MDes Sound for the Moving Image School of Simulation & Visualisation

Jake Bhattacharyya (He/Him)

I’m Jake, a sound designer and musician on the MDes Sound for the Moving Image course. My main focus in my practice is in sound for video games and other virtual worlds; the nonlinearity and unique, emergent experiences those mediums present to their audiences is something I find fascinating, and I see video games as being where my generation’s stories lie, in the same way that film and television were where my parents’ generation’s stories were. I’m always interested in ways that sound can be used to enhance the player experience in a game, whether that be creating a rich and believable world for them to inhabit, fashioning satisfying sound effects to supplement the gameplay, or adding emotional weight to the narrative.

Portfolio Website
...Other Links!
The Jagged Crypt


For my final project, I wanted to investigate ‘genre sonification’ in video games. While most linear media like film and television has genres informed by their narrative themes, characters, or setting, video games are an outlier in that their chief indicators of genre are gameplay mechanics – where the camera is placed, how many characters you control, what you do to play the game. While this allows for a huge breadth of narrative potential within a video game genre, it also means that soundtrack and genre are more divorced than in other media. It’s easy to imagine the classic sound of ‘science-fiction’, ‘fantasy’, ‘western’, but you probably can’t imagine the sound of ‘real-time strategy’, ‘first-person shooter’, or ‘action RPG’ in the same way.

I decided to explore what might happen if a sound designer deliberately tried to interpret the genre indicators of a game in its soundtrack, using roguelike games as a case study. I built a roguelike game from scratch, “SPIRE”, and used it as a vehicle to explore genre-informed soundtracks in games, with promising results from my preliminary user study in terms of player engagement and enjoyment. My final soundtrack draws on the roguelike principles of procedural generation and ‘permadeath’ to create a fresh and unique soundtrack for every playthrough, with elements generated on the fly by the computer, and other elements shaped at the beginning of the game for the entirety of the game.

Playthrough Video!

Here's a short playthrough of the game at the time of the project's conclusion. I hope to keep working on and improving it, so hopefully it won't be the last you see of it!

The Jagged Crypt

As part of my project work in semester 2, I used the Max MSP software package to build a choose-your-own-adventure game in the style of Steve Jackson’s Fighting Fantasy books. Max is a visual programming package designed for interactive audio-visual installations, and is tremendously ill-suited towards making a game…which is why I decided to make one with it!

The adventure I created, “The Jagged Crypt”, draws inspiration from the sword-and-sorcery fantasy novels of yore – the adventures of Elric of Melniboné, Conan the Barbarian, etc – as well as my experiences playing tabletop RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons and Call of Cthulhu, and the sounds of early arcade games. It was a great experience to stretch the boundaries of what Max can do!

If you’d like to brave the Crypt and attempt to recover the Annihilus Orb from its resting place in the bowels of the earth, you can download a Windows build of the game using the link below.

Playthrough Video w/ Commentary

Here's a video of me playing through the game, with some commentary on its inspirations and a look at how it all comes together in Max.