and set him on his current path. He recalls:

“It gave me goose bumps as I watched it, I loved how they could compose such a piece of art, it blew my mind how much effort must have gone into making it. I decided right then and there that was what I wanted to work towards. It was a huge risk for me, as I had invested so much of my life into my previous career”.

IMG_0526.jpgSenior audio designer James “Duke Uterus” Kneen showing Jamie the ropes

One of the key points mentioned here is that Jamie had to take a huge risk, he’d already set out to become a chef. Suddenly he’d decided that he could become a developer, providing he worked hard and applied himself. After meeting Jamie it became clear that he is driven and has so far taken all necessary steps to ensure his dream becomes a reality. Jamie stood out amongst his peers at College and secured a work experience placement and it quickly became apparent why. During his two weeks, Jamie was attentive, valued our feedback and advice, networked as much as possible, asked questions and made an effort to seek out any opportunities presented to him.

Although Jamie would be primarily testing audio, I wanted to figure out how work experience could best benefit him as well as us. I wanted to ensure Jamie had ample opportunities to network, improve his own portfolio and figure out his next steps and experience how different disciplines within game development interact to create the final product.

model23.pngJamie’s in progress modeling work

Jamie revealed his main interest is video editing, he remarks “I love watching cinematic trailers; I think there is nothing better than a clean, well done and polished trailer”. Even while Jamie was a chef he spent time picking apart trailers, analysing how they had been composed and what effects had been used. He would then take what he’d learnt and try and create his own trailers for fun. Based on this I encouraged Jamie to talk to the video editing department and any other disciplines that were of interest to him. I’d already explained to Jamie that the key here is to make yourself known without being a pest. Keep in touch and network, let developers know you are keen and work on your show reel and a portfolio but don’t hassle. Jamie took the initiative and quickly sent his show reel to one of the video editors and asked for feedback.

Jamie also took the time to introduce himself to our animation department, who were willing to sit with him and offer advice and feedback. It can’t be overstated how important a step like this could be to Jamie’s career. Not only did he have the opportunity to talk directly to developers and get feedback on his show reel but he was also networking and putting his name forward. As a student on the outside it can often be difficult to know truly how good your work is and what you need to improve upon without feedback from professionals. College and University lecturers are useful resources but even their feedback can’t replace good critiquing from industry veterans who work in development for a living. It can also be challenging to approach and get feedback from developers via email, they have no obligation to reply to you and emails can often get lost in the void – but being right there, face to face next to a developer who specialises in your area of study? Now that is a rarity. Weeks later Jamie would remark:

“The most important thing I took away from my experience is the links I have created with people from the industry; at my age you can’t put a price on networking with industry veterans”.

IMG_0524.jpgJamie working his way through our audio test plan for F1 2017

As his time with us was coming to an end Jamie asked what other opportunities he might be able to get involved with. We got talking about the possibility of doing a bit of extra work experience directly for the QA department, after all he’d been working through our audio test plans for the last two weeks so he’d already had a taste of what to expect. I had previously mentioned to Jamie that the QA department was my foot in the door (read more about that here) and it might be beneficial to him in two respects. Firstly Jamie would get a bit of experience working in an important and often underappreciated game development role. Secondly if any paid work came up in the months and years ahead he’d likely land himself a position (providing he had done a good job during his work experience placement). Several weeks later Jamie did indeed start 2 weeks of work experience with QA at the Southam studio.

With a month of work experience under his belt I’d asked Jamie how he now felt about the industry. He commented that it was “exactly what I hoped it would be like” and interestingly he now felt that pursuing game development as a career was well within his grasp, rather than the pipe dream it had once been. Jamie has also been hard at work on his portfolio since his work experience came to an end and he now feels he has a goal to work towards as he remarks:

“It was great seeing how a professional studio works; how everyone’s individual skills have such a massive effect on the game. What was great about this was that I could see what level of expertise I need to be hitting to make it into the industry”.

GameJam1.pngPokemon style art assets created by Jamie for a gamejam

Before Jamie starts his career in the industry he plans to continue his education by enrolling at Teesside University in Middlesbrough. Aside from his education Jamie intends to build more relationships with fellow developers before pursuing a career in video game cinematography.

In Action – Codemasters F1 Audio Team (Interview)

Note: This article was originally published on both the Sound Devices and SoundWorks Collection websites, August 2017

Codemasters’ audio team revs up the realism with Sound Devices MixPre-6 trackside while capturing the incredible sounds of Formula One racing for their award-winning videogame franchise.

Birmingham, UK – For three decades, Codemasters® has been one of the United Kingdom’s leading videogame developers with such classics like the TOCA series of touring car games, as well as Dizzy, DiRT, GRID Autosport, and the official games of FORMULA ONE™. The F1 racing series is created by a team of professional artists and sound designers headquartered at the company’s Birmingham studio.

Image from F1 2017 Videogame

Image from the F1 2017 videogame

The Audio Lead on F1 is Brad Porter, who worked his way up to that position after landing a job as a quality assurance tester in the competitive gaming industry. “I’ve always been a gamer since I was about 6, so (eventually) I started looking into game audio, and I tailored my third year projects at university toward game audio.”

Rounding out the F1 team is the Senior Audio Designer, James Kneen, who got his start burning games onto CDs. He has been with “Codies”, as the company is affectionately known, for about nine years, while the Junior Audio Designer on F1, David Gurney, joined the team in early 2016, just before completing a research degree in game audio.

The trio has worked exclusively on F1 2017 in recent months, and they always take audio very seriously.

Codemasters' F1 Audio Team

Codemasters’ F1 Audio Team: (L-R) James Kneen, Brad Porter, and David Gurney

“Racing is sort of a niche genre, especially something like F1,” Brad says. “Obviously with racing games, they’re not really one of those games you can play with the volume on mute. We have quite a lot of fan feedback if we get anything wrong. Fans like to hear the engine tone, and they like to know, based on the engine tone, when to shift gears and all that. So we work really hard to try and get that right, and get our vehicles sounding as authentic as possible.”

Over the years, the company’s audio teams have used a range of audio gear, including a Sound Devices 788T-SSD, which was used on projects like the DiRT franchise and GRID Autosport, where the 12-track recorder was onboard the vehicles with the sound designer adjusting levels on the fly. But when it came to capturing the high-octane sounds of Formula 1 racing, Brad says they needed something different.

“We’ve still got the 788T-SDD, and that still gets used. Although it doesn’t really get used for F1 because of its size. We’d never get that in an F1 car. We have to go with smaller devices.”

That meant turning to other smaller, prosumer audio recorders, but using them has posed some issues.

“One problem we have with some of our other non-Sound Devices recorders is the gain controls can get knocked quite easily,” Brad says, “so you’ll set the gain and want it to remain at that level all the time, but quite often on our other recorders, that gets knocked, and it’s actually ruined takes for us before. You know the levels have been way too hot or we’ve recorded nothing at all on occasions. One thing we were looking for when we were looking at other devices to replace some of our other (recorders) was the ability to lock out the gain controls so you can now use the rotaries as just volume faders.”

They found that ability when two team members purchased MixPre-6 audio recorders from Sound Devices for personal use.

“I’d never really used a Sound Devices piece of gear before,” admits James. “I knew of Sound Devices, I know (the company) has a really good reputation. The MixPre-6 in particular—the specs were what I was looking at—4 XLR inputs. I’ve been thinking about using it with the Sennheiser Ambeo mic, so it was important to have those inputs. I just thought the form-factor of the thing was very attractive. It’s a nice little, buff, compact unit.”

Other features attracted David. “Preamp quality was one thing that really drew me to the MixPre-6 over some of the others,” he says. “When you’re out in the field, having clear access to all of the interface, it’s not feeling small, and everything is tactile. You can record very easily with it and get good results out of it, and I saw that potential when I was looking at the videos online.”

David Gurney trackside at F1 race

David Gurney is trackside at an F1 race.

Brad adds, “All three of us were watching some video reviews while we were comparing the Sound Devices MixPre-6 to some of the competitors, and they were preamp tests, and Sound Devices on every video was coming up with the cleanest sounding preamp.”

So, James and David placed orders as soon as the new audio recorder, with its ultra-low-noise, Class-A Kashmir™ preamps, was available in the UK. Once the team had the MixPre-6 recorders in hand, they put them through their own trial runs.

“The first thing that strikes you is the build quality and form factor. It’s really beautifully engineered. It’s quite gorgeous. The preamps are amazing quality. They’re really focused, warm and smooth, and lovely,” says James, adding, “We did some internal tests between the MixPre-6 and a competitor’s recorder. We found that—we don’t do a lot of dialog ourselves—but the actual quality of the dialog on the MixPre was more intimate and warmer. It doesn’t sound as harsh…. It’s an amazing product.”

“Yeah, (the sound) is more like you hear it,” David says, “and with the projects that we work on, it needs to be accurate, and these recorders seem like they do that.

“For personal use, I’ve got a few recorders, but the MixPre-6 is my only Sound Devices, and it’s my recorder of choice,” David says, then laughs, adding, “when the application requires something that’s decent. There are others to use if you’ve got to be discrete, but this is the recorder I take with me to do almost anything.”

Although purchased for personal use, it didn’t take long for the lightweight MixPre-6s to find a way into the team’s professional gear bags and on location trackside for race day.

“Obviously, with our job, we’re trackside quite often,” Brad says. “We’ve recently been to Budapest, and it was really hot and sunny. There’s not much shade around, and again… I had one of our other recorders, and I was struggling to see the display on mine in the sunlight, but Dave had no problems—”

David jokingly chimes in, “I had to turn the backlight down on the Sound Devices, because it was burning my eyes.”

“Some of the takes I was doing,” Brad continues, “Because I couldn’t see my display properly on the device I was using, sometimes the levels were too hot. I had to keep shielding the screen so I could see what the levels were peaking at, but we don’t have that problem anymore…using (the MixPre-6s) trackside, and that’s been real useful for us.”

Brad Porter trackside

Brad Porter’s ready to capture sounds at an F1 racing event

So useful, the company now plans to invest in Sound Devices gear for future projects.

“We’ll be buying at least one MixPre-6 for the company in the next few months, followed by another one a year later,” Brad discloses. “Now that the MixPre-6 is here, they’re at an affordable price-point now, which is why I think (Sound Devices) has found a bit of a niche in the market. You’re competing with some of the recorders we would’ve bought in the past, but you’re offering amazing quality for that price.”

For the most accurate sound effects possible, the team does on-board recordings during test laps at the tracks and records externals on race day using K-tek boom poles with Rycote windshields. They pair their audio recorders with a wide variety of microphones, including miniature DPA 4061s and 4062s, shotgun mics like the Sennheiser MKH 60 or Rode NTG3, and stereo mics like the Rode NT4.

Being able to handle an assortment of microphones is one requirement the team considers vital in an audio recorder, but another feature that has proven beneficial during long sessions at the track is powering. The MixPre-6 offers several powering options from USB-C to AA batteries or L-mount Lithium-Ion batteries. For portability and longevity, the F1 audio team prefers to use the optional accessory called the MX-LMount battery sled.

James Kneen at F1 racing event

James Kneen in pit area at F1 racing event

“The L-mount batteries are awesome,” James says. “The Orca bag that I’ve got gives me access to the two sides of the L-mount sled. I found I can put one battery in, and when that’s getting low, I can put another battery on and unplug the other one, and you can constantly hotswap them. That is really useful track-side…. The L-mount accessory is great.”

When not recording the hum of powerful racing engines, the audio team has found other on-the-job uses for the MixPre-6 in the studio, such as when called upon to record team member interviews for the company’s Marketing Department.

Brad adds, “It’s great for that because it’s such a small form factor as well. You don’t have to carry a bunch of gear around with you. We can go anywhere. We can just take a MixPre-6 with us and a microphone, and we’re good to go.”

Size, inputs, and preamps are all qualities that make the MixPre-6 a “go-to” recorder for Codies’ F1 audio team, but sometimes it’s what a device doesn’t have that’s just as impressive.

David says, “While the MixPre-6 has loads of features, it doesn’t have loads of stuff that we don’t need, because what we do is different—”

“It’s not cluttered,” Brad interjects.

“Right, I mean we don’t use timecode and all that sort of stuff,” David continues, “So we don’t need a timecode generator built into the device, and it just makes it far simpler.”

“Every function feels important,” James finishes. “It’s perfect.”

“Trackside – Goodwood Circuit” was recorded by Codemasters Junior Sound Designer David Gurney. These sounds were recorded trackside at Goodwood Circuit in the UK in 2017. It features a flyover of Hawk T1s by the Royal Air Force Red Arrows aerobatic team followed by passing race cars on the track. To make the recording, he used the MixPre-6 in an Orca bag with a Superlux S502 stereo mic and Rycote baby ball gags.

Brad Porter at Drift Championship 2012Brad capturing audio trackside at a Drift Championship race a few years ago.

# # #

Founded in 1986, Codemasters is one of the UK’s most successful games developers. Based outside of Royal Leamington Spa in Warwickshire, the Southern campus is the global headquarters for Codemasters Software Company Limited and houses teams that create titles including the DiRT franchise. Other locations include studios in Birmingham where the Formula One series is developed and Runcorn, Cheshire which houses the Evolutions Studios success with Driveclub and Motorstorm. The company also has supporting teams in Malaysia and India. For more information, visit Codies’ website at: www.codemasters.com.

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F1 2017 – Available Worldwide on Friday, August 25, 2017

F1 2017 – Audio Reviews

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“They… sound fantastic”
http://uk.ign.com/articles/2017/08/25/f1-2017-review#article_comments

“…how emotive these vehicles can be for a certain vintage of F1 nerd, and how beautiful they are to behold in F1 2017. Those sounds are spot on, and enough to send a shiver down the spine…”
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2017-08-21-f1-2017-review

“It’s the audio that really takes the cake in F1 2017, though. The cars sound absolutely fantastic”
http://wccftech.com/review/f1-2017-taking-pole-position/

“The end result is a recipe for what is perhaps the series’ best sound direction to date”
https://www.gtplanet.net/f1-2017-review/

“Overall, the sound quality is spectacular in F1 2017.”
http://www.hardcoregamer.com/2017/08/21/review-f1-2017/268712/

“The car sounds are also intense.”
https://www.gamingnexus.com/Article/5457/F1-2017/

“audio and sound effects are loyal and electrifying”
http://it.ign.com/f1-2017-ps4/129772/review/f1-2017-la-recensione

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“the audio quality is excellent throughout.”
https://www.gamereactor.eu/reviews/584573/F1+2017/

“sounds superb with engines as realistic as their life like brothers”
http://www.gamehype.co.uk/review-f1-2017/

“All the sound in this game is great anyway, but the sound of the classics really emphasizes the hard work that went into them.”
http://www.vpdaily.com/f1-2017-review-setting-the-pace/

“the engine sounds … are thunderous – particularly in some of those aforementioned classic cars.”
http://www.pushsquare.com/reviews/ps4/f1_2017?utm_source=pushsquare&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=review-notification

“Spectacular audio mix”
http://atomix.vg/review-f1-2017/

“the audio of the roaring engines… really does make for a truly impressive entry to the series.”
http://www.thexboxhub.com/f1-2017-review/

Saturday Spotlight: Sounding Out F1 2017’s Audio (Interview)

Note: This article was originally published on the Codies Blog, June 2017

When you’re driving F1 cars in-game, both classic or modern, what they sound like really makes the difference – from hearing the 2017 Scuderia Ferrari overtake you around Spa, or hearing the charm of those screaming V10s or V8s. As there’s nothing that puts a smile on our face more here at Codemasters than the sound of an F1 car driven around a circuit in anger, we sat down with F1 2017’s Audio Lead Brad Porter and Audio Designer David Gurney to sound them out about F1 2017’s audio.

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What’s new for F1 2017?

Brad: As an audio team F1 2016 was our maiden voyage, taking over from the previous audio designers. As a team we decided that an important part of our job going forward was to communicate with and take feedback from the community. So going into F1 2017 we’ve listened and we’ve made improvements as well as added many new features. As always we’re very active on the forum, on social media and on YouTube so feel free to continue sending in comments, feedback and letting us know about any issues you find. We’re really proud of what we’ve achieved as an audio team for F1 2017 and we can’t wait for you to hear the results!

David: For 2017, we’ve made a host of improvements, but the two biggest ones have been around how sound propagates through the virtual world. These are occlusion and convolution reverb. Previously, when a car disappeared behind something, like through the tunnel at Monaco, you might have been able to hear it through the wall. If a car drives behind a building or something now, the audio should change according to what is in the way. The second one is quite nerdy, but it sounds super cool. We previously used algorithmic reverb, but now we use convolution reverb. What this allows us to do is to take an ‘impulse’ of a real world location, for example a real tunnel, and apply that effect to our Monaco tunnel. We have a bunch of different impulses that are used in different environments, so each one has more character and sounds more accurate.

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How have you recorded the sound for F1 2017?

David: We attend events (with the cars) and organise our own. We take a bunch of microphones and stands, memory cards, and batteries on trips. Almost all of our recording trips take place ‘in the field’, so we have to be prepared for bad weather – like the rain at the British Grand Prix in 2016 – and good weather – like the second stage of the 2017 pre-season testing in Barcelona, where one side of my body was burnt from being stood trackside pointing a microphone all day! Recording trips are a huge amount of fun, especially when they involve my favourite sport, but they are tiring and sometimes challenging.

When it comes to recording the cars themselves, we grab as much trackside reference as we can, from as many different angles as we can, and we work alongside teams to record their cars. As you may know, car engines and exhausts are very hot to the touch – especially on high performance cars like these – so we have to be very careful with microphone placement and preparation, since we don’t want any melted cables or the microphones themselves being damaged. We generally give the equipment to the teams’ engineers who will mic the car up, according to our guidance, as they know how to balance the weight of the equipment to maintain performance.

Brad: We’ve been out and about doing some crowd recording sessions, you may have even seen us next to the podium at the Silverstone 2016 GP! We also recruited some willing Codies staff to perform chants and other crowd noise for us so if you’re lucky there’s now also a chance you’ll hear the crowd chanting driver names. We’ve also made great efforts this year to research the little details that fans may not even realise unless they visit a circuit. We’ve researched pit horns for example and ensure to the best of our knowledge that each track now has authentic pit horns triggering whenever a car enters the pit lane. Where possible we’ve grabbed the actual pit horn used on each track. With the help of some teams we’ve even recorded different types of air blowers.

What should people listen out for in F1 2017, that they might not otherwise notice?

David: One thing that I think is that when audio works well, it doesn’t get noticed.

Brad: Our new occlusion and reverb systems. We’re now using convolution in game so audio with the world now sounds far more like it belongs in that world, while tunnels now sound like tunnels and grandstands now sound like grandstands!

What’s your favourite thing about your job?

David: This job suits me down to the ground, based on my experience and interest in audio, my love for video games, and my passion for all things motorsport. It’s almost like the job was made for me. It’s a joy to work on this project, with this team. And I love Mondays.

Brad: I get to work with two other great audio guys and we’re all on the same page about how we want to drive audio forward for F1 2017 and beyond. We all have our own particular strengths and we gel really well as a team as a result, so in almost a decade of working at Codies I’m having more fun than I’ve ever had here.

What are you playing at the moment?

David: When I was asked this question, I said Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild because it had just been released. I would be lying if I said I had completed it, Hyrule is soooo big. And Mario Kart 8. Both are fantastic games.

Brad: I have a big backlog, including some games of a daunting size like The Witcher 3 but I’m renovating a house and I have a 1 year old son so I’m finding it increasingly difficult to put aside time. Right now I’m playing the odd bit of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and I’ve just started Rise of the Tomb Raider.

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We can’t wait for you to hear what both the modern and classic cars of F1 2017 sounds like, and fortunately we’ve only got until the 25th August to wait! Don’t forget that you can pre-order F1 2017 now on Steam here.