October 22nd 2012
This is the first in a series of posts which will introduce you to the crew behind the development of Star Citizen.
Chris Roberts and Martin Galway go way, way back: they attended high school together in Manchester, England, and Martin was there in 1983 when Chris made one of his first commercial sales to Optima Software (Martin aged 17, Chris aged 15). After a few years at Ocean Software carving out his legendary status as Commodore 64 musician,Martin came to Austin in 1988 as a contractor, to help develop Times of Lore; two years later he returned permanently to take a job as Origin Systems’ Audio Director. From then on he was responsible for increasingly complex audio projects including sound effects, music and, as the Soundblaster took the market by storm, speech. Sharp-eared Wing Commander fans may recognize his voice as a Kilrathi in the original Wing Commander II demo! Martin’s audio work at Origin would go on to be an instrumental part of Strike Commander, Wing Commander III, Wing Commander IV and others. He headed up content creation on Origin’s first CDROM game, a port of “Ultima 6” to Fujitsu’s FM-Towns PC. To hold all the digital speech samples for the game, Martin’s PC had the largest hard drive in the building at that time - a whopping 320MB.
Martin joined Digital Anvil shortly after it was founded in 1996 and was responsible for the audio on all of their games, in addition to earning an on-screen screen credit in the Wing Commander film! Long a champion of getting ambient background sounds exactly right, the scope of his work can be best appreciated in Freelancer’s vast and varied universe… and his voice shows up once or twice, too! Martin’s fame predates his work on Origin’s classics, though: he may be the single best-known composer for the Commodore 64 and has a rabid following in that community. His “chiptunes” for that early system are known worldwide and are routinely sampled and remixed today.
On Star Citizen, he’s back in the sound engineer chair again, creating and mixing everything needed for the GDC Online demo shown on October 10th. It’s an incredibly complex task: something as simple as the sound the player’s boots make while climbing the ladder into the cockpit might require combining half a dozen or more samples. He’s already developed great ambient, directional noise for things like the UEES Paul Steed’s engines, so that they shift from speaker to speaker and fade away as your fighter passes around them. Its deep rumble confirms you’re in the presence of something gigantic. In short, every single sound you hear in the finished game will have over two decades of Wing Commander and Freelancer experience behind it!