Term 2 Work, Pt. 3 – Train Car Physics Impacts

Intro to Game Audio


Second set of physics impacts for our Intro to Game Audio class, same rules as the first – five lights (10″), five mediums (10′), five heavys (100′), five supers (100’+, hurled). Impact surface was concrete once again.

Train Car

Early impacts planning for the train car recording.
Early impacts planning for the train car recording.

The biggest goals with the train were to make it big at all levels (while still giving myself room to go up), and make it feel cohesive – not like a big pile of assorted junk. I really wanted the sounds to make you feel like a giant hunk of metal was moving around, so I thought a lot about timing.

Since I couldn’t record any sounds from an actual train car and nothing I could get from our props room felt “big” enough to get that vibe across, I resigned myself to using the Foley room stuff for high-mid and high detailing, possibly a little bit of color for the low mids if the pitching worked out well. I suspected I’d be using some really large metal groans to give my sound its defining shape, and that premonition was dead-on.

From what I recorded myself, the car door and some sheet pans were the biggest contributors to the final sound. The car door impacts didn’t do much for me, but I got some great stress sounds by standing on the thing and slowly shifting my weight around. When pitched, these gave a ton of character to the longer impacts. The sheet pans were used for high, ear-splitting scrapes across the concrete that I pitched and used later to convey a really stressful, fatiguing sound of this giant car sliding across concrete.

Had a lot of fun with the supers on this one, as well. Listening to some other students’ impacts inspired me to try to take really novel approaches to the intro/stinger of each super.

With more time, I would’ve given a little more attention to shaping the overall mix – there’s a lot of really aggressive, nasty mid-high frequencies in here that made the impacts mixing a physically fatiguing process. I could do to strip some of that down a bit for repeat listening in a game environment. As well, I would’ve spent a little more time sculpting the low-end of these sounds to make it feel as big as a real train car might. These sounds in particular are definitely best listened to with a good set of speakers or cans.

All are provided below for your enjoyment!

[Light Impacts]

[Medium Impacts]

[Heavy Impacts]

[Super Impacts]

Leave a Reply