Joshua Smith

Lead Sound Designer

Quick Questions

PC or console

Console. I grew up a console player. But, even beyond that, I work all day at a computer, when I am writing music, or making art, I am sitting at a computer. So, when I am trying to relax I’d like to do anything other than sit at a computer. I’m looking forward to getting a SteamDeck so I can finally play the thousand games on Steam I own but have barely ever touched because of this.  

Go-to karaoke song

Motorcycle Drive-by by Third Eye Blind. Anything off their first album really.  

Favorite Hitman map and why

Berlin, because I’m a techno kid at heart, and Berlin is the holy city of techno, plus I love the work the audio team did, and the music Niels the composer wrote for the club.

Meal that reminds you of childhood

I feel a little sad because I can’t think of any particular dish that reminds me of growing up, but the thing that comes to mind is eating a McDonald’s cheeseburger and small bag of fries somewhere quiet by myself.  

What's your secret super power?

I am, as I like to say, aggressively friendly. I also have advice for pretty much any situation. 

Most and least favorite items on your desk

Hmm, I don’t have a lot of things on my desk these days, nothing that I dislike at least, my most favorite thing is my Komplete Kontrol 88key MK2 though.

Something you wish you knew more about

Everything, there is only so much time on earth to do stuff, and there is so much to learn. But, one thing in particular is that I wish I knew more about coding. I’d love to be able to create my own little games for fun, or even more effectively create audio tools at work, but every time I have tried to sit down and learn, my brain decides it would be happier doing absolutely anything else.  

Recommend three books, games or movies

Three Books: 
1. Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu
2. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville
3. This Is Your Brain On Music by Daniel J Levitin 

Deeper Questions

What do you do at IOI?

I am the Lead Sound Designer on a project which must not be named. I oversee the development of the audio, and systems for the project, plan work for the team, do reviews, give feedback, sit in meetings, and even sometimes get to make some sound effects. Basically, everything having to do with the audio for the project, I am mucking about in.  

Can you tell us more about yourself?

I’ve been working in games for nearly 14 years now. Before then I was very active as a musician, DJ, and event promoter in the US where, strangely I learned the skills necessary to begin my career as a game developer. I’ve been working in audio that whole time, starting as audio QA, and now where I am managing a whole project.  

What's your daily source of inspiration?

Really, everything is an inspiration if you hold onto your ability to see the world through fresh eyes. It becomes increasingly hard to do as you get older and become more jaded, but if you can look at the sunlight passing through the leaves of a tree and still feel that the world has some beauty, you’re doing alright.  

Why are you passionate about what you do?

I love working on projects with groups of people. I just really enjoy the process of making video games. A whole bunch of different disciplines, and personalities, and skillsets coming together to build something that hopefully brings some joy and entertainment, and hopefully a deeper emotional experience to people, I don’t think there’s any other kind of work quite like it. And as far as my discipline, music and sound has always been an important part of my life. When I was a kid, I would switch the music off in games, and just listen to the audio, and enjoy the environments and sounds the designers created. I didn’t really know that was a job for a long time, and I’m glad I got turned onto the work. It’s kind of a hidden art form, because when it is done well, its often not noticed. You are fulfilling the expectations of people’s minds, and creating an engrossing experience, but it’s always nice when someone notices something that they particularly like.  

What projects do you work on outside of work?

I write music, and record sounds. Playing piano, although I haven’t had access to one since moving to Sweden, need to fix that. I do world building and writing about a world I’ve developed on and off over the years as a source of inspiration for art and music, and occasionally D&D games. I dabble in art, but am very bad at it, but hey, whatever, better to try and be bad, than not and be sad, yeah?

What's your most memorable IOI moment?

I’ve only been at IOI less than a year, but I’d have to say the first time the whole company was able to get together for a party. In Sweden, we’re still a smaller team, it feels like you’re at a little indie studio sometimes. But, when the whole company gets together in Copenhagen, you see how you are part of a big, exciting, talented group of developers making cool stuff. IOI feels like a very special place to be right now, and I’m happy to be here. 

What's the best bit of advice you've ever been given?

I dunno about best advice I’ve ever been given, but a piece of advice I live by is to not worry so much. Very few things in life are actually important, and you’re wasting the precious gift of consciousness when you spend it worrying about things and people that don’t matter. Just focus on living a life that makes you happy, feels productive, and is meaningful in whatever form that takes for you. Try to be good, and helpful to the people around you. 

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