Alexander Iain Baxter
Voice actor and renaissance man
The Thief’s Trail
Scripting & Audio Design
Genre: Third-person Stealth
Engine: Unity 5
Production Time: 7 weeks
Team Size: 10
Scripting, Gameplay Ideation,
voice acting, writing
Unity, Visual Studio Code,
The Thief’s Trail is a third-person action stealth game set in an alternate history europe, wherein you play as a young woman named Alexis trying to save the medieval town of Rosenburg from an army of rampaging mechanical Minotaurs.
The Thief’s Trail is the longest continuous project I’ve worked on. It was a 7 week project from May to June of 2017. This in addition to 3 weeks of pre-production. My primary responsibility in the team was Scripting and Audio Design, which was most comfortable for me, given my previous experience with both the Unity Engine and C#, but my role did expand to include a few other tasks like Gameplay or Story Ideation, Voice Acting and minor writing.
- Building an Audiomanager in Unity from scratch, using the C# programming language.
- Trimming and Editing Audiofiles for usage in the game engine.
- Voice acting and help rewriting dialogue.
The primary Scripting challenge was the aforementioned Audiomanager. To accommodate our game many things were needed. Music, sound effects and voices needed to be not only able to play, but to be able to overlap each other and play at different volumes. In the case of sounds that don’t come from the player they also needed to be be directional, so the player could make out where a potential danger was coming from.
Most of my time as scripter went towards programming the audiomanager, which would come to handle all of the audio playback in the game, be it music, dialogue or sound effects.
This task came to encompass much of the audio editing as well, where the clips had to be opened up and trimmed to ensure that the sounds did not overlap with each other, due to playing longer than they were supposed to.
This meant that I also had to handle when these scripts were called throughout the rest of the games code, this required me to interpret the main scripters code and know where to make additions and revisions, as well as communicate these changes to him so we did not potentially overwrite each other work.
I also took the script that is used for the introductory sequence, which was only partially complete and took it to a functional state, inserting the appropriate audio calls as I did so.
Another thing I realized at this point was that since the main menu was not separate from the main game scene, this resulted in a lof of sounds bleeding into the introductory sequence, such as enemy idle sounds and ambient sounds. This necessitated the writing of a new function that temporarily muted everything else whilst the introduction was playing.
There were a few options as for implementing footsteps. One way would be to loop a walking sound whilst the player was performing that action, cutting it off or replacing it with one when they stopped walking. The other more precise way to fire the sound would be in exact frame when the characters animation hit the ground. I decided to go with the latter.
Both required a raycast to check if the player was currently grounded. Thankfully, this check already existed the movement script and my script called the same function.
While I wasn’t in charge of finding the appropriate sounds for the game, one of my tasks included preparing them for usage in the game engine, This included some trimming in Audacity as well as some minor cleanup.
The audio was also fed into a script that handled the names of the audiofiles to be played.
Since I worked closely with the main scripter, the gameplay ideas that weren’t put forward by us were run past us, to gauge how viable they were to implement. This was a constant back and forth to try and find something that meshed well with what we were going for thematically.
The end result was a stealth-game with a focus on an oppressive atmosphere and focus on remaining unseen rather than a over-reliance on combat.
My contributions here were mostly minor, giving feedback or suggestions when prompted.
An example would be if the writer was unsure how something was to be explained thematically, I would help discuss ideas and possible solutions to this that might fit the setting of the game and help explain the gameplay features.
Voice Acting and Writing
These two went hand in hand with each other. As my writing credit mostly had to do with revising my own dialogue to flow better, this is a habit I’ve come into with my voice work. This was of course done together with the main writer until we were both satisfied with the results.
Alexander Iain Baxter