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Posted by on Nov 30, 2009 | 0 comments

Rob Bridgett Special: Tips for Sound Designers, Plus Readers Interview

The Rob Bridgett Special has come to the end. We will have 10 tips for sound designers, by Rob Bridgett, plus answers to questions readers made to Rob. If your question has not been answered, you probably find that in the 10 tips or the general interview.

10 Tips for Game Sound Designers

1. In-house or Freelance?

Perhaps one of the most fundamental things to decide is whether or not you are looking for a full-time salaried position within a game development company, or if you are more comfortable with offering your audio chops to the game industry as a freelancer. Composers usually fair better in the freelance realm than an in-house situation, where they would be expected to do more than just compose. If you are a talented all-rounder, you may be equally in demand for in-house or freelance positions. The decision may come down to a work-life balance. Once you know what you are looking for, you can more effectively target employers or clients.

2. Always Treat Your Clients With Respect

Whether you are in-house or freelance, the people you work with should be treated as your clients. As a sound designer, composer or sound implementer, you NEED your client as much as they need you. They may sometimes come up with suggestions that sound crazy, but listen to their ideas, explore them, work on a few examples and try those suggestions out yourself – you may be surprised, something that sounds crazy at first might just work. As a result, the people you work with will feel included in the creative process and you will be happy with a job well done.

3. Demo-Reel

The demo reel is perhaps the single most important piece of work you will present to your prospective employer. So much info about your work and communication style will be communicated through how your show-reel is edited, structured and presented. Don’t send out the same general reel to lots of companies if you can tailor specific footage or examples to a particular company. Include a cover letter explaining specifically why you are interested in that position or company. Keep it simple, clean and always focus on your best work. Also, if you worked on a specific area in a clip of game-play or a movie, such as only the helicopter sounds in a game, make this unequivocally clear at the outset.

4. Make Connections and Contacts Already in the Industry

There are many platforms for this kind of interaction available to people entering the industry, such as GDC. Meeting and chatting with audio talent that is already established in the industry is a great way to make a connection and get some feedback to better hone your job seeking talents. As ambassadors for their companies and for audio in general, people who are presenting lectures, round tables and workshops at conferences are great and approachable contacts to make. Everyone who is successful in game audio now was where you are now at some point in their past.

5. Supply and Demand

There is currently a huge market for composers in video game sound. Look into an area where there is a shortage. Currently, audio programmers, sound effects designers, sound implementers, dialogue designers are all in much shorter supply than composers, so it makes sense that you are more likely to find ways into the industry via these fields. Once inside the games industry you will get ample chance to prove your talent and move into a role in which you are more comfortable.

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Posted by on Nov 26, 2009 | 0 comments

Rob Bridgett Special: Prototype [Exclusive Interview]

Here is the final interview with Rob Bridgett, about Prototype, talking about the sound of the cinematics, the mixing process, and more!

Designing Sound: First of all tell us something about what was your contribution on Prototype and what do you did for the sound of the game?

Rob Bridgett: In late 2007, the audio director for the project, Scott Morgan, asked if I could get involved and help out with the game mid-production. Cory Hawthorne was working as Technical Sound Designer and Implementer on the project which meant I had the opportunity to cover two areas on the game, one was as cinematics sound designer and implementer and the other was as game mixer. In terms of the first role, I was responsible for the sound effects, Foley, dialogue editing and mix of all the cut scenes in the game. The music was edited and supervised by the sound director for the project, Scott Morgan, and once all the components were assembled I would provide a mix automation pass before the finished file went into the game.

The second role, that of mixer, was one that came into play only during the post-production sound beta phase of the project’s development, in which Scott and I spend four weeks mixing the entire game in Radical’s 7.1 mix room. I always welcome the opportunity to help out on projects like this as it offers a break from being an audio director and allows a lot more time to concentrate more fully on one or two areas in particular.

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Posted by on Nov 26, 2009 | 2 comments

Creating the Sound Effects of Shatter

Shatter

Jeramiah Ross sent me nice info about the sound effects creation for the amaizng brick-breaking game Shatter (PS3). Jeramiah was the lead sound designer for the game and he explain the process and techniques used to create the sound effects for the game, let’s read:

Jeramiah :

When I think back on it, It was a really fun job to take on. I had spent over a year creating the music for the game and already knew what things should sound like. And as I was using the worlds and story as reference to make the music, I already knew what things should be like for the Sound-Effects. I didnt have much time, But I am pretty happy with how it turned out. The Music and the game have a Retro feel, So I set about making the sound-effects sound like they belong to the world of Shatter under the guidence of Sidhe. I also had a crash course in FMOD and learning all about events, sound definitions and how much FMOD drives sound-designers and game programmers crazy ! :)

THE BAT SOUNDS

While putting together the sound effects and how the Bat would re-act if he got hit by bricks or attacked by the bosses it became clear that he needed to have some sort of vocal reaction to it. In the music we are already hinting that the Bat has some sort of Charcter. Since he is kinda of a robot I needed something that would sound kinda like a robot but still have some sort of emotion to it. I found the sounds I was looking for by using a freeware program called AnalogX SayIt. Basically you type words into it and it plays it back to you in a computer voice. Instead of words I typed things in like…”Phhhwwwwooo”, and “Owwwhhhhwww”, along with “UddddeeerUddddeeer” because this program uses phonetics (plays things how they sound, eg Computer = Com pew terr) It was alot of fun building up a libary of random sounds that the bat made. Once I had over 50 Bat sounds, I Put a bit of pitch shift over it all, compressed and mixed it and added a slight touch of reverb. Then loaded them into ableton live and edited around 10 different types of Bat sounds.

Here is the audio template I made for all the Bat Sounds. which I called Pure Robotics Test version 1.

The Sound of ball lost was made with a kick drum, a bit of echo and me slamming the refrigator door in my kitchen.

Here is the program I used to make the Bat sounds which is freeware, So you can download it and make Bat Sounds too!

sayit1-550x216

Oh, By the way, as a secret hidden feature that no-one knows about, well, you do if your reading this, At the time, Battle Star Galactica was on its final few episodes, if you listen really closely when the ball is dropped in shatter, you might hear a famous battle-star Galactica curse word in one of the ball-lost events in-game :)

SHARD-STORM & PICKUPS

The Shard-storm is the sound of the Bat, releasing his full wrath on the brick and bosses, Basically, after sucking up lots of fragments left from destroying the bricks, it all adds up as a massive big energy release which you can use to almost destroy a entire wave or Boss. So it had to be Big, not just oh yeah, thats cool, It had to be OH MY GOD THATS AWESOME !!!! in a sound way. So it has about 3-4 different elements that make up the whole event. Ready, Power up, Active, Power Down.Its like a massive ray of sunshine and glass which is what I thought while making that sound. The sound itself is made from Wind chimes, Synths, A vacuum cleaner, and all sorts of audio processing.

The Pick up sounds are very classic, like energy orbs, I referenced lots of old skool sound effects for these. The First sound is the pick up coming out of a brick, like a sonar echo that the bat detects, Then you have the sound of the bat eating it..so to speak…

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Posted by on Nov 26, 2009 | 0 comments

Audiokinetic Releases a New Version of Wwise and a New Pricing Structure

Wwise

Audiokinetic Inc. released today the latest version of Wwise (2009.3) introducing new features and enhancements, Audiokinetic also unveiled a new pricing structure that will allow customers to save up to 20% on purchase of the company’s product families.

New features and enhancements:

  • McDSP effects: ML1 and FutzBox
  • Peak meters on limiter effects
  • Vorbis: major memory optimizations
  • New & improved file packager
  • Profiler data statistics



Audiokinetic and McDSP had announced a technological partnership a few months ago, and the ML1 and FutzBox plug-ins are the first results of this collaboration.

Audiokinetic also gave a sneak-peek of its roadmap for Wwise for 2010, and revealed that new features will include a convolution reverb.

“We’re pursuing our goal to see Wwise become a comprehensive platform for sound design, while answering our customers’ needs,” said Simon Ashby, VP Product Strategy, Audiokinetic. “Our users asked for more high-quality effects and a convolution reverb, so we’re delivering these, and more.”

In parallel, Audiokinetic revealed a new pricing structure based on a “buy more – pay less” approach. The pricing structure allows game developers to qualify for discounts if they purchase several products developed by Audiokinetic.

  • Purchase of 2 products grants a 5% discount;
  • Purchase of the Power Pack – the combination of Wwise, Wwise Motion, SoundSeed Impact, SoundSeed Air, the 2 McDSP effects and the upcoming convolution reverb – grants a 20% discount.


“Our products are powerful yet affordable, and this new pricing structure offers a great value for money,” said Geneviève Laberge, VP Sales, Audiokinetic. “For example, purchasing the Power Pack for 1 title on 2 platforms now costs $33K – that’s an economy of $8,250 compared to the individual price of these 6 valuable products.”

Details of the new features in Wwise 2009.3 and of the new pricing are available on Audiokinetic’s web site.

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