Creating The Sound For Two Point Hospital – How Game Audio Is Made


So Gross! My name’s Phil. I’m Tom
and we’re from Cedar Studios and we’ve done all things audio for Two Point Hospital. “At Two Point Hospital, over 52% of our patients believe they leave healthier than when they
arrived. Our precisely calibrated equipment is operated by compassionate healthcare practitioners,
many of whom have even been to medical school or watched ER.”
Two Point Hospital is a hospital simulation game, you’re kind of building your hospital
empire and you’re basically spinning loads of plates, trying to make sure you’re not
killing to many people while rinsing them for a profit basically.
But yeah for Two Point Hospital we did the sound effects, music, ambience, voice over,
anything that you hear has gone through us in someway or form basically.
With the sound effects when we first started this project, we were like “let’s do everything
ourselves, we’re not going to use any samples or sound effects, we’re going to do it all
original.” and that was part of our pitch for them, like we’re going to do it all bespoke
for you, and we ended up seeing the machines they were making and we were like “I wish
we’d never said that”, some of them they are huge as well, you’d have to go to factories
cos of the size of these machines. I mean the good thing about this project is that
we’ve had the build and that gets updated everyday because people are always adding
to it, and we didn’t get given like “here’s some footage, make some sounds”, it was like
“here’s the game, play it, what do you think sounds good”. So we’d be clicking on things
thinking that could do with a sound, or that sounds too loud, or that machine sounds too
scary. There were a lot of things though that in the game you don’t want to sound to cartoony
like the doors for instance, like you can’t really get a different door sound. We tried,
we did try to make it a bit funny, but you can’t really, a door is a door. So there are
some sound effects that just are what you see.
There’s a machine called Chromatherapy where the patient goes in, he’s got greys anatomy,
he hasn’t got any colour, so he goes into this machine and it spins these three paint
colours round and just sprays paint on them. Like an Essex spray tan. Yeah kind of like
a spray tan thing, and there’s a curtain backdrop which the paint also hits so we ended up messing
with loads of stuff and I think the final one we used was yogurt blowing through a straw
into an umbrella. So we had a mic set up here on the floor with Phil, blowing loads of yogurt.
Pretty gross. Yeah we kind of layered it up, we had like
just blowing through the straws which gave you the airy sound. Then we had the yogurt
spraying out, and then we had the yogurt onto the umbrella which kind of sounded like the
curtain that they have on the back of the machine.
You got this big guy, have more… Oh man this is like torture.
The machines, because they are so ridiculous it was trying to make them less realistic
at some points. It’s like how can we make this more silly. Yeah a lot of the first stuff
we did, did sound a bit too real for the game and a bit scary, and when we looked back on
it, we were like it is a bit too gritty. Yeah there is this man with this Cubism disease
gets dropped in this meat grinder and that sounds a bit gory and then we ended up changing
it to be more of like a bubbling, more of a silly thing again.
Sound design wise it goes from like musical machines to an MRI scanner. Yeah there is
an MRI scanner which you contacted the animator didn’t you, just like how can we make this
funny, it’s an MRI machine its pretty serious, what did he say? I think he said that some
things just aren’t funny and that’s funny in itself. So it’s quite nice having a mummy
machine and then next door is just this MRI scanner, it’s kind of this weird juxtaposition
that kind of makes it funny. The closest we got to like an actual brief
was an elevator jukebox kind of feel. So there’s loads of different styles. Because there’s
a radio DJ in the game, they wanted it to sound like songs but also not have vocals
in, but still quite backgroundy too. So they didn’t have to loop which is quite nice because
most games you have to have looping tracks, tracks that will last 10-12 minutes, but for
this they’re not any longer than 3-4 minutes, same as like an average radio song.
We kind of started on guitar, sometimes to be fair we’d start by writing a little piano
riff and then put it into Logic, add our own percussion elements. Most of the percussion
in the game is actually all recorded. That’s all recorded real yeah, there’s bongos, we’ve
got claves, what else? Sorry I touched your knee. Tom’s knee! Yeah maybe actually we do
have some percussive claps and stuff in there. We would reference the guitars quite a lot
to get a guide track down first. So we would record that live, and then maybe we’d turn
that into a weird organ, it’s kind of our theme throughout the game.
So I made the PolyPipes instrument, it’s made with PVC bathroom pipes, so we made that instrument
and then we sampled it just so we could play it on the keyboard and you could get a wider
range of octaves with that. We recorded it with ASP880 over there, just had two overheads
on it and then one SM57 just on the actual hits, and the bottom of the pipe as well,
and then it was like 2000 samples of that, just that instrument. Having to hit it at
each velocity as well, so like really softly, slightly harder, like 5 or 6 times for each
velocity. It took a while, and it was kind of a weird thing to do but it actually does
sound really cool and it paid off really well. That ended up on a track called Night Ward,
and it’s kind of the bass line, and it’s got a bit of a lead melody to it as well.
With the ambience in the game, we actually recorded it in quite a few locations so we
had the trees were done here in Guildford, we did a beach in Spain which Phill went out
while we were all drinking and decided to go and record a beach on his own, dedicated!
Yep about 1030-11 at night, came out great. everyone was wondering where Phil walked off
with his microphone. And then we went to Scotland as well and got a nice river, babbling brook
ambience. Not all for this, they didn’t pay us to do this, but… I wish they did, but
no, everything you hear in this game is from a real location which we recorded, which is
quite cool. Yeah that’s true, we went to Surrey Hospital as well to record some background
mumble, ambience stuff, and I ended up going in the wrong ward. Yeah the Gynaecology ward
isn’t the best place to bring a microphone… Yeah so I was like “Tom Tom, this looks like
the right amount of people here, lets go in there!”and then you were like “wait wait wait!
This isn’t the ward you need to be in Phil!” We didn’t record the gynaecology ward, that’s
not in the game, it’s just a lot of cafe ambience really.
“This is Ricky Hawthorn on Two Point Radio!” There’s quite a few aspects of voiceover in
this game, you’ve got the DJ lines which is this radio show which is constantly going
on. You’ve got the tannoy lady who’s constantly telling you little cues to like, you need
to check out this room, and also the little people in the game, they all have little sounds
if you zoom in you can hear. They’re basically all Tom, mostly! So if you pick up anyone
from the game, it’s going to be me going like “Ooooh”.
We went to their offices, Two Point Studio offices, and recorded quite a few staff members
as well for like little emotive sounds. The little people kind of interact with each other
at certain points so sometimes they’re flirting with each other or sometimes they’re angry
so you’ve got loads of different varied voices attached to each character, which is quite
cool. We just made it a little detail if you really zoom in you can hear these little interactions
between people. The only time that you can really, that they really stand out you can
hear them is when they’re on the toilets, because toilets are funny.
With the tannoy lines as well, we had the voice actor for that coming in here and she
was set up in the other room, it was over a few sessions because there was so much to
get through. But that was all done here and then afterwards we kind of just had to smash
all that lovely recording up with a nice, shrill, horrible tannoy effect anyway.
“Unattended patients may be removed and destroyed” “Unattended patients may be removed and destroyed”
And then the DJ radio was recorded with Marc Silk, who’s a a really talented voice actor.
Yeah he’s done Johnny Bravo, Scooby Doo, Danger Mouse. He has his own studio so he recorded
it there and then they’d send us over the files and we’d have to go through and cut
up the best takes and put them in the game. Each DJ has a different style as well, it’s
kind of like… “This is Ricky Hawthorn”
“You’re listening to Harrison Wolf” “Sir Nigel Bickleworth”
He also did all the radio adverts as well. The adverts are so crazy and random anyway,
they were all completely different, and we tried to mix them up a bit.
“Eat some Cheesy Gubbins. Cheesy Gubbins, the snack for people with nothing to lose!”
They’re quite infrequent so it’s almost like a nice little surprise when you get one. There
was one advert that was recorded, it was like a fake popstar in this world the’ve made,
and we got this really talented singer called Sophie Worsley to actually like sing, we gave
her the lyrics they’d written and just to like sing this melody we gave her and she
just completely smashed it. Yeah it’s called ‘Nice Smelling Face’ and ‘Fish Whispers’.
“Fish Whispers well that’s all I can hear…” With the UI at the start, we tried to do it
all real world sounds, didn’t we. Then we did a rehaul like a couple of months ago and
we fell into this bubbly kind of poppy bank of sounds. I think we ended up going, the
UI sounds like its all from this different space, lets bring it all back together and
make them all sound related. So like with the pop, we ended up just having this really
nice, satisfying plunger pop or something, and we ended up wacking it in EXS24 and just
use that, and we would make, when you place a room and build it it’s like a satisfying
kind of wobble as it pops up. Say a machine has about, I don’t know, 20
sounds on it, we needed to cut down each individual part of the machine and split them up because
there’s different speeds in the game, you can go slow, normal time and sped up, so yeah
we needed to cut them down into small pieces so when we implement them, when you speed
up the game it doesn’t sound like anything has really changed, just the pace of it. It’s
almost like you have hitpoints for a machine so instead of having just one audio file for
a machine animation, we have like ‘Door Open’, ‘Door Hit’, ‘Door Close’, ‘Door Close Hit’,
you implement it almost to the animation and you tie these hitpoints of sounds to the exact
point, so that when it is sped up it will always stick there. But that was like the
trickiest thing sound implementation wise. We implemented it all just straight into Unity,
we didn’t have any middleware in this project so it was just us, the coders and just us
annoying coders basically, like “we need this. We need this.” Yeah, but the coders have been
really helpful about it so it was pretty easy once we got like a good dialogue going with
them. Yeah. When we upload the sounds, you can kind of
change basic things like volume and like radius on where they can be heard, so we could tweak
as much as we could in Unity like once we had the sounds made, and we set them all at
about a set level and then tweaked it from there.
The game is out now so check it out if you are interested, it is really fun and I’m not
just saying it because… I’m paid to. It’s definitely worth getting and having a look
at. Especially if you love those old sim management games, this is going to be right up your street.
Yeah definitely. Yeah thanks to Audient for coming down to
Cedar Studios to see how we did the sounds for Two Point Hospital. Come again whenever
you want. Whenever you want!

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