Wing Commander Arena music and sound designer Michael Vafeas has written this gut-wrenching blog post about one of his experiences working on the XBox 360 WC game. The story is reminiscent of the time Strike Commander's source code was zapped during its development. We've all been there before - it doesn't take much to lose a digital file, so the moral is to always maintain a robust backup system! Despite the loss described here, Arena's music and sound ended up right on point with a nice Wing Commander vibe. Listen to the sample below. Also, can you believe Arena came out more than seven years ago?!
This was a fun project for me - until the last week of music production - when the hard drives on my audio machine went. I spent 2 days checking my options to resurrect the dead PC as the deadline for the music quickly approached. In the end, I had to take a 5-year old PC, load up an old version of Sonar on it, and hope for the best.
Luckily, the PC ran - or rather crawled along. I had to re-compose the entire soundtrack using only a few samples of the songs I had as demos and only two midi devices (my Roland 2080's) hooked up to an old midi interface. Within 3 days I finally had barely enough material to submit, and that's what made it into the final version of the game.
Suffice it to say, that audio PC has since been retired and replaced, and I haven't had issues with the new machine yet. It definitely was an experience in dealing with last minute disasters and reminded about the necessity to back up often. Words to live by!