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Posted by on Jul 29, 2014 | 1 comment

Car Engine Approximation In Max

Years ago, when I first started dabbling in the deep and dark world of Max/MSP, I attempted to create the sound of a car engine. This month’s theme (which is ‘vehicles’, if you didn’t know) reminded me about it. I opened up the patch after ages and was a bit appalled by the state of it. There are hidden skeletons in every old patch!

Instead of digging through a dated project, I recreated a patch/idea I had used about a year ago when designing sounds for a remote controlled toy airplane. I tried to adapt the simplicity of that implementation to a ‘regular’ car engine.

Here’s a sample of what it sounds like (all synthesised):

This patch was put together fairly quickly and could do with more refinements to improve the character and reduce the amount of ‘digital-ness’ in the sound. The model quite obviously breaks at higher frequencies/RPMs.

Here’s the patch:

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Posted by on Jul 28, 2014 | 2 comments

AudioGaming competition — results!

5year anniversary

The results are in! Thanks for taking part in the competition, I’m told the AudioGaming crew were quite overwhelmed by all the responses they received. Here’s what Amaury said:

Some quotes were just too funny so we decided to award two prizes. One for the best serious quote, one for the funniest. The two winners will get full post-production bundles.

(..drum roll..)

Serious quote:

Winner: Kevin Peters. Sculpt, control, create.

Runner up quotes: Everything indoors, The science of sounds, The future of sound design today

Funniest quote:

Winner: Andrea Proietti. Presets are for losers

Runner up quote: Unleash an audio storm like a Greek god of sound.

Congratulations Kevin and Andrea!

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Posted by on Jul 2, 2014 | 0 comments

Silence At Work

For the past few years I have been bothered about the amount of time I spend on a job — not specifically about how busy I am, but rather how much time I spend concentrating on the task that needs getting done. By default, most of us learn to constantly optimise our workflows as our experience grows. This is very important, as successful projects are judged not only on their quality but also budgets! But most of us also have the task of being creative collaborators while working long hours. Not easy.

One of the biggest problems I find with workflow optimisation is that I get stuck with techniques and ideas that have previously worked and quite often end up forcing ideas that don’t fit the context. They are often sub-conscious decisions and I need to consciously stop myself and try something new. I recently started taking ‘silent breaks’ to combat this. I’m a big fan of the pomodoro technique and use a 25 minute timer when I work. With every break (every 25 minutes) I step away from the computer and silently ponder on my work. I was surprised (and in hindsight, not so surprised) to find that it greatly improved my productivity and the quality of my work. There is something quite stimulating in taking a break, staring out of the window in silence and letting the mind wander.

But there are days when I ignore the timer because I’m too busy trying to make an idea work. I then start to optimise my workflow once again and forget about productive silences. An infinite loop.

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Posted by on Jun 18, 2014 | 14 comments

AudioGaming : Competition

5year anniversary

AudioGaming is about to celebrate five years of developing procedural audio plugin magic and would like to offer two DS readers a post-production bundle each — for free — through a simple competition.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Help them find a quote for the procedural audio plugin bundle
  2. A quote that could go on a box like the one below
  3. The quote needs to be ten words or less
  4. One entry per person, email your quote to contest[at]audiogaming[dot]net

Example: “Sculpt your audio in real-time”

The folks at AudioGaming will then choose two of the best quotes. This competition closes on 14 July 2014 at 00:00 GMT. Good luck!

bundle_box

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Posted by on May 28, 2014 | 4 comments

Audio And VR

There’s been more VR content made in the past year than the last twenty combined, thanks to the emergence of the Oculus Rift, Sony’s Project Morpheus and other such virtual reality (VR) devices. There’s lots of innovation happening on the visual front, including new methods of gameplay, narrative structure and visual design. The obvious question: what’s happening on the audio front?

There are discussions about audio for VR across the Internet but most of them are related to the technology behind binaural/3D positional audio. There also is lots of academic research related to auditory interfaces spanning the past couple of decades. A search on Google Scholar will lead to lots of good material worth reading. [This post is focussed on first person game like environments, where audio-visual realism and synchronisation is necessary]

Over the past two and a half years I have been involved with Two Big Ears where we’ve been developing 3Dception, a very very efficient real-time and easy to use binaural audio engine that works everywhere (you can head to the website to watch and download demos). During this period I’ve had the opportunity to design sound for about fourteen augmented and virtual reality projects including games, interfaces for the visually impaired and audio led tourism apps. My experience so far, especially when working with binaural audio, has shown that some of the ‘tricks’ we take for granted in non-VR applications don’t work as well. This article is a summary of a few things that I’ve learnt, as a designer, when dealing with such technologies.

This article is by no means exhaustive. My hope is that it can be expanded as more sound designers experiment in this area. I’ve also made a copy of this article on a wiki which I hope to update as I continue work in this area (it is on wiki to facilitate community contribution!). I’m also currently working on a short playable game t

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