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Posted by on Mar 11, 2016 | 2 comments

Dive Into Code – Part 3 of 3

Super Breakout for the Atari 2600 with the Atari Paddle Controller

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 the previous two installments, we looked at how C++ code works by triggering simple events in FMOD Studio for Mac. In this final installment, we’ll look at how you can add FMOD Studio to a clone of the classic video game ‘Breakout’ using Xcode on OS X. If you’re on Windows and looking for a similar tutorial, feel free to leave a comment and if there is enough interest I’ll add a bonus installment in the future. Also, feel free to download the source code and the FMOD Studio project as well as the completed application, if you just feel like playing around.

Since we want to work with games, it would be nice to test our coding skills on an actual game instead of use the basic code from the previous parts. Unfortunately, we can’t add our FMOD Studio code to just any game, since they aren’t often open source. Another issue is that games are quite complex, which makes it very difficult to correctly combine all of the elements together without any issues. I’ve opted to utilize SDL2 (Simple DirectMedia Layer 2), a free open source engine, which has been used on commercial titles including Team Fortress 2, Left for Dead 2 and DOTA 2. One advantage is that it allows us to run the code relatively unchanged on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS and Android, which are all supported by FMOD Studio as well. If you use the SDL2 audio system instead of FMOD Studio, then you can also compile to JavaScript using Emscripten and run on nearly any system with JavaScript support.

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Posted by on Feb 19, 2016 | 0 comments

Dive Into Code – Part 2 of 3

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.

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Posted by on Feb 12, 2016 | 0 comments

Dive Into Code! – Part 1 of 3

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!

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Posted by on Aug 7, 2015 | 0 comments

News: Gathering Sky : Audio Journal #3

Dren McDonald's score for his seven-piece ensemble.

Photo: Heike Liss
Snippets of Dren McDonald’s score for his seven-piece ensemble.

Dren McDonald shares his third and final entry on the audio production of Gathering Sky. Written during the game’s development, the first two entries focus on keeping an open mind when joining a team late in the game’s development and maintaining this flexible mindset while composing and recording a live studio session. In the final entry, a post mortem, McDonald further emphasizes flexibility by sharing his incremental process of designing “reverse” dynamics in FMOD before the studio session recording.

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Posted by on Mar 27, 2015 | 0 comments

A Scholarship for Women in Game Audio

soundlibrarianbanner

Just a few weeks after announcing that they will be giving a 20% discount to all women who want to enroll in their FMOD certification course, Sound Librarian is continuing it’s efforts to support women in game audio by starting a scholarship program. The Muse Scholarship will award complete access for one year to all courses within the Sound Librarian Training Center to a candidate and will be held annually.

For more information about the scholarship please visit Sound Librarian and  if you are a woman who is passionate about game audio and would like to apply for this scholarship, make sure to fill out your application before April 30th. 

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