This is something I never really considered. For the last 20 years I’ve been playing racing games here and there, but when they started becoming realistic (i.e. the cars weren’t square and the engine noises weren’t square waves), the enormity of the sound challenge never really struck me. Engine, road, and tire noise, plus accurate doppler effects, different crunches and thunks for impacts… the list goes on. As if that wasn’t enough, you have to worry about engine noise contaminating your samples.
What if someone hits the clutch while their tires are squealing? Less engine, more squeal. But if you recorded the tires squealing in the real world, chances are that the engine noise is inseparable from the squeal. Even if you can deconstruct the sound, it’s a lot of work and the end result isn’t as good as the real thing.
So it’s no wonder that some game designers from Microsoft jumped at the chance to use a Tesla for recording game audio. No engine noise and careful mic placement means you can get tire squeal, or any other audio component of driving, almost completely isolated. Now, I know you guys aren’t really that hot for the details of audio production, but I know you like fast cars. And it actually is pretty entertaining to see a Tesla with so many big hairy mics on it that it looks like a pussy willow.
The audio guys are working on the new Forza and Project Gotham Racing titles, and I wouldn’t be surprised if those games will be praised for their audio. A few good samples and they can tweak them to their hearts’ content. I don’t know whether the Tesla will be in either of the games, but adding the sound should be easy if they decide it should be.
The details of this Roadster’s little adventure are at the Tesla blog, where you will be regaled with all the tidbits about mic placement, clapboards, and that sort of thing. Sounds like it was a lot of fun. Thanks to Tom Burt for offering up his Tesla.