Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Part 2: Everybody was kungfu fighting!

Here in part 2, I'll elaborate on the work on the Drunken Master, the other new hero to come to Heroes of Newerth:


The Drunken master is based upon the martial art known as: Zui Quan

But I knew it would also be very heavy based around Jackie Chan's Drunken Master 1&2

I'm a huge fan of kung fu films because I grew up with watching Bruce Lee, Jackie chan and at the end of my teenage years: Jet Li. They all are incredible to watch!

With kung fu movies in mind, I wanted the drunken master to sound like a kung fu movie, meaning that the whooshes and hits - had to be made like the old time sounds used to be.

I put my foot down to not use inorganic sounds (computer sounds) in order to create the sound effects I wanted, unless I had to add any delays or the like.
I also wanted to use an Analog recorder, which were used back in the days to get sound effects.
I don't own an analog recorder and getting my hands on one quickly, turned out to be more difficult that it should have been.
So I ended up using my digital recorder, but being adamant to handle it the same way they created the sound effects back in the old days.

I also knew that there was a different aspect of the sound which was liquid.
Having seen his animations and his model, I knew what sounds I had to create for him.


MsPudding, Diva and I - wrote his lines, with additional help from a friend of mine and my GF.

Writing his lines turned out to be quite fun. I wanted his attack grunts to be like typical anime\kung fu chinese films, where you hear them say the name of their moves as they do them.
It sounds quite cool on paper, but when ported into the game, it was just an obstruction.
I added more typical "HAI! HOOO!" grunts and removed most of the lines. I still kept some in, because at a later date, they added 4 unique attacks to him and they are all really cool, so on two of them, he says stuff as he attacks.

I wanted to use lots of sound design in his lines as well, to give him memorable moments.
Which brings us to the voice actor:

I was worried we wouldn't get a good enough actor to portray the drunken master correctly.
But then we got an audition from Rich Crankshaw, that blew every other 70-80 auditions we had, out of the water.
He nailed the voice, the acting, the recording quality and the lines perfectly.
I have proposed we use him in more characters because he did an incredible job.

Here are some of his lines, it ends with 2 select flavour sounds, but before they play, there's a taunt prior sound:

Sound Design:

Attacks and Whooshes:

The old fashion whooshes of kungfu, are made by using a small bamboo stick that you swish through the air; in recent years, they've been using a lot of cloth whoosh noises too.

So, I ended up using both the bamboo stick and a piece of cloth attached to the stick, then I whooshed it around, until I had enough material that I were satisfied with.

With that done, I started working on the attack sounds:

Fight sounds in kungfu movies, are very loud and sharp.
For the old kind, the sounds were made typically by using whip sounds, hitting punch bags with baseball bats, etc.
In the matrix films, they ended up using the sound of hitting car tires with sticks and iron rods for punches.

I wanted to do kung fu impacts rather than making sounds for his cup impacts, there's enough metal noises...

I ended up using whip sounds, layered with me hitting a heap of cloth with a baseball bat and slapping my own hand.
Perfect job to take out all that anger after losing a game...

Here's the whooshes and impacts together:

Idle, Bored & Walking:

For his idle, he staggers around, drunk like a skunk.
For his bored, he hits around in the air,
For his walking, he moves all over the place, kind of tipsy.

I really wanted his sound to be very highly detailed for all his animations and specially for his walking and his idle.
I collected various bottles and jars that I could find and started recording water movements in them. I had around 2 hours of materials to pick from and for future use.

I also wanted the barrel to have a sound but I don't have a barrel laying randomly around and due to a time schedule, I had to design one
I ended up finding a plastic container that could take large amount of water, I filled it as much as I could and started to slowly move it around.
It was incredibly heavy and turned out to be quite the workout!

After it was all done, I listened through it and it didn't sound like a barrel enough, so I turned my attention to a plug-in called Altiverb, which basically recreates room sound.
By trying and retrying, I finally got the barrel sound I liked.

Here are some of the samples I recorded without any edits - other than splitting them up into one file, it also contains recordings of bottles filling up, which were used in various parts of his sound design:

These sounds were used for all of his animations but specially in his walking, idle and bored.
I limited the range of the sounds, so that people won't be over-saturated by them.

Here is a video clip of his Idle, bored and walking animations with sound:

I remembered putting the code for the footsteps - took half a day worth of work to get right. They were added for all his animations.

Ability 1:

In his first ability, he jumps forward and then dances around his opponent, he then strikes with a strong attack that sends the opponent flying.

For this ability, I recorded the sound of a cloth movement by using a pair of jeans.
I then used one of the previous recorded punch sounds, made it larger and gave it an analog echo.

I then used one of the voice recordings I felt fit and added that for the jump.
For his spinning around, I ended up using just his voice, Rich recorded a whole bunch of laughing sounds that worked quite well for when the character dances around.
I added three versions that randomly plays and for the punch, I decided to use his "FIST BREAKER!" yell.

Edit: I have increased the volume on the hit after the video recording.

Ability 2:

Second ability is him drinking and spilling liquid all over the place.

For this ability, I used a lot of my previous water recordings including a sound file that was used for the taunt animation.
I added some splash sounds as well, which ended up being the sounds for the puddles he started making while drinking. I recorded myself drinking from a bottle and added that with the rest.
In the end, I added one of his attack sounds as a cast sound, the "Down-The-Hatch!" yell.
I limited the sounds to a very close range, that way, it could be used before an attack without alerting the opponents by sound alone.

In truth, I wanted to add some drunken singing while he had the buff on.
I realized that in the end, it became very noisy and annoying, so I scrapped the idea.

Ability 3:

During his third ability, he jumps forward - stomping the ground, creating geysers of beer.

I used some recorded spatula whooshes with some cloth movements I had recorded previously, and added that for the jump he makes.

For the geysers, I used recordings of a water hose being squeezed tightly to get a harsher sound.
I added that with the sound of waterfalls and buckets throwing water onto the ground.
I basically had to become 12 years old again and do the things my parents told me to stop doing, in other words, I got paid for making a mess.
In your face, parents!

I also used the sound of a car idle to give it a slight rumble.

Ability 4:

He takes a large drink of ale and grows large, his barrel explodes and after a period, he shrinks back into size.

I reused the previous drinking sounds for when he takes the large swag, I then made a sound using a Chinese gong and a balloon.
The balloon rub sound was used for him becoming larger while the gong ended up being the indicator for the barrel exploding, I also added an explosion to the barrel, though not very loud.

Afterwards, I gave him a large burp with an echo that bounces from the right channel to the left, until it meets dead center. I noticed that visuals alone didn't help me pay attention to when the ability ended, so I added a hic sound that plays at the end.


He vomits and falls into the puddle it makes.

I ended up just reusing a lot of the sounds I had previously created but I added one of the death grunts that I liked and at the very end, I added a hiccup to give it a small dynamic.
I had little time and had to get done with it, overall, I think it fit quite well!

He was a fun character to design and took quite the time to get right, I liked how he came out in the end and stands to be one of my favorite characters.

Check out the spotlight for the hero that goes more in depth about him:


  1. Amazing work. This totally compensates Drunken Master ugly art work. I would've rather seen this kinda artwork

    Than dude with tit belt like them girls with small breasts uses, and also that huge barrel and those medieval pints...

    Pls talk to artwork team and suggest anything else than that current one.

  2. Google thinks you meant "Rich Crankshaw" instead of "Rick".

  3. I love the sounds for the third ability; absolutely perfect in my opinion.

    The only thing that surprised me was the pitch of the voice; I always expected someone who drank a lot to have a deeper, more gravely and grating voice. Don't know if that was just my expectations or actually true.

    Anyway great work and so much effort that shouldn't go unnoticed.

  4. It is Rich rather than Rick. I've fixed it with a link to his website. Derp.

  5. Wow! That is cool!
    Very helpful!
    Looking forward your update.