An insightful piece up on the deep-dive developer centric AltDevBlogADay covering the various perceptions and mis-conceptions regarding the role of audio programmers in the games industry. Dig in for some clarifications of terminologies and forward thinking imaginings:
New game designs based on audio analysis, sound effects generated at runtime with procedural audio, perceptual voice management, spectrally-informed mixing, audio shaders, content-aware audio tools: these are only a few examples of what an audio programmer could be working on and which is almost totally absent from our games and pipelines today.
AltDevBlogADay: Putting the audio back in “audio programmer” by Nicolas Fournel
While you’re there, why not explore the rest of the AltDevBlogADay Audio Posts
Also of interest:
Nicolas Fournel’s GDC 2011 Presentation – Procedural Audio Challenges & Opportunities
It may be premature for me to turn the focus of the series towards the future, as we find ourselves deep in the throes of the current generation console development, but I think by now those of us submerged in creating ever-expanding soundscapes for games at times suffer under the burden of our limitations. Of course, it isn’t all bad, given a set of constraints and creatively overcoming them can be as satisfying as coloring outside the lines.
I can’t help but feel a little Sci-Fi on occasion when I see some of the interesting work being done academically or within the DIY community. The explosion of information and accessibility to resources seems to enable those with a mind, and the time, to do so with a bottomless well of potential that, when focused, can provide the maker with something to substantiate their creative vision. Whether it’s the current craze for Kinect hacking, a modular code bending instrument, or simple pleasures of circuit bending, there are communities of people working together to unlock the inherent ability of our modern lifestyle devices. That’s not to say that every hack comes with a purpose, for some the joy is in the deconstruction, destruction, or the creation of something new.
One technique that keeps showing up in game audio is the pairing of an available game engine with a alternative audio engine not generally associated with game audio. Whether it’s the work of Leonard J. Paul using OSC (Open Sound Control) as a bridge between HL2 Source or more recently with Unity, Arjen Schut and his experiments with HL2 and Max/MSP, or this months featured Audio Implementation Greats spotlight: Graham Gatheral, I can’t help but see the resourcefulness of a few brave hearts boldly moving forward to fill a gap in the current functionality of today’s game audio engines.
Frank Bry has released Rifle Actions HD, a new library of gun foley, including 398 sounds (66 files) recorded at 96kHz/24-Bit. Here’s what Frank says about it:
Presenting Guns: Rifle Actions HD, the first in a series of gun foley action sound effects libraries. Included are 6 rifles, old and new: PTR-91 Semi-automatic Rifle (based on the Heckler & Koch G3/HK91), Remington 700 .30-06 Bolt Action Rifle, Ruger 223 Range Rifle, Ruger M77 Bolt Action Rifle, Winchester Model 1892 Lever Action Rifle (very old) and a vintage Winchester 43 Bolt Action Rifle which once belonged to my Grandfather and now is in the custody of my Nephew Kyle.
I have worked on a few games that have required some crazy gun foley. I made the best of using CD libraries but always had to try and gather my own source when needed. When I began recording at 24/96 some years ago I started recording a brand new custom collection of gun actions. This collection contains the standard actions plus some other things I’ve needed in my video game sound design work. As many of you know, some warfare and futuristic shooter games usually need some “over the top” gun foley. I hope you can find uses for these sounds in your creations as stand alone sounds or in conjunction with the other amazing boutique gun libraries available.
Rifle Actions HD is available at $35. More info here.
In an effort to provide more community oriented opportunities, we’re adding a new feature. The Film Sound Discussion Group will be a monthly event where we can all get online together and talk about the use of sound in particular films, their scenes or the use of sound in other forms of media. It’s kind of like a “book club.” We’ll let you know what the topic is going to be, and you’ll have a few weeks to get familiar with the work in question. It will be a little different, because it will be a moderated discussion. We’re going to be easing our way into this while we figure out what works and what doesn’t, but it’s a great opportunity to bring together members of our global community to share ideas and insights. (more…)
McDSP has published a new user profile, featuring sound designer David Farmer.
“When I’m designing new sounds, I build in premix tracks that get bussed down to auxes, and those auxes then get bussed down to a composite. I almost always have an instance of Analog Channel on those premix auxes, and often an ML4000 too.”
“It’s hard to put into words why McDSP products sound so good to me. When I listen through a McDSP plug-in, it sounds like the plug-in has been listening. So many plug-ins just sound like they’re crunching numbers, but McDSP sounds like they’re actually listening to the audio.”
To get things rolling on this month’s featured sound designer, here’s a little introductory interview with Coll Anderson.
Designing Sound: How did you first get interested in sound?
Coll Anderson: My Mother was a DJ at a country radio station in Des Moines Iowa. She did that and was a VO artist… I started hanging out at the station when she was doing her show, and then hanging at sessions… That led to playing with stuff, the record players, making mix tapes, faders… I was like 12… I mean I was a little kid playing with cutting 1/4” and stuff to make my mix tapes. Then one day I got the microphone to work… That was it. My brain just exploded. I recorded music for a while, played the drums for a while but it was always that microphone thing that illuminated so much for me. Then Allison Humenuk asked me to record sound on her thesis documentary and the two ideas, recording sound, and working on movies just came full on. (more…)
I’m pleased to announce a new special guest on Designing Sound: Coll Anderson.
Coll Anderson has been working with sound for 24 years. His work includes recording, editing, designing and mixing, and spans indie art house classics, award-winning documentaries, and many studio films. From Documentaries including Errol Morrisʼ Oscar winning “The Fog of War”, Sundance Grand Jury Prize winners “Frat house,” “Manda Balla,” or “Restropo”, to Feature Films like Universals Studioʼs action classic “Death Race,” and 20th Century Foxʼs Martha Marcy May Marlene, Coll has helped to sharpen the focus and story of films with the creative use of sound.”
Coll Anderson on IMDb
C.A. Sound Inc
New article of Mix Magazine featuring sound designers Craig Berkey and Erik Aadahl talking about his work on “The Tree of Life“.
Pity the poor journalist who has to write an article about a Terrence Malick film before it’s released. The notoriously publicity-shy director isn’t talking, the official synopsis is tantalizing but sketchy, the actors are purposefully vague in interviews and the one authorized trailer is frustratingly enigmatic. When we reach supervising sound editor/sound designer/mixer Craig Berkey and co-supervising sound editor/sound designer Erik Aadahl in late April to talk about The Tree of Life, they’re both extremely careful not to reveal any plot points. So we sort of talk around the story and instead get into some of the particulars of how the film’s soundtrack was put together and Malick’s always intriguing work methods.
Today we’ll be touching on the interactive side with this months Featured Sound Designer David Sonnenschein regarding his Sonic Strategies: Animal Sounds Memory Game.
This is one of many Sound Games to be created by Sonnenschein that open ears and minds to hearing the world in new ways. Focusing on the neurobiology of audiovisual input and memory, the game draws upon film and music theory, and provides one of the cornerstones for creating story, character and emotion with audio. It uses the memory flip-card model as one example of gameplay.
This game challenges the player to move from visual to audio awareness and memory in four variations that gradually bridge one sensory input (sight) to another (hearing). See how fast you can complete each level, and how many cards you need to turn over each time. How does your performance compare when aided by sight and/or hearing?
Have fun! See if your friends have the same or different experience. This is the first of many Sound Games to come that will open your ears and mind to hearing the world in new ways and learning to create story, character and emotion with audio.
What follows is an discussion between myself (DK) and David Sonnenschein (DS) on the topic of sound interactivity and the work he is doing to further our understanding of how we related to the world around us with sound.
New GameSoundCon seminar announced. Here’s the official info:
April 28, 2011 Seattle, WA – SoundCon, LLC announces the addition of Los Angeles, CA to its list of 2011 locations for GameSoundCon, conference on game music composition and game sound design. GameSoundCon 2011 LA is an intensive full-day seminar for composers, sound designers, recording engineers and other audio professionals, teaching the unique creative, technical and business challenges of working in the game music and game sound industry.
“We began GameSoundCon in Los Angeles in 2009, and are thrilled to return,” said Brian Schmidt, Executive Director of GameSoundCon. “Since then, GameSoundCon has attracted attendees from five continents to learn the information critical to let them hit the ground running when they land their first game audio job.”
“Writing music for games is different from anything most composers have ever come across; game sound design also presents challenges that are technically and creatively unlike those for film, tv for music production,” continued Brian. “Although many schools teach music composition and sound design, few cover the additional technical and aesthetic skills needed to compose game music and create sound effects for interactive video games.”
GameSoundCon 2011 LA will be held on June 6, 2011 at the Dolby Labs screening theater in Burbank, California.
More at GameSoundCon.com.