Hello everyone! I’m here today to post some info about the sound design of Qasir al-Wasat.
The concept behind Qasir soundscape came mainly from a perception trait of it’s protagonist. It is not from this realm, and thus have a tenuous distancing posture that brings a layered perception based on its opinions/view of this realm. This generated a scale: things of its realm are less abstract than our objects that are less abstract than our animals that are less abstract than humans. Unfortunately, animals had to wait due to scope limiting and they are planned to appear only in a eventual Qasir sequel. Everything that appears on the game is put somewhere in such scale of meaning before producing it.
Objects have a blend of normal and reverse sounds, animals would be reversed with a strong filter, and humans are so abstract that the they lose completely it’s reference. Every sound emitted by them are heard as a musical note (thanks to Prokofiev and the first animation sound designers). But it is not music itself, as it lacks several attributes. However, one attribute not missing is that every note is under a specific scale, strongly referenced to the Arabic Maqam, an ethnical “”melodic mode”" from traditional arabic music based on improvisation. Also, each distinct kind of human has its own instrument, all of them chosen to better represent the feel of the ambience of the game.
One of the biggest issues we had during the audio development of the game is that everything was… empty, dull empty. We did want to create an eerie atmosphere and work with the solitude of the protagonist in a not so comfortable zone, but… it got too dull. Fortunately, two masterpieces got into my hand (or.. ear =). One was the indie game Limbo and the other was Tarkovski’s movie Stalker. Both of them has a very similar approach to soundtrack, as they don’t really work with music in the common sense. But they create GREAT atmosphere with sound only, and we adapted several aspects according to what we have learned with them.
Wanna check it out how things are now? Download our public demo or pre-order it on Qasir’s website! ;]