Guns are serious business, and few developers approach them as reverently and enthusiastically as Tripwire, the dev team behind Red Orchestra 2, The Ball, and Killing Floor. Which is why they shoot as many as they can at the shooting range before putting them into their game. We had a quick chat with them to talk about what firearms are the most fun to shoot, what an MP 40 sounds like, and who has the best aim in real life.
This interview originally ran in PCG US 217.
PCG: Why is it important to record audio from real guns into your games?
Chris Rickwood, audio director: Authenticity is our top priority, along with creating gun sounds that are satisfying to shoot during gameplay. At the firing range, we set up an array of mics all surrounding the shooter. Some mics are set up within inches of the trigger of the gun to capture mechanical details of the sound, while others are pointed in different directions and distances to capture as many perspectives as possible.
How many guns did you personally fire at the range?
John Gibson, president: 10 Russian guns, eight German guns, and a few others as well.
What did some of the guns sound like?
JG: PPSh-41: Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrdt! [Roll the Rs when you make the sound.]
MP 40: Pop, pop, pop—pop, pop, pop, pop!
Lahti 20 mm: BOOOOOM!!!! “Oh, @#$%!”
What’s the biggest gun you’ve fired?
JG: We’d planned to fire a 14.5mm anti-tank rifle called the PTRS-41 at the recording session. But due to a mechanical failure, we had to use a 20mm Lahti anti-tank cannon instead. And let me tell you, it was impressive. Whenever it was fired, a huge con-cussion wave hit you, and 30 feet of dust kicked up around the cannon.
Did firing the real guns lead to any gameplay changes in Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad?
JG: Oh absolutely! The biggest gameplay change came in the form of the recoil. In the original game, we modeled way too much recoil on the submachine guns. And we actually had too little recoil on the bipod-mounted machine guns.
So, who has the best aim?
JG: I’ve been told that if ever there’s a real zombie apocalypse the first place the guys in the office will come is my house. On our first trip to
the range to shoot automatic weapons, one of the guys was shooting a submachine gun at a target about 15 feet away. He blasts off an entire magazine while making this really tough face. When he was done, we looked at the target and he hadn’t hit it at all. I don’t want to name names, but I think I might have video of that hidden on my hard drive somewhere.