Finishing up Loudness Month here at Designing Sound I asked the good folks at Audiokinetic (makers of Wwise), Firelight Technologies (makers of FMOD) and G.A.N.G. IESD about what is happening in game audio in regards to loudness metering.
From the G.A.N.G. IESD Committee:
“Loudness and monitoring levels have been very high on the IESD’s agenda since the the organization was formed. We see independently produced recommendation documents of this nature as essential for everyone in the industry, from bigger developers to indie studios and, of course, students, or those new to the field of interactive sound.
We had previously, and quickly, worked on a version 1.0 document, which is available on the discussion boards within the GANG IESD website. The focus of this early work was on establishing listening levels (establishing the 79dB home entertainment levels, rather than 85dB theatrical levels, which some developers had been mixing to), and offering a checklist and advice on the more commonly made mixing pitfalls. When Garry Taylor and his group at Sony approached the IESD last year with his Sony paper on loudness levels, we were all on-board very quickly and knew that this was something big. The co-chairs (Kenny Young, Scott Selfon, Alex Brandon and myself) quickly assembled a sub-committe of leading game sound mixing experts (made up of major studio/publisher, and independent contributors) to look at the Sony recommendations and to consider adopting them on a wider level. We soon discovered that Microsoft and Nintendo were also in-line with recommending these same levels and measurement techniques for their first party titles. This made it pretty straightforward to create and agree upon a supporting IESD recommendation document that could confidently suggest numbers for all current-gen home entertainment consoles.
The version 2.0 document, which is intended to be solidified and released in time for GDC this year, adjusts the 79dB monitoring levels to accommodate the ATSC A/85 document, suggesting changes to monitoring levels based on volumetric measurements of the monitoring environment. The loudness recommendations themselves are absolutely in-step with the Sony document in adopting the ITU-R 1770-3 algorithms for measuring loudness over a minimum of 30 minutes of representative gameplay (-23 LUFS, tolerance of +-2dB). True Peak not north of -1dBFS (DB below a full-scale sample).
The next step for the group is to publish a 2.1 version of the document that recommends numbers on iOS and Android devices as well as web browser, though again, the group at Sony has already done some great work in this direction with their -18 LUFS recommendation for the Sony Vita.
The IESD co-chairs are: Kenneth Young, Scott Selfon, Rob Bridgett & Alexander Brandon
The IESD committee consists of Lin Gardiner, Damian Kastbauer, Gordon Durity (EA), Garry Taylor (Sony), Scott Petersen (Nintendo), Tom Hays (Technicolor) and Kristofor Mellroth (Microsoft)”