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How Venba captures the sounds of Tamil cuisine

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You might not immediately think of sound as one of the essential senses in cooking. Of course, taste and smell are obvious, but there is also a saying that you eat with your eyes first. like a cooking video game Venba, you’re deprived of those essential senses – there’s no way to taste, smell or feel the food on screen – except for sight and sound. It’s in situations like these that you realize how important the sounds of the kitchen are: the sound of garlic sizzling in oil, or the sound of steaming dumplings. A video game about cooking must draw on these sensory memories to entice the player.

Venba It is described as a narrative cooking game that focuses on an Indian family that immigrated to Canada from Tamil Nadu in the 80s. You take on the role of Venba, a mother and wife who is using food to connect her family members to their heritage and, in turn, restoring lost family recipes. It’s one part visual novel and one part cooking game, all ingredients adding up to a story Visai Games says focuses on “family, love, loss and much more.”

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A mother standing over a pot looking at her son

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Image: Visai Games

During a preview held last week, Venba Game designer Ahbi gave the media a glimpse of the game’s narrative and cooking game elements, but also explained how the studio created a realistic sound for all of the game’s dishes. Ahbi said the entire team is committed to cooking VenbaSeveral times through the recipes of. Ahbi said, “It was a great source of reference for the art and the sound.” He said that when one thinks of Indian food, Tamil cuisine does not always come to mind; North Indian cuisine is more common in North America.

“It’s something I was very excited to showcase Venba, But it comes with a double-edged sword because there’s a lot of pressure to show it with a lot of authenticity and to do it right, because people are counting on these recipes to be accurate. When Venba got a wide audience, we felt that responsibility very deeply.

The cooking regimen — that the team members would follow the recipes themselves — was crucial to making sure everyone understood the taste, texture and, yes, sound of South Indian food. “It was important to us to capture the dishes accurately, and make it feel like the players are stepping inside a Tamil kitchen,” Ahbi said. “For this, sound design plays a very important role.”

he was assigned Venba Sound designer Neha Patel, who not only cooked the food but also recorded the sound of every step. “It’s not that we necessarily wanted to be silly, but […] It was really difficult to get hold of these distinctive sounds, and there aren’t a lot of existing libraries out there,” said Abhi. “Neha felt that Foley was the only way to do it properly.”

Side-by-side comparison between a rice dish cooked on a stove in real life and in game

Image: Visai Games

Ahbi showed the press how it worked in a side-by-side video, which featured in-game clips of frying foods as well as recordings of oil sizzling and splashing. The way it was recorded, it required almost no editing on the part of Visaai Games; Ahbi said, the sound could be layered right over the in-game footage “as if it was made for it.”

Beyond getting Foley to cook, Ahabi describes the extent to which the team strove to create the essential background of Tamil cooking – especially the music on the radio. He remembered that there was never a quiet moment in his family’s kitchen, with the radio or TV often playing in the background. Visai Games has added an in-game radio with a soundtrack composed of different narrative eras culled from the voices of Tamil cinema of the aligned decade. “Actually, it’s even more specific,” Ahbi said. “It is designed to sound like a song by a specific composer. These songs are a tribute to the specific music directors of whom we all were fans while growing up. Depending on the level and time period, the era would change along with the music and song style. It includes a song by a music director named Devanesan Chokkalingam or Deva, a man who has composed music for hundreds of films and for nearly 40 years. They were planning to make a song inspired by his music, and he said he would do it himself.

Venba It culminated with live recorded music, sung by various South Asian artists and composed by Alpha Something. “It’s rare enough for games, but even more rare for indie games,” Ahbi said. “But in order to recreate those styles of music, we needed live instruments that were the signatures of different music directors.”

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