Redesigning music workflows with sound designers in mind

For Elias Software’s Måns Ortner, moving from his career as a session and studio engineer into video games was a dream come true for this avid gamer. Getting to work with the sound design on Hazelight Studio’s A Way Out was a great experience but also a big challenge. A challenge that made him envision a better workflow for sound designers and led to the creation of Elias 4.

 While working on Hazelight Studio’s A Way Out Måns realized very few people working in video game music had post-production experience. 

“When I came there, some of these workflows were really weird; things that should be super easy were very hard.” Måns said.

“I started questioning this quite early. Why do I have to wait for someone else that is not a sound person to help me do my work? For example, I’m working on a mission and have sound I want to implement, but since I don’t have programming experience I don’t have the tools or knowledge to do it myself. Why is that?”

Coupled with his lack of experience in coding, he instead set out to make friends with programmers at the company so they could help him build tools to do his job more effectively.

“I started to try to make my process at Hazelight as agile as possible while allowing me to be as creative as possible,” Måns said.

“We didn’t have access to any other middleware than Elias back then, which at the time was only for the music. So we had to invent our own tools and use what the Unreal Engine gave us. We had to constantly keep asking if these changes were necessary and possible”.

Throughout the development of A Way Out, Måns worked on everything from dialogue to any other sound design that was needed. After the intense production period, Måns had one question on his mind; How can we do things differently?

After not being happy with any of the tools and solutions on the market he vented to Elias Software’s Co-Founder and CEO Kristofer Eng.

“I kind of told him that I’m in the middle of this process trying to figure out what the hell to do because I think the tools that were available didn’t work with our workflow and they felt backwards and old.” Måns said.

“He just told me, Okay so maybe we should build this together? And I was like, Yeah, sure.”

 From there Måns joined the Elias team building the tools he always wanted during the game production cycle, and software he believes will help video game sound and music departments for years to come.

“I think in five or 10 years, there won’t be sound designers.” Måns said.

“Everyone would be a technical sound designer because the tool sets will be so great that you won’t see its implementation as a hindrance in your work; you will see it as something that is part of being creative.”

Now Måns is working on Elias 4 that is coming in Q1 2022, a sound suite that aims to give sound designers more freedom to create engaging, dynamic and interactive audio without a programming background.

“That’s basically the whole point of Elias 4,” Måns said.

“How would you create a workflow that’s not a necessary evil, but something that’s inspiring and creative? We want designers to explore and fiddle around in our software and create happy accidents just like an engineer in a studio would.”

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