From the designers who created the 1990s cult classic PC game Theme Hospital, Two Point Hospital is a new simulation game created by Two Point Studios and published by Sega. The sound for Two Point Hospital is the work of Cedar Studios co-owners, Tom Puttick and Phil French – aficionados will recognise the whimsy running through this latest edition.

‘Anything you hear has gone through us in some way,’ they say, explaining their part in the process. Set in the 2D world of Two Point County, players are tasked with building a healthcare empire: building hospitals, teaching healthcare staff and curing a constantly growing number of illnesses.

Tom Puttick & Phil French, co-owners of Cedar Studios

In the game, Light Headed patients present with a giant light bulb instead of a head and Mock Star sufferers believe themselves to be great rock stars. With a distinctive, quirky British humour throughout, diseases are cured in different ways, from seeing a psychiatrist to the less conventional option of being put through a machine.

It was only when the Cedar Studios team saw the machines the game designers had imagined, that they realised the extent of the work needed to bring them to life with bespoke, cartoon-style sounds…

‘There’s a machine called Chromotherapy,’ Puttick explains, which is the cure for patients diagnosed with Grey Anatomy that have lost their colour. ‘It spins paint colours around and sprays paint on them,’ he says.

It wasn’t just a question of inventing sounds for fictitious machines however; Puttick and French were tasked with creating all the sound for the entire game. ‘It was quite a weird process,’ French says. ‘We had to watch the animation, look at everything that could make a sound and think about what we could use to make that sound.’

Everything from the user interface and the characters’ various exclamations, to the ambient noises and Tannoy announcements, the county radio station and its playful adverts to the background music all came out of Cedar Studios. For the music, the brief provided by Two Point Studios gave the artistic freedom to produce ‘elevator music with a jukebox feel’.

Two Point Hospital

‘We’d start with a guitar or piano riff, put it into DAW and then start adding percussion elements,’ says French, explaining that as well as using samples, they recorded a lot of sounds for the music in the studio. ‘I made my own instrument out of PVC bathroom pipes,’ he adds, demonstrating how he plays it with flip-flops – and still not sure what to call it.’

Central to recording was an Audient ASP880 eight-channel mic preamp.

‘The ASP880 has been great for when we recorded the polypipes (working title) instrument, ‘French says. ‘Having the option to record close mic top, close mic bottom, overheads and a stereo pair of room mics with two channels to spare was something I think people take for granted in big studios. With new technology and everything being in-the-box, I see a lot of composers/producers just having a two channel interface in their home studios. The ASP880 made it really easy for me turn my two-channel set-up into a ten-channel set-up with an Adat cable.’

Part of the original pitch was to create all the different sound effects themselves. ‘With the ambients, we recorded trees here in Guildford,’ says Puttick. Going further afield, they also captured some babbling river sounds in Scotland and waves on a beach late at night in Spain. They even popped into Surrey Hospital to get some authentic ‘background mumble’, quickly relocating after mistakenly wandering into the gynae ward with their location mics.

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