Game Design Sound Reel

 

Bio

Welcome to my little piece of the internet! I am James Zolyak and I am a sound designer. I have my B.S. in Game Design in Development from the Rochester institute of Technology and my M.S. in Games and Playable Media from the University of California: Santa Cruz.

My goal as a sound designer is to give life and a uniqueness to games through the use of audio. I have a love of getting visceral reactions of players listening to audio in playtests and enjoy the many challenges of finding the best mix possible. My habit of taking my voice and creating monster sounds is also something I try to share with others.


When I’m not working on my capstone for my masters you can usually find me cooking, enjoying a nice cup of tea, or squeezing in some time to stream on Twitch.

Main Skills: Sound Design, Audio Editing, Audio Mixing, Reaper, Ableton, Audition, Pro Tools FMOD, Wwise, Unity, UE4, C#, C++, PureData, Vocal Foley, VO Direction

Other Skills: Photoshop, Premiere

Favorite Game Sound Designs: Ori and the Blind Forest, Hollow Knight, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege, FTL: Faster Than Light, Horizon: Zero Dawn

 

Dash Quasar

A VR Game About an Imaginary Video Game

My capstone for grad school, this was a game made with a 7 person team  using Unity with audio implementation in FMOD. A mix of inspirations coming from 8 bit era games merged with realistic sounds this was a showcase for my skills showing off my abilities to create Spatialized Audio with regards to Voice Overs and Dynamic MusicAlong with that I have been responsible for assisting with VO Direction and recording as well as handling contracts with our musician and voice actors. Dash Quasar was also nominated for Best Student Game at The Game Awards 2018. You can download and play the game here: Dash Quasar

Hack, Slash & Backstab

Couch co-op with a Competitive Twist

For this game I took over as the Lead Sound Designer. I created the audio direction for the game and then made all of the sound effects and music to match. For the sound effects, I recorded all the foley for the game and then handled all the mixing/mastering in REAPER. The music was all composed by myself and recorded in Reaper. I handled all mixing and mastering of the music as well. After generating the audio for HSB I was also responsible for implementing all of it within the game.

Hack, Slash & Backstab was published by MAGIC Spell Studios and can be found on Steam, Humble Store and Xbox Live Store. You can find out more about the game, find out about the other team members or purchase it directly here as well: Hack, Slash & Backstab

Enter the Forest Temple

This was a small sound design challenge I gave myself after seeing the animation on Reddit. Hopefully I was able to do the games a bit of justice. All music used in this video belongs to Nintendo and the animation belongs to Reddit user /u/Txikimorin

Procedural Terrain Oscillators

A fun experiment with Pure Data, Heavy and Unity

This began as a project to let myself work on learning Pure Data but I combined it with a class project for a bit of interactivity. The original wavetable synth is written in Pure Data then converted to Unity C# through the use of Heavy. Afterwards I grab the converted C# synth code and make alterations to things like the Coarse Frequency and CV Freq In based on the location data of a first person character.

UE4/Wwise Implementation

An experiment adding rain ambience to Wwise Audio Lab

This was a small side project I did to play around in the Wwise Audio Lab and alter the source files. My goal here was to experiment with adding a few different rain ambiances and play with things like attenuation, occlusion and audio portals. Everything outside the rain and added water footsteps are originally from Wwise.

 

Cooking Daddy

A Pattern Matching Cooking Game with Procedurally Generated Food Reviews 

For this project I handled all of the audio design and implementation. All audio is  implemented in FMOD with procedural music using of transitions with weighting based around a standard chord progression. I also handled the implementation of object pooling and a large amount of the game design. Lastly I was also responsible for managing the teams Trello Board.

Splattershmup

Jackson Pollack crossed with a Twin Stick Shooter

On this project I worked as one of many gameplay programmers. From making the ship feel right to making sure the scrolling canvas underneath the player looked natural I took on many critical portions of code to make this game look great and fun to play. I also was involved in the development of the weapons the player uses.

Splattershmup was published by MAGIC Spell Studios on the Windows App Store and for the browser.You can find out more about the game, find out about the other team members or purchase it directly here as well: Splattershmup

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