Ben Houge, games

I've been developing audio for games since 1996. I got my start at Sierra Entertainment right out of college, and I stayed there for 7 years. In 2004 I moved to Shanghai to take a position with the French company Ubisoft, where I remained through August 2008. Over the years I've also collaborated with Microsoft, Gearbox Software, Troika Games, Massive Entertainment, Escape Factory, Relic Entertainment, ArenaNet, Red Rocket, Hidden Path Entertainment, and Harmonix.

Since starting in games, I've done just about every task related to audio, and even some that aren't really, like lip syncing. At first I focused on content creation, designing sound effects, writing music, and editing dialog. Gradually I became more involved in audio system design, working with the other functional departments on a game development team to work out deployment mechanisms for sounds. These days it's also my job to figure out where all of the sounds in a game should come from, oversee production and integration, and basically ensure the overall audio quality.

Probably the most famous bit of game audio I've created is the Sierra Studios splash screen sound. This little 16 second or so video (graphics by Jeff Lane) played at the start-up of just about every Sierra game between 1998 and 2001, so it will be quite familiar to fans of the first Half-Life, for example.

Below is a list of my most interesting game activities. I've also worked on numerous promotional trailers, prototypes, and other miscellaneous projects.


Defense Grid: You Monster!
Tom Clancy's EndWar
  • Tom Clancy's EndWar
  • (February 2005-August 2008, Ubisoft, Xbox 360/PS3)
  • Served as audio director for an innovative real-time strategy game designed from the ground up for next generation consoles, the first new entry in the Tom Clancy universe since Splinter Cell.
Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30
Mythica
  • Mythica
  • (August 2003-February 2004, Microsoft Game Studios, PC)
  • Served as audio lead, which included coordinating audio assets, creating and implementing sounds, and designing audio engine features.
  • I worked on this massively-multiplayer game based on Norse mythology in its final throes, until it was finally cancelled after five years of development.
  • Unannounced sci-fi platformer
  • (Fall 2001-December 2002, Sierra Entertainment, Xbox/PS2)
  • Created and implemented sounds, designed audio engine features.
  • This project (ok, it was going to be a console Space Quest), which was being developed by a third party for publication by Sierra, was cancelled before it was ever announced.
Hoyle Casino Empire
  • Hoyle Casino Empire
  • (September 2002, Sierra Entertainment, PC)
  • Contributed the jazzy track "Larry Rolls the Dice," a new arrangement of a tune originally composed for Leisure Suit Larry 7. Also performed the voice of one of the friendly casino patrons.
Half-Life PS2
  • Half-Life PS2
  • (July 2001, Sierra Entertainment/Gearbox Software, PS2)
  • Composed music and designed sound effects for main menu screen. Recorded and edited additional dialog. Composed music for promotional trailer.
Jonny Drama
  • Jonny Drama
  • (March 1999-July 2001, Sierra Entertainment, Xbox)
  • Composed music, created sound effects, and designed audio features.
  • Jonny Drama was a cool beatnik spy game that was being developed by Sierra for the Xbox. I was using Microsoft's DirectMusic technology to develop a dynamic, interactive soundtrack in a jazzy, retro style. Eventually work on the project was halted after more than two years of development.
Half-Life: Blue Shift
Arcanum
images/boxcovers/Ground Control
Half-Life: Opposing Force
  • Half-Life: Opposing Force
  • (Fall 1999, Sierra Entertainment/Gearbox Software, PC)
  • Designed sound effects, recorded and edited dialog.
  • Opposing Force was the first expansion pack for the hugely successful first-person shooter Half-Life.
SWAT 3: Close Quarters Battle
Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned
  • Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned
  • (Spring 1999, Sierra Entertainment, PC)
  • Designed and implemented supplemental sound effects.
King's Quest: Mask of Eternity
  • King's Quest: Mask of Eternity
  • (December 1996-November 1998, Sierra Entertainment, PC)
  • Composed about half of the music, designed and implemented sound effects, recorded and edited dialog (in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish), lip-synced English version, did some scripting, and performed the voice of the Ferryman at the River of Death.
  • This is the eighth and most recent installment in Sierra's long-running King's Quest series.
Leisure Suit Larry 7: Love for Sail!