Tim Larkin

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Tim Larkin is a composer and sound designer for Valve. Previously the audio director for Cyan Worlds, who produced the Myst series of computer games. Before working at Valve, he worked at Cyan, working as a sound designer for Riven , and as a composer for realMyst , Uru: Ages Beyond Myst and Myst V: End of Ages . [1]


He has 23 years experience in the game audio industry. He started in the game industry working as a composer/sound designer for Broderbund. He created sound design for Riven while working there and was later hired at Cyan to work on realMyst and Uru. Tim still performs session work regularly as a trumpet player as well as doing freelance sound design and composition outside Cyan. He created music and sound design for titles such as Middle-earth , The Incredibles , Pariah , The Lord of the Rings , and Prince of Persia . He won the Academy Award for sound design at the 75th Academy Awards for his work on the Sony Imageworks animated short film, The ChubbChubbs! . In the 2000s, Larkin was hired by Valve and worked on a number of their games, including Team Fortress 2 , Portal , Portal 2 , Counter-Strike: Global Offensive , Dota 2 , and Artifact . [2]

Tim's experience in the music industry includes live performances as a trumpet player with artists Natalie Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, Mel Tormé, Sheila E and Huey Lewis. He recorded on record albums for Ice-T and as a solo artist for Avenue Jazz. He worked on HBO's The Rat Pack , White Mile and Floundering . He has done the trumpet work for the documentaries National Geographic's Lost Fleet of Guadalcanal, Pearl Harbor and The White House , and American Experience documentaries on Galileo and the Wright Brothers.


Uru's music was composed by Tim Larkin, who had started his career at game publisher Brøderbund, and lobbied hard to be included on Riven's development team. [3] Larkin worked on creating different sound effects for Riven and was chosen to score Uru after composer and Myst co-creator Robyn Miller left Cyan in early 1998. [4] The music for the game was collected as a soundtrack, Uru Music, that was released in 2003. Larkin chose the instrumentation for each track based on the various digital environments in the game. When the player is in the game's representation of New Mexico, for example, Larkin used a resonator guitar and flutes, creating what he called something "indigenous to a southwest type of feel that's very contemporary". In other areas Larkin described the game's music as being "less typical than you would find in most games" because of the exotic landscape the developers had created. [5] To create contemporary and exotic types of music in the game, Larkin employed a combination of real and synthesized instruments. Sometimes Larkin replaced synthesized performances with those of real musicians, as in the track "Gallery Theme", where a synthesized vocal part was eventually discarded in favor of soprano Tasha Koontz. [5] To create an exotic feel, Larkin used a group of Maasai tribesmen's chanting, who were recorded during their visit to Spokane, Washington, where Cyan Worlds was located at that time. [3]

The Uru soundtrack received two Game Audio Network Guild (G.A.N.G.) nominations in 2004—one for "Best Original Vocal Song (Choral)" for the "Gallery Theme" (which won), and another for "Best Original Soundtrack." [6] Beyond its use in Uru, "Gallery Theme" was later used in the theatrical trailer for Steven Spielberg's film, Munich . [7] The Uru soundtrack comes on an enhanced CD, containing a (nearly) four-minute music video called "Uru: The Makers" and an audio-only interview with Rand Miller and Tim Larkin.

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Myst is a graphic adventure/puzzle video game designed by the Miller brothers, Robyn and Rand. It was developed by Cyan, Inc., published by Broderbund, and initially released for the Macintosh in 1993. In the game, the player's character travels via a special book to the island of Myst. From there, solving puzzles allows the player to travel to four other worlds which reveal the backstory of the game's characters, one of which the player must eventually choose to aid.

<i>Riven</i> 1997 video game

Riven is a puzzle adventure video game. It is the sequel to Myst and second in the Myst series of games. Developed by Cyan Worlds, it was initially published by Red Orb Entertainment, a division of Broderbund. Riven was distributed on five compact discs and released on October 31, 1997, in North America; it was later released on a single DVD-ROM on August 17, 1998, with improved audio and a fourteen-minute "making-of" video. In addition to the PC versions, Riven has been ported to several other platforms.

<i>Uru: Ages Beyond Myst</i> 2003 video game

Uru: Ages Beyond Myst is an adventure video game developed by Cyan Worlds and published by Ubisoft. Released in 2003, the title is the fourth game in the Myst canon. Departing from previous games of the franchise, Uru takes place in the modern era and allows players to customize their onscreen avatars. Players use their avatars to explore the abandoned city of an ancient race known as the D'ni, uncover story clues and solve puzzles.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cyan Worlds</span> American video game developer

Cyan, Inc., also known as Cyan Worlds, Inc., is an American video game developer. Founded as Cyan Productions by brothers Rand and Robyn Miller in 1987, the company is best known as the creator of the Myst series. The company is located in Mead, Washington, just outside Spokane.

<i>Myst III: Exile</i> Third title in the Myst series of graphic adventure puzzle video games

Myst III: Exile is the third title in the Myst series of graphic adventure puzzle video games. While the preceding games in the series, Myst and Riven, were produced by Cyan Worlds and published by Brøderbund, Exile was developed by Presto Studios and published by Ubi Soft. The game was released on four compact discs for both Mac OS and Microsoft Windows on May 8, 2001; versions for the Xbox and PlayStation 2 were released in late 2002. A single-disc DVD version was later released for Windows and Mac OS.

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Myst IV: Revelation is an adventure video game, the fourth installment in the Myst series, developed and published by Ubisoft. Like Myst III: Exile, Revelation combines pre-rendered graphics with digital video, but also features real-time 3D effects for added realism. The plot of Revelation follows up on plot details from the original Myst. The player is summoned by Atrus, a man who creates links to other worlds known as Ages by writing special linking books. Almost twenty years earlier, Atrus' two sons nearly destroyed all of his books and were imprisoned; Atrus now wishes to see if his sons' imprisonment has reformed them. The player travels to each brother's prison, in an attempt to recover Atrus' daughter Yeesha from the brothers' plot.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rand Miller</span> American businessman

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<i>Myst V: End of Ages</i> 2005 video game

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<i>Cosmic Osmo and the Worlds Beyond the Mackerel</i> 1990 video game

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  2. Larson, Randall (30 November 2018). "ARTIFACT – Music for Digital Card Gaming". musiquefantastique.com. Archived from the original on December 7, 2018. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  3. 1 2 Miller, Jennifer. "Interview with Tim Larkin". Just Adventure. Archived from the original on May 14, 2008. Retrieved October 19, 2008.
  4. Lillington, Karen (March 2, 1998). "'Myst' Partnership is Riven". Salon . Archived from the original on March 7, 2008. Retrieved April 9, 2008.
  5. 1 2 Uru Music materials (Media notes). Tim Larkin. Ubisoft. 2003.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  6. Milano, Dominic (March 4, 2004). "Postcard from the GDC 2004: The G.A.N.G. Awards". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on December 20, 2008. Retrieved March 10, 2009.
  7. Larkin, Tim (December 5, 2005). "News: Spielberg's Munich trailer gets Tim's underscore". Tim Larkin.net. Archived from the original on December 25, 2008. Retrieved October 28, 2008.