I intended to have this up last week but recovering from GDC was a fulltime job and the proverbial dog ate my homework when Google Docs made the rough draft of this article disappear. However at the time of writing the GDC Vault has not updated with audio/video of the event so hopefully this post will have a more timely release around the same time as GDC Vault. All of the photos were taken on my phone (apologies!) except the above header which is courtesy of the GDC website.
Lets get to the talks!
The first day of GDC had the Audio Bootcamp hosted by good friends of Designing Sound: Garry Taylor and Damian Kastbauer. It was super super informative but the talks were super short and not the easiest to take notes during! So instead I live tweeted as much as I could so please check out my Twitter feed from around that time and more importantly check it out on the GDC Vault.
Focal Press has recently released a new book on game audio entitled The Essential Guide to Game Audio. I know what you may be thinking, “Aren’t there already enough books on game audio?” This is a worthy addition to the plethora of learning materials already on the market. It fills a gap by focusing on game audio in the Unity Engine. It’s also co-authored by two well respected practitioners/educators: Steve Horowitz and Scott Looney. They were not content to just publish a book though. No, they had to go all transmedia on this topic.
Two other items have launched alongside the book. The first is a free iOS companion app. Well worth checking out even if you aren’t going to pick up the book; though I imagine you’ll get more out of it when the two are used in tandem. Additionally, the authors have launched a new website: Game Audio Institute. The site is just getting off of the ground now, and it will be interesting to see how it develops in the coming year.
If you’re currently learning game audio, or are considering it, you’ve got some new tools to add to your training arsenal.
As they did during the Game Audio AES conference in London recently, Anton Woldhek and Damian Kastbauer are producing daily podcasts from GDC. You can find them over at the Game Audio Podcast website.
Special thanks to Brad Dyck for submitting this wonderful interview with Rob Bridgett to DesigningSound!
RB: It’s funny, see the bags of coffee up there? That’s Sightglass coffee. It’s an incredible coffee shop in San Francisco. It’s funny because that’s where I met Damian (Kastbauer) at GDC this year. It was early, I was a little hung over and saw he tweeted about Sightglass so I was like, “I’m on my way,” and just showed up there. So it’s kind of funny to see that in here when we are talking about game audio.
BD: GDC always sounds like a great time.
RB: Yeah, I’ve only been there 3 times. The first time I went I did a lecture there so I was focused on that and I couldn’t really focus on the networking side of it too much. I was just too caught up in being prepared and stuff like that. Then the second time, we were in the middle of production on a game and I was busy meeting people to do with that. But this last time was just after we shipped, so I was free to go to see lectures or just meet with people. I got the most out of that. Meeting new people and getting brand new perspectives. You kind of realize that there are a lot of key players and social organizers out there, like Damian’s one of them and lots of other audio folks congregate around certain people or even certain bars or events. You end up meeting everybody in the space of a couple of hours and getting into some amazing conversations. For example, around a single table for lunch (a long lunch) I ended up meeting Martin Stig Andersen, Chris Rickwood, Michael Raphael, Chuck Russom, Matt Piersall, Bob Rice & Rob King, and that was just a random meet-up that kind of organically happened, and that kind of thing went on all week, it really feels too short. The talks at GDC have become way more interesting now too, there is a lot more diversity going on in the industry now.
Since embarking on my informal game sound study of footsteps and movement sound, things have continued to develop in a remarkable way. What started casually, quickly spiraled into a lengthy debate involving many people and uncovering some interesting patterns.
I recently reprised a presentation I gave at GDC this year at my local IGDA chapter in an attempt to share the findings of the initial study and continue the discussion with some of the new information gleaned in the meantime. If you missed it at GDC or are interested in some of the additional insights that came out, this presentation breaks down the fundamentals and unique considerations that emerge across a diverse cross section of game genre’s and uncovers some curiosities and aesthetic choices .
It may be not so surprising to have found people who feel passionate about the role footsteps play, but it’s no less fascinating to hear how deep people’s experiences go, and how willing they are to share their perspectives. What once seemed like a small part of game audio, has taken on a whole new light after being placed under the microscope. I’m thankful to everyone who has contributed to the conversation during the last year, and hope that by sharing these insights we can all move forward and give appropriate attention to movement sound in games.
Hit the IGDATC link for some additional related articles: IGDATC Video – Footstep and Movement Presentation