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April 16, 2015

Q&A: Cedar Jones, Halfbrick Audio Designer

Hey, joyriders!If you can’t get enough of Jetpack Joyride, you’ll be thrilled to know that your favourite tracks from the game – including the main theme and the headphones remix – are now available for download on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon!

In light of this exciting news, we spoke with the multi-talented Cedar Jones, audio designer at Halfbrick, to share a little more about his role, recording process, and what it takes to create a world-class soundtrack. We hope you enjoy it!---

Hi Cedar! How does it feel to have the Jetpack Joyride soundtrack on so many different storefronts?

It’s a pretty awesome feeling! As a musician it’s great to know that people are enjoying your music, and with the tracks now available like this it means virtually anybody can access them. We pour our heart and soul into the music we write, so I like knowing that people can listen to them and hopefully enjoy our hard work! I’d love to hear somebody’s ringtone on the train one day and realise, “Hey, that’s Jetpack Joyride!”

That must be extremely exciting for you! Can you tell us a little more about your job?

As an audio designer it’s my job to create all of the audio for our games. This might mean writing music, creating sound effects, or even recording ourselves screaming into the microphone. It’s quite varied and there’s rarely a dull moment. We have a lot of fun making sure that our games sound fun and interesting.

Can you describe a typical day as an audio designer at Halfbrick?

Our day will often start with a good chat with one of our Game Designers. We talk to them about their vision for a game or a particular part of a game – how it should feel, how it should function etc. Then, as audio designers we convert this information into some tangible tasks for ourselves and then go about creating the audio.

Making the audio itself is quite a varied process. Sometimes we’re writing music and recording the different parts on the piano. Sometimes we’re mangling and mixing together different recordings from our sound library into new and unique sounds, and sometimes we’re simply sticking a credit card in a fan and recording the noise that it makes so that we can use it for a helicopter jetpack!

Once we've created the audio, we’ll often talk to the Programmers about implementing it into the game. Then once it’s all in the game we’ll play it and see how it feels. We might go through this whole process several times before we’re satisfied with the end result.

What would you say is the coolest thing about your job?

Well, as the most awesome job in the world I have a lot to choose from here! The coolest thing is probably that I actually get paid to write music, play with microphones, make loud noises, and just have a lot of fun every day.

Tell us something interesting about creating audio for games!

Did you know that writing music only takes up less than half of our time? When people think about game audio, the soundtrack is often the first thing that springs to mind. In actual fact, creating and implementing the sound effects is a huge part of our job. A game’s sound design has a massive impact on how it will feel for the player, and we’re careful to give it the attention it deserves!

Could you tell us more about the composition process for the Jetpack Joyride tracks?

Writing the main theme music for Jetpack Joyride was actually quite a long and difficult process. I wrote twelve completely different drafts before we were able to agree on the overall direction for the music. Some drafts were too serious sounding, some were a bit melodramatic, and some were a bit too silly. The team got really involved in this process, providing feedback and making suggestions along the way.

Eventually, we decided on a blend of some funky riffs with jazz elements thrown in. When I showed everybody the drafts we all looked at each other and knew that we’d found the right feeling. After that, it was a simple process to set out the overall structure, flesh out all the different parts, mix it all together and finally add all the little bits of polish.

Choosing the direction for the headphones remix music was easier, but the track itself was more difficult to write. I knew I wanted it to have lots of elements of the original theme, but with a heavy dance influence and harder, edgier dubstep elements. Several drafts later, I got onto something that we all felt represented the game properly and had the right level of intensity. We knew it was the right choice when everybody started dressing Barry up in the DJ Headphones!

Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. We really appreciate it!

Any time!

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