“If you watch a horror movie and you turn the music off, it’s not going to be scary anymore. Hitchcock’s not the same without the suspense.”
— Philp Benefall (COFOUNDER of Elias Software)
Kristopher Eng & Philip Bennefall are cofounders of Elias Software. Their tool, Elias, is upending how the industry works with sound through adaptive technology. Elias creates creative flexibility for both composers and developers and allows experimentation and real time feedback like never before.
Kristopher is a composer and does various things for the company but also spends half of his time composing for It Takes 2 at Hazelight. Phillip’s story is very unique, as he is legally blind since birth and is a seasoned C++ programmer and audio engineer. He does game development without visual cues and instead relies on audio cues, like dialogue, music, and sound effects to continue to be efficient at his craft.
One of the major issues with sound technology when developing games is that current tools are solving problems fifteen years ago. Kristopher expands
“these problems need to be solved today. If you’re a composer, you want to handle the whole process of implementing music to your game, without Elias, most composers have to plan f
or having three or four people for implementation.”
When asked about why the sound department has less innovation then other disciplines in the last decade Philip shares his thoughts.
“I think it’s just a matter of reducing the underlying complexity when it comes to how much coding is needed. That’s where the major game engines have taken leaps in the last decade. Certainly, I feel like audio has been left behind. Just given how we set up Elias to have a visual scripting system. It feels weird for me to advertise visual solutions, but I’m going to do it.
It really helps to be able to see exactly what’s going on and be able to follow the control flow in real time as you’re playing the game. Because That’s another important point is that you can actually change the logic of the audio as you’re playing the game without restarting the game. That’s a huge important point to mention is that you don’t have all this iteration time going back and forth, back and forth, rebuilding sound banks, restarting the game, or sometimes even rebuilding the game. You can just do it live, and that’s I think that’s a huge boost for productivity, if anything.”
Topics that were discussed in this episode:
- Increase of Inclusivity and Accessibility During CoVID
- The Beginning of Elias
- The Importance of Sound in Telling a Story
- Solving Issues for Composers and Sound Designers
- Why Good Tools Saves Time
- Boundaries of Music In Games Haven’t Been Challenged
- Making Things Accessible Improves your end Product
- The Increase of Communication Because of the Pandemic
- Why Game Companies Should Use Elias
- Next 5 Years of the Game Industry
“If you’re interested in trying, just apply for our ELIAS INSIDER PROGRAM and you can try the software. I would say in general is to consider the audio very carefully. Let it be an integral part of your development process from day one. Don’t let it be an afterthought, and the same goes for Accessibility for people with different types of abilities. Try to make your gaming experience more inclusive and if that’s hard and you don’t know how to do it, there are lots of ways you can reach out to me. You can reach out to lots of other people for advice, for help, for tips. It’s hard, but I think it’s well worth it in the end.”
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Kristopher Eng:
Give it a try and have a taste of the future in audio compositing!