Euphonious is a new company, headquartered in Dundee, created by industry veteran and long-time audio geek Raymond Usher, formerly of Realtime Worlds, Rockstar North and DMA Design.
Euphonious is offering a comprehensive range of audio services to digital, broadcast, animation and of course, interactive companies. From sound effect creation to music composition, licensing, direction and general consultancy, Euphonious offers everything a development, animation, production company or studio might need.
Despite being only a couple of months old, Euphonious has already signed its first major title. The company is working with highly regarded developer Traveller’s Tales, to create music for the cut scenes within the forthcoming LEGO Pirates Of The Caribbean game.
Euphonious is now looking for new partners, new projects and new opportunities across the whole creative sector – and we wish them the very best of luck…
Scottishgames recently caught up with founder, managing director, composer and musical whiz, Raymond Usher, to ask him a few questions about the company, his background and the goals for Euphonious…
[Scottishgames] Hi Raymond, thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Congratulations on the foundation of Euphonious. So what is the company all about?
[Raymond Usher] We provide audio services – award winning audio services – covering sound effects creation, music composition and licensing, independent audio direction and consultation to video game developers, animation companies, website developers, film, television, radio, and so on. Basically if it needs to make a sound – we do it. We are currently working on our 6th and 7th projects at the moment since our launch in January of this year, with all work coming exclusively through word of mouth.
We are also an audio technology company, highly experienced in the area of audio programming and development of audio engines for video games, and are using this “hands on” experience to develop the next generation of audio middleware which will make the current generation seem practically prehistoric.
[SG] That sounds pretty comprehensive. So you’re not confining yourself to the mainstream games sector in terms of clients?
[RU] We want to work with any companies producing everything from high quality games and animation, through to websites and digital media products, to further enhance the quality of their work through our understanding of audio.
Our client list ranges from companies with less that ten people working on mobile and social media titles, right up to multinational developers working on AAA multiplatform franchises. Of course we realise that budgets in general can be very tight so will work with developers to achieve the best quality audio experience whether that be from our bespoke audio creation services, or from our forthcoming downloadable audio content library.
[SG] What projects have you been involved with so far, that you’re happiest with?
[RU] That’s like asking me which of my children is my favourite – impossible to answer. We love working with all our clients and are proud of every single project we do. With so many amazing companies out there producing so much great material this truly is an exciting time to be doing what we are doing.
[SG] Audio in gaming has always suffered from being something of an afterthought. Lock a friend of the boss’s in a room for an afternoon with a guitar and a distortion pedal and you have yourself a soundtrack. Is this still the case?
[RU] I don’t believe it’s necessarily an afterthought. Rather it’s something which in some cases, doesn’t make complete sense to start at the beginning of a project. Of course it should be planned for throughout development, ensuring that the necessary resources are reserved, the underlying audio technology is created, and that an audio style is developed which will perfectly complement the overall experience, but until the game design has solidified and we start seeing playable builds it can often be considered wasted effort trying to integrate audio into a game which is still evolving.
In our experience the majority of audio development occurs within the last third of a project. Of course every game is different and we encourage developers to contact us so that we can discuss their individual requirements and provide recommendations.
Also audio, unlike visuals, tends to work on a subconscious level. It can enhance the gameplay, make it feel more solid, feed the emotions of each scene, suggest more activity than is actually there, and has actually been proven to increase the perceived quality of the visuals. It’s almost ironic however that we know when we’ve done our job well as no one notices, and this is because the audio is “as it is expected to be” and successfully contributes to the overall game experience which at the end of the day is the most important thing.
[SG] You clearly feel very strongly about the whole issue. So why should developers and creative types worldwide consider working with Euphonious?
[RU] Yes. OK, put quite simply – you need to hire us, and not just because we produce award winning audio, but also because we can reduce your development costs. Plus we’re jolly pleasant folk.
As the quality of audio has increased over the years so have the budgets. For developers with in-house teams, these have grown rapidly to accommodate the rush towards the end of a project. However for the majority of a project, this team is probably not working at full capacity. This is clearly inefficient and burns money. The more cost effective solution would be either to maintain a small in-house team and then outsource the rush in demand (to ourselves), or use us as an ‘entire audio department’ for hire.
For developers where it is simply not cost effective to employ an in-house audio team we are ideally suited to fill that gap as and when required. The alternative is for someone from the development team to take time out of their normal duties in order to source and edit the required audio, although you do have to ask whether this is the most efficient and cost effective use of this person’s time?
Additional concerns in the areas of copyright and rights ownership also need to be considered otherwise this may add additional risk to the project or even the company. Irrespective of the size of the audio team there are also additional software and hardware costs to be considered for resources which could potentially lie idle for the majority of the time. By outsourcing the audio development to us, developers can ensure that there is only the minimum capital overhead tied up in audio equipment and development studio space.
We’d like to thank Raymond for his time and welcome Euphonious
to the Scottishgames community. Feel free to say hello…