Categories Menu

Recent articles

Quick Tip: Using Templates in Wwise

Posted by on Feb 2, 2016 | 0 comments

WwiseTemplates_03WwiseTemplates_01

Guest post by Bradley Meyer

Like any tool in a game developers toolbox, Wwise is a deep, complex program with an owners manual longer than most novels. Who has time to read through an entire manual these days? I wanted to show off a simple, often overlooked feature in Wwise, which may not be readily apparent to someone who hasn’t read the manual. The ability to import a folder structure and apply a Wwise structure as a template to it can save a ridiculous amount of time when setting up structures in your project which may have a similar layout to other ones already in your project. With a little forethought and a few mouse clicks, the process of setting up complex structures in Wwise becomes an automated dream. (more…)

Monthly Theme: Audio Programming

Posted by on Feb 2, 2016 | 1 comment

Audio (music) programming by dabit.

This month at Designing Sound, we are focusing our lens on the concept of Audio Programming.

The above image is from David Padilla’s (AKA dabit) Banjo (here is the github link), which is a MIDI looper for live performance. He is a professional programmer (and an audio hobbyist) who’s work producing music within a programming language is quite impressive and academically intriguing. Though we do not all need to be professional programmers in order to be interested and involved in the process of audio programming. We, as sound designers, definitely have some additional tools and techniques to produce incredible and unique sound design through other (more user friendly) methods of programming as well.

Audio programming has always been a part of sound design in some form, though with the development of the more popular programs/languages such as Kyma, Max/MSP, and Pure Data (Pd), the world of audio programming continues to take an increasingly integral role in many of our workflows.

Whether you are a user of one or more of the above mentioned programming languages, a Csound expert, or are into another form of audio programming that is potentially less widely known or used. We would love to hear from you about your thoughts (and potentially tutorials) on how you use your favorite programming languages to produce your work.

Please email doron [at] this site to contribute an article for this month’s topic. And as always, please feel free to go “off-topic” as well.

Sunday Sound Thought 5 – Unexpected Language

Posted by on Jan 31, 2016 | 0 comments

As the year continues, many of these posts will be philosophical in nature. Some will be in contradiction to previous postings. These are not intended as truths or assertions, they’re merely thoughts…ideas. Think of this as stream of consciousness over a wide span…

All sound communicates.

Sound is the result of a physical event. Whether it be the wind blowing through the trees, air passing over your vocal chords, or electrons traveling through a piece of metal to/from a transducer, there’s a physical event happening. Sound helps us register and comprehend that event. It doesn’t really matter if that event has any immediate meaning to us, sound is there for us to use. Our environment is always speaking to us.

Macros for Audio Production – Automating Your Workflow

Posted by on Jan 31, 2016 | 2 comments

This article was born out of an idea for a GDC audio talk proposal. Another one of my proposals was selected so I thought I’d turn the core idea of this one into a DS post in case it’s of use to the community.

Professor_Lucifer_Butts

used under creative commons, click for source

Do you use macros in your music/sound production? If the answer is yes, then this article isn’t for you. Given January’s theme is all about time management, I feel duty-bound to say you should make better use of your time and read one of the many other fantastic articles here on this site. If however, any of the following apply, read on!

  • “I don’t know what a macro is”
  • “Macros are just shortcuts right, like CMD C to copy?”
  • “Macros are only used by programmers.”

(more…)

Walter Murch and Trains: A Sound Exploration

Posted by on Jan 28, 2016 | 0 comments

An S-Bahn Class 480 train coming to a stop.

An S-Bahn Class 480 train coming to a stop. Photo Credits: http://hampage.hu/

Guest Post by Beau Anthony Jimenez

Introduction

In the film and sound world, Walter Murch is a man that needs no introduction.

But for the few who need a brief idea of this Renaissance man: Walter Murch is a pioneer of the film-sound world. His way of thinking about sound for film has been revered for decades. His body of work is legendary, both as a sound editor and picture editor.

As one studies his work, you may find that Murch utilizes the sound of trains in moments where he wants the audience to reside in the character’s perspective. These moments are essentially a sound designer’s playground, capable of delving into non-diegetic sound design and an abstract mix.

(more…)

In Memory of Brad Fuller

Posted by on Jan 26, 2016 | 0 comments

bradfuller

Earlier this month, the game audio community lost Brad Fuller, a man who was both a pioneer and an inspiration. We reached out to some who knew him to share their thoughts and memories of Brad, and to celebrate his life and contributions to our community.

From Don Diekneite:

Brad Fuller, 62, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He passed away after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer on January 2nd.  His early love for music became a calling and he enrolled at Berklee College of Music in Boston, followed by the Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington. In 1982 Brad joined Atari as Director of Audio where he built and managed Atari’s audio team which was responsible for the sound of all of Atari’s coin-operated games. During this time, he pioneered technologies and creative audio practices whose impact is still being felt today. Among the many titles he personally created sound for are Donkey Kong, Marble Madness, Klax, Paper Boy, Toobin and many, many more.

Though he was particularly passionate about jazz, Brad loved just about every kind of music from blues and country to rock, classical, electronic, and experimental. Combined with an equal regard for the magic in code and technology, he made 1s and 0s come to life in sound.

Brad was one of those rare individuals who excelled in several areas. His exceptional technical competence in both software and hardware is hard to find in someone who is also so expert in the creative realm. As a sound designer and composer, he not only created great material but also leveraged technical knowledge to find creative solutions others often missed. His experience combined with a genuine care for people made him an extraordinary manager with a unique ability to balance the business, the technical, and the creative.

Working for Brad at Atari Games was a daily lesson in learning by doing. He did not manage by insisting on a specific way to solve a problem or accomplish a task. Instead, he taught you the tools, explained the goal, said, “go,” and then gave you his unconditional support – the operative word here being, “unconditional.” He worked for those on his teams as much as they worked for him.

If one measure of a man is his ability to impact, influence, and even change the lives of others, then Brad measures up big time. Because of Brad’s influence, those whose lives he touched often found their lives taking a new direction, with new choices being made. Some seemingly small, some huge, but all having unquestionable impact. Many of those who worked with Brad credit him with the acquisition of greater knowledge and understanding of the technical (how things work) and the creative (how things are made). All leading to nothing less than truly artful results. To this day, sound designers and composers of interactive media owe him for pioneering efforts in adaptive audio for games, toys, and other interactive products.

Not to mention the millions of people all over the world who felt such delight in the countless games they played that were strengthened by the sounds, voices and music Brad created.

But most of all, so many of us owe the simple but heartfelt sharing of warmth and friendship from a guy who did not draw a line between co-worker, colleague and friend.

Thank you Brad, your spirit lives on in all of us.

 

From Leonard Paul:

I first met Brad during the IA-SIG party in San Jose in 2006. We chatted for a while before I found out that he had worked on the music for Marble Madness, which was a favourite game of mine on the Amiga. He always had a warm personality and I had fun corresponding with him by email and catching up with him over the years at the Game Developers Conference. The Level 2 music from Marble Madness will always be a classic for me.” – Leonard Paul

Thanks for the offer of having people send in their thoughts. A good link to his music with Hal Canon on Marble Madness is: http://vgmrips.net/packs/pack/marble-madness-atari-system-1
In addition, Dren McDonald has spearheaded an effort to record one final piece that Brad was working on prior to his death. We will share any further information on this as it develops.
All of us at Designing Sound send out our hearts and sympathy to Brad’s friends, families, and coworkers who were deeply affected by his loss. He was a valued and caring part of the game audio community, and he will be sorely missed.

Sunday Sound Thought 4 – ???

Posted by on Jan 24, 2016 | 5 comments

As the year continues, many of these posts will be philosophical in nature. Some will be in contradiction to previous postings. These are not intended as truths or assertions, they’re merely thoughts…ideas. Think of this as stream of consciousness over a wide span…

This week’s post is a short rhetorical question, and I’m piggy-backing off of last week’s connection between time and sound.

I wish I could remember where, but I once read that there is no experiment science can conduct that would prove/disprove the existence of time. Let’s presume for the moment that this is correct…

If we cannot prove the existence of time, and we need time to perceive sound, then how can we prove the existence of sound?

Bellingham Audio in Games Event (BAIGE)

Posted by on Jan 18, 2016 | 6 comments

Event playbill sketch credit jovietajane (https://twitter.com/jovietajane).

Event playbill sketch credit jovietajane (https://twitter.com/jovietajane).

Community spotlight on: the Pacific Northwest, a uniquely concentrated locus of game audio talent goings-on.

Every month, Vancouver and Seattle both host up an in- to semi-formal gathering for like-minded designers and composers, usually alternating developer showcases and bar crawls. Lots of cities do these, but it seems like these ours are particularly well-attended: upwards of 75+ attendees Eventbrite’d in for November’s behind the scenes look at the sound of Bungie’s Destiny, on site at their Bellevue headquarters. Each city’s been on a really consistent tear with these meet-ups for the last two years, but they’d never really come together.*

Until this weekend.

On Saturday, the Vancouver and Seattle Game Audio communities came together in the basement of Western Washington University, a graciously provided-for halfway point, for a collaborative afternoon of talks and panels. We ate donuts, shuffled slides, met our brothers and sisters from across the border and broke it all down over pizza.

I’ve been going to these things for a while, and I always leave them hazy-brained and grateful to be part of an industry so welcoming. And it’s just flat-out unfair not to spread that around. So here’s Designing Sound, bending towards Bellingham, for a bullet point recap of some of the knowledge that was shared.

(more…)

Sunday Sound Thought 3 – Time

Posted by on Jan 17, 2016 | 1 comment

As the year continues, many of these posts will be philosophical in nature. Some will be in contradiction to previous postings. These are not intended as truths or assertions, they’re merely thoughts…ideas. Think of this as stream of consciousness over a wide span…

Sound is a representation of time.

Actually, that doesn’t sit right. Sound IS time.

If you think about the differences between a picture and a sound captured over an infinitely short span of time, you’ll understand what I mean. A picture is a representation of space. Something captured in a true instant generates a visual field which can be looked at, studied…understood. Time may be required to do all of those things, but the image exists.

The same is not true for sound. A sound captured in the same way is nothing. Attempting to continuously play back that representation for study would be like running a DC signal into a speaker. It would instantly deflect to a given position, and remain there as long the current continues. You would hear nothing.

Without time, sound does not exist.