Music assignment task 1: Ambient sound loops: research essay

For this assignment, the first task is to research sound and music for an existing racing simulator game before creating our own music for our own racing game.

For this essay I have chosen to use popular racing game Forza Motorsport as my prime example.

Forza Horizon 2 (my racing game example)

Audio and sound in Forza Motorsport: 13/11/2016

To increase player immersion, developer Turn 10 Studios, use a variety of personally recorded sound from a number of different cars, using revving noises, rattling engines, and sounds of cars slowing down, to provide authentic diegetic sound for the player’s cars.

In order to make the race’s audio more realistic, smaller details in sound are also added, for example when you drive close to a crowd, as you get closer, their cheering raises in volume, then quietens when you race past. Gear changes have also been added to make the player feel even more like he/she is actually driving a car. However, each gear of speed does sound as though it goes on a bit too long until the next gear change, so when i’m making my audio i’m going to try and avoid that.


Here is a link to a short video on how they did this:

To create different moods and atmospheres, Turn 10 studios hired DJ Rob Da Bank (the composer of some of the previous Forza games, to “handpick” various contemporary and classic music that can now be heard on radio, due to the popularity they gained from the game. Rob Da Bank described the first time he worked on a Forza game as ” brand-new and very exciting. I’m a little fish in a big pond here, but I really like the challenge.”

Rob Da Bank created a roster of different songs from a music festival that he had put together called Bestival. The player could pick and choose to suit a race they might be playing on. Some of the  he used were:

  • Ninja tune radio: A British radio station which broadcasts a variety Indie music such as: ‘Better days to come’- Andreya Triana, ‘True Skool (Feat. Roots Manuva)- Coldcut and ‘Spinnaker’-John Matthias.
  • Horizon XS: Which plays different Indie and alternative rock such as: ‘peace keeper’-Bear hands, ‘Teenage rhythm’-GRMLN and ‘Debaser’-pixies
  • Radio Levante: A radio station based in Tuscany that broadcasts classical orchestra music such as: ‘Concerto for four violins’-Antonio Vivaldi, ‘Lohengrin-prelude’ Richard Wagner and ‘Overture, the Marriage of Figaro’ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


To create different atmospheres during gameplay, players could pick the music they like best to fit the race they’re playing. For example, if they were playing a race in a more relaxed Tuscany background, they could chose Vivaldi’s ‘ Concerto for four violins’ to compliment the stage.

Turn 10 studios, much like Grand theft auto V’s soundtrack, used a large variety of contemporary and classical radio music that the player could change before a race to suit their differing tastes. For example, if they were in a more intense race they could choose a fast-paced rock song like ‘train in vain’ by The Clash or ‘Teenage rhythm’ by GRMLN.

Forza also uses their own Foley sounds, paying attention to smaller sound details. For example the repercussions of heavily revving the engine by adding a blowout noise after speeding up. If you want a demonstration of this, I’ve added a video showing this foley sound.

Turn 10 studios have also put a lot of detail into the smaller sounds as well. They have recorded sound for when you speed by other cars, creating a short, sharp sound effect.

The sound of the cars changes depending on where you are driving using the engine sounds in different ways for different locations, for example, if you suddenly want to drive in first-person, the engine becomes slightly muted. If you’re driving through a tunnel, then the noise of the engine echoes until you drive into the open.


Detail is also evidenced in the wheels coming into contact with different types of ground. When driving over grass, the sound of the wheels gets rougher and bumpier, and when driving a car that drags more, the wheels have more friction with the ground and screech more frequently.

If we compare Forza 2’s soundtrack to other racing games, some of them don’t have nearly as much variety in their music.

Screen Shot 2016-12-06 at 09.46.57.png
Need For Speed: Hot pursuit

2010’s Need for Speed: Hot pursuit, for example, only uses mostly electronica and rock music in it’s soundtrack, from artists such as Deadmau5, 30 seconds to mars and White lies, and only a handful of orchestrated music, however the music they’ve chosen is of a good standard in my opinion.

Need for Speed’s sound design is also of a good quality, especially when it’s turbo boost mechanic is put to use, when all music and sound cuts off for a second and then suddenly comes back on with a crashing sound, while impressive engine noises continue. The sound design for the police-car sirens and crash noises are also authentic and give each chase an urgent feel to them. Compared to Forza’s sound design however, Need for Speed’s tire and friction sounds don’t really hold up as well.






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