SYSTEM SHOCK 2 MUSIC

0101010101010 GREETINGS EARTHLINGS 0101010101010

 

Hi, my name is Josh Randall, aka Robotkid. I used to work at a company called Looking Glass Studios. While I was there I had the pleasure of working on a ton of awesome games, like Flight Unlimited, Terra Nova, Thief, and System Shock 2.

I started Looking Glass in 1994 or 95 as a tester. I was apparently a crummy tester, but I had digital audio/visual skills, and they gave me a chance. (THANKS GUYS!) Over the years I got more and more opportunities and rose through the ranks, eventually becoming a producer for Thief & System Shock 2. I was also head of the video department and worked closely with Eric Brosius on A/V stuff.

In the mid 90's I was the frontman for an industrial-hip hop group called "Institute of Technology." (We were sort of nerd-core I guess before that term existed.) We had robots on stage with us and wore spacesuits and recorded a bunch of songs had a lot of fun. We were one of the first bands on the Internet as you can see here.

In 1998 I was producer for System Shock 2. Irrational Games was at that time contained in an office next to mine. I was sort of the liaison between the 2 companies, and also worked with EA. I will admit by the time this project came around, I was pretty burnt out. I left my position there before Shock 2 was completed to join Harmonix, where I spent 13 years making games like FreQuency, Amplitude, and The Beatles: Rock Band.

While I was at Looking Glass I was still doing electronic music at home, doing remixes for various bands. I offered to help Eric if he ever needed a "techno consultant." When we started working on Shock 2, we knew we wanted a driving electronic soundtrack. The soundtrack to Shock 1 by Greg LoPiccolo was pretty iconic, but we wanted to go darker. Another sound guy there, Ramin Djawadi, was really good at creepy atmospheric stuff, so he starting making a few tracks. (He now works in Hollywood scoring huge films!) Eric asked me if I'd be interested in making some tracks for the game. I said yes and spent a few weeks banging out some sketch mixes. These mixes, which I considered just temp demos, eventually wound up in the game after some heavy tweaking/processing/remixing by Eric.

Over the years I've noticed people sharing these tracks online, and remixing them, which is wonderful to see. I'm really proud of the work we did, and it makes me happy to see people still enjoying these songs today.

Here's a breakdown of my studio back then:


* PowerMac 7100
* Audiomedia 2 card
* StudioVision Pro
* SampleCell 1 card
* Ensoniq EPS-16+ sampler
* Roland Sh-101 (2x)
* Roland Mc-202

Borrowed gear:


* Roland JX-8P (From Greg LoPiccolo)
* Sequential Circuits 6trak (From Greg LoPiccolo)
* Roland Super Jupiter MKS-80 (from Folk Implosion)

For years I've been chatting with my friend from Russia, Valentin about these songs. After talking with him recently I figured it was finally time to post this info and the original multitrack audio files so people could enjoy them. I hope this inspires your own creativity in some way, and I look forward to hearing what you do with these files!

Hydroponics (Project date: 11/19/1998)

Download Loops

The year was 1998, and I was really into drum & bass. There was a weekly drum & bass night in Boston called Elements, and I would sometimes go there to have my mind blown with insane drums. I was also listening to a lot of Meat Beat Manifesto (still do!) and I loved merging ambient/lush synths with crushing beats. I think this was the first song I started working on for Shock. I always felt the distortion on the drums were a little too harsh, but whatever! The drums came from my EPS-16+ sampler, which had a great "wah" guitar effect.

 

UNUSED (Project date: 12/21/1998)

Download Loops

This was a demo that didn't get used. I thought I'd include it here anyway!

 

Operations (Project date: 12/29/1998)

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This is my favorite track from the game. I love the melancholy synths, especially in Erics beautiful ambient reworking for the credits sequence. I was playing around with these files a few years ago and did a quick mix.

 

Engineering (Project date: 1/1/1999)

Download Loops

More drum & bass! I always thought the beats on this track were a bit too out of control. I like the synths though. Sadly, I can't find the beats to this track...

 

MedSci (Project date: 1/2/1999)

Download Loops

Man, I love the Sh-101. It can do anything. The dirty synth line in this is so agro, I love it.
Going back to the original files I realized I recorded a lot more of that synth than what made it into the final game, so that's included here. A lot of the beats I did back then were done on the SampleCell card, which was a hardware card in my Mac that a software sampler interface. I used ReCycle to chop up breakbeats into midi notes, then moved them around in Studio Vision.

 

Shuttle Bays

(sorry no loops)

The theme used in the Shuttle Bays was taken from a song I had done with my band Institute of Technology called "D-Tox". Portions of it were also used in Terra Nova: Strike Centari during a cutscene movie. I think it's also in Thief somewhere too?

 

Enjoy! More questions, mail me at robotkid3000 on gmail, or hop over to my personal web site www.robotkid.com or find me on twitter: @robotkid