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Audio Design for VR – Ustwo’s Land’s End

Posted by on Mar 1, 2016 | 2 comments

LandsEnd_03

Guest Contribution by Todd Baker

Land’s End has been described as ‘VR for everyone’. Ustwo began the project as an investigation into new methods of interaction and navigation in VR. Anyone who has tried the new medium will be familiar with the varied reactions from users; whilst many find the immersion compelling, others can suffer with disorientation, fatigue, even VR Sickness. Land’s End focuses on minimalist, intuitive interaction, set within environments that are immersive and welcoming – giving the player space to observe and breathe. Naturally the look, feel and sound of the world are essential in terms of creating a place that players can feel comfortable exploring. (more…)

News – Film Sound Guru Randy Thom’s New Blog

Posted by on Feb 29, 2016 | 1 comment

Image retrieved from IGN. Click to view source.

There’s no doubt the sound design community is one blessed with some fantastic artists who are surprisingly willing to share their experiences and insights. This fact was confirmed recently with Randy Thom’s announcement of a new blog discussing film sound. The blog, found here, already features three brief but insightful posts from Thom, and will no doubt be a source of excellent info in the future as well.

Sunday Sound Thought 9 – Constructing Which Reality?

Posted by on Feb 28, 2016 | 3 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…

Though it’s not the first time Randy Thom has voiced his opinions about “detail” in sound design, his first personal blog post felt like it dove-tailed in nicely with one of the ideas I had planned for this series…so much that I thought I should push it forward in the schedule. The concept of “reality” in film.

I once knew a man who considered himself a great film sound aficionado, and he explained to me a game he and his father like to play that they called “bad foley.” Ignoring the fact that the term “foley” doesn’t actually apply to the targets of their disdain, it basically boiled down to picking out sounds that had no basis in reality. They viewed this as something that should be avoided. The quickest example he gave me was the sound that accompanied the helicopter in Terminator 2…specifically, the whoosh that tracked the search light as it panned through the building. This game of his bothers me on a number of levels, but there is one primary argument I have against it.

Sound design is not about re-constructing reality, it’s about constructing a reality…one that suits the purposes of the story and augments the characters’ perspectives. As Mr. Thom said, and I’m paraphrasing here, choosing which details to present can be “the most powerful choice.” There are times when that most powerful detail might just be something we would never experience in our own personal lives.

Designing Sound GDC Game Audio Crawl

Posted by on Feb 23, 2016 | 0 comments

EVENT POSTER

 

*** UPDATES ***

03.11.16: With over 260 RSVPs we’ve had to change the venue to not one, but four awesome bars / cafes, all within two blocks on Market Street. DS contributing editor Richard Gould will be at Brewcade from shortly before 4:00pm to hand out stickers which will signifiy you’re part of this event so you’ll know who and who not to randomly strike up a conversation with! Once you have a sticker, pick the venue that best fits your personality.

Brewcade (Retro Game Bar): 2200 Market St

Blackbird (Rustic-Modern Bar): 2124 Market St

Lucky 13 (Rock / Punk Bar): 2140 Market St

Café Flore (Relaxed Cafe, Food): 2298 Market St

 


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Sunday Sound Thought 8 – Solipsism

Posted by on Feb 21, 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…

Solipsism is the idea that the only thing that can be confirmed in life is the existence of one’s self. Whether or not we want to accept the possibility that this idea is true, an extrapolation can be made from the idea…one that is a little easier to accept. The only perspective that can be confirmed to exist is one’s own.

It’s impossible for us to see through another’s eyes, hear through their ears, or fully understand the complex impressions of the mind behind the words that people use to express themselves. Without a direct link between minds (something which we’re not currently capable of), it is impossible to truly share the sensory experience of another person. That’s something we can take advantage of in sound design.

Sound is solipsistic. Not every character needs to hear something the same way. The audience certainly won’t. Leaving room for them to interpret what those differences in character perspective (and maybe the realization that they have a different perspective as well), allows for a more complex story that feeds each individual’s experience and reaffirms their unique perspective. If you don’t believe me, go watch The Conversation (Coppola, 1974).

Dive Into Code – Part 2 of 3

Posted by on Feb 19, 2016 | 0 comments

A heart-shaped cookie cutter sits on a wooden table.

Photo: Leonard Paul

This article is a guest contribution by Leonard Paul, president of the School of Video Game Audio. He has worked on over twenty AAA and indie games such as ‘Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2,’ ‘NHL11,’ ‘Vessel’ and ‘Retro City Rampage’ as a technical sound designer and composer, and he has also composed for documentaries like ‘The Corporation’ and the upcoming ‘Beep: A Documentary History of Game Sound.’ You can visit his School of Video Game Audio website or can follow him at @SchoolGameAudio.

 

In this second part of our three-part series “Diving Into Code” with game audio, we’ll go through the details of the code itself, as well as see how the code works in the Xcode debugger. This tutorial uses the project and C++ files from Part 1 of this series, so if you are just now joining us, please see that article first.

Experiment with Effects
Before we look at how the code works, let’s have a bit of fun by adding a delay DSP effect to our sound. The FMOD Studio Tool allows game audio artists the ability to implement common audio behaviours and change the way the SFX, music and dialogue play in a game without having to change the code at all. However, we need to create a bank and replace the existing bank referenced by the code.

First, let’s open the FMOD Studio project:

/Applications/FMOD Studio/examples/Examples.fspro

I won’t go into much detail about the FMOD Studio Tool, since there is plenty of great information available online and in the manual.

To add an effect to the “UI/Okay” event, make sure the Events tab is selected, then open the “UI” folder and select the “Okay” event. Click on the “Okay” timeline track (not just the UI1okay blue trigger region) to put a yellow highlight around the entire track, including the track name and blue trigger region.

The FMOD Studio track is highlighted with a yellow line when it is selected.

Select the “Okay” tab in the dock at the bottom right next to the “Events Macro” tab to see the fader widget on the bottom left. Click the “+” to the right of the fader to Add Effect→FMOD Delay with default parameters. Now when you play the event, you should hear an echoing delay effect. Save the project so you don’t lose your work. (more…)

The Programmed Music of “Mini Metro” – Interview with Rich Vreeland (Disasterpeace)

Posted by on Feb 18, 2016 | 2 comments

As art of the Audio Programming theme this month, I thought it would be interesting to learn about the interactive/reactive score to Mini Metro, a game which was released late last year by developer Dinosaur Polo Club to broad critical acclaim.

YouTube Preview Image

I sat down recently with Rich Vreeland (aka ‘Disasterpeace’) to discuss the project. Rich was the composer and designed the music system in Mini Metro. Pretty much everything you hear in the game consists of samples that are trigged in real-time as a result of player actions.

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Sunday Sound Thought 7 – Time Travel

Posted by on Feb 15, 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…

No sound is perceived at its moment of inception. Sound takes time to reach our ears. By the time we perceive it, the physical event that spawned it may already be over. Even with those sounds that happen right in front of us, we’re still perceiving a previous event. The brain has latency…neural signals travel at 1 meter per second according to this article. So no matter what we do, we’re never hearing anything other than echoes of the past.

Dive Into Code! – Part 1 of 3

Posted by on Feb 12, 2016 | 0 comments

A vacant dock relaxes in the grand view of the Rainbow Park mountain range as a peaceful Alta Lake flickers below.

Photo: Leonard Paul

This article is a guest contribution by Leonard Paul, president of the School of Video Game Audio. He has worked on over twenty AAA and indie games such as ‘Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2,’ ‘NHL11,’ ‘Vessel’ and ‘Retro City Rampage’ as a technical sound designer and composer, and he has also composed for documentaries like ‘The Corporation’ and the upcoming ‘Beep: A Documentary History of Game Sound.’ You can visit his School of Video Game Audio website or can follow him at @SchoolGameAudio.

 

Ready for the plunge? Or maybe just a toe first? There has never been a better time to “dive” into audio coding, but instead of jumping in and hoping to swim right away, we’re just going to get our feet wet with this first article in the series.

This article is a gentle introduction to the fun world of game audio programming using C++ with FMOD Studio under OS X. You might be familiar with audio middleware implementation, or even complex effects chains and intricate modular synthesizer patches, but the thought of C++ code can still seem a bit daunting. It can be hard to figure out where to start with game audio coding, especially since the software and technology changes every few years. But just like learning a new language, even a few phrases can have amazing outcomes. C++ is currently the language used in many games, and the tools to learn how to code have never been more accessible. Each tool used in this article is entirely free to download and use, and with FMOD Studio being free for commercial indie releases, the skills you learn here can be used directly when working on games. It definitely isn’t necessary to know how to code when working in game audio, but it’s a lot more fun when you understand how a game plays back your sounds, and it can help you learn how to have more creative control. Now let’s get to it! (more…)

News: Sounds of Star Wars Battlefront Part 1

Posted by on Feb 9, 2016 | 0 comments

Stormtrooper is thrown by the blast of a massively destructive grenade called the Thermal Imploder

Photo: Star Wars™ Battlefront™ by EA DICE. Article by Adriane Kuzminski.

In Part 1 of this blog series, EA DICE invites you to hear from the sound designers of Star Wars: Battlefront as they break down the anatomy of their favorite sounds. Does the inhaling blast of a thermal imploder give you a Pringles complex, prompting you to lob them one after another until your lack of strategy causes others to wonder if Jar Jar Binks is on the battlefield? Sound Designer David Jegutidse breaks down the audio magic behind the creation of this weapon, sharing design techniques, influences and Soundcloud examples. Also, for those attending GDC next month with an Audio Track, Main Conference or All Access pass, don’t miss David Jegutidse and Composer Gordy Haab’s session on the music and sound design for Battlefront.