He saw a Pole job posting and got a feeling it could be a perfect fit. He was absolutely right. Meet Johann Prell, Pole’s newest crew member.
What is your role at Pole?
Game and Audio Programmer. What I’ll be doing depends a lot on the needs of the current project!
In game projects this can be implementing Poles awesome audio content in levels, characters and effects. Or creating any custom audio systems that the game might need, as well as facilitating a workflow where our Audio Designers can iterate and improve the quality of the games sound layer with less impact on inhouse developers time. To that end, I think it’s also important to create good testing and QA setups so designers quickly can catch bugs and make sure audio systems and components are acting as expected.
We’re also looking into making some stand-alone tools for content creation, which is an exciting prospect for me – I’m very much a fan of good workflow.
How did you first get in touch with Pole?
I saw an ad for the position and got a feeling this could be a perfect fit. Before I started programming, I did a lot of music and sound design for live theater and some ads and short films. The narrative potential of audio in games and multimedia is something I love to explore. So, I reached out to Pole, and the rest is history as they say!
Okay, a background as a musician and a sound designer. Is that an advantage in your current role?
Absolutely! I think it’s good for audio designers to have a programmer on board who can speak the same language and understands the importance of making filters and curves sit just right. Having produced a lot of audio and music I can use the same listening skills when setting up a level or a system.
One of the first tasks I jumped on was working on the sounds in a game environment, and that was a nice nostalgic experience as well. A lot like moving around in a theater, tweaking speaker positions and levels and working with the space.
And coding, when did you start out with that?
Something like 7 or 8 years ago, I became very curious about working with audio for games. Thinking about myself as a creative and not a math genius I was actually skeptical about learning to code, but I felt like it might give me a leg up. Then I created my first interactive program – a tiny text adventure written in C++ and played in the console – and was hooked immediately. There is a magic in creating interactions, making things move around on the screen and go “beep” and “boop”, that never stops being amazing to me.
So hey, if you think programming is “not for you”, maybe you can give it a try anyway – it might open some very interesting doors for you!
Last year Pole together with BOOM launched GRIP, a software plug-in that lets sound designers automate tires and chassis sounds straight to motion pictures. Now that you’re on board will we see more of that sort?
We’ll see what the future brings, but that’s very much possible 😉
Tools that enable designers to create with as little friction as possible is something very rewarding to build, and Pole Position is a great place to do that. This team has a passion for quality and attention to detail that I’m very onboard with.
So far, has your time at Pole been as you expected?
I expected to have a lot of fun and that is certainly the case!
What’s been the most fun since you started?
One thing I’ve really enjoyed while implementing audio in a game project, is that it can help out in elevating every aspect of the experience. From gameplay and FX, to the mood of an environment, to the clarity of UI interactions – the right sound in the right place can make a big difference.
I’m looking forward to digging deeper into some challenges with dynamic audio, perhaps things like engines and simulations, and dynamic music.
And the most challenging?
Starting a new position in December 2020, completely remotely, is of course full of challenges. But the team has made the best out of it and made me feel very welcome!
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