With the rise in popularity of sound design, and game audio as a career choice among audio engineers, there is a growing call for formal training and education courses that will prepare prospective professionals accordingly. Last week, I posted this open call for students to enrol in the School of Video Game Audio. The co-founder of the School, Leonard J. Paul, has been kind enough to take some time and answer some questions on the school, and its content and goals.
Can you give us a little background about yourself, and the school?
I’ve been involved in video games off and on since 1994. I originally started out in programming but these days I work on composition, sound design and implementation for video games. I work a bit in film as well and was the composer the “The Corporation” which is the highest-grossing Canadian documentary film in history. For the past ten years I’ve been working on video game audio education while continuing to work in games. For the last few years I’m concentrated on working with indie titles such as Retro City Rampage and Vessel by Strange Loop Games.
The idea of the school has been around for a while from conversations Gordon and I were having a few years back. It seemed that there was a service missing for people that wanted some guidance on learning game audio but didn’t have the time to attend a school or didn’t have any schools available nearby. I enjoy giving lectures internationally and have repeatedly found that there is an amazing growth of the gaming industry around the world but it is often difficult for people to learn from veterans in the field. By making the school online and by trying to keep the costs reasonable it helps make our knowledge available to a large range of students that wouldn’t necessarily have the opportunity otherwise.
The first online school for learning how to create professional audio for video games has just announced that it is accepting applications for its first course from July to August 2012.
The application deadline of Friday June 29, 2012 is rapidly approaching and is limited to ten students, so make sure to have a look at the details on their application page at: http://School.VideoGameAudio.com/apply
- Learn how to make a professional demo reel in Audiokinetic’s Wwise and become more employable in the industry
- Work at your own pace through the course material with assistance from the instructor, Leonard J. Paul
- Course consists of videos, reading assignments, mini-projects and short tests that can be done at your own pace
- Suited for anyone with a strong audio background wishing to expand their knowledge and skills in the game audio industry
- 8 weeks of instructional materials at 10+ hours per week for $225 CAD which includes the $25 application fee
- No additional costs to purchase required books or other materials
- One top project from each class will chosen to receive 50% off the cost of the course and will be featured on the site
“It’s the first really solid and accessible game audio learning solution to be available worldwide, which will help any and everyone who wish to express themselves through this discipline.” – Francisco, student involved in the beta of the course
UK games industry website Develop-Online has posted a series of special articles and interviews with various members of the audio production community on game audio. This Audio Special discusses a broad range of subjects such as voice production and localisation, audio implementation, generative audio, sound libraries and the importance of setting and maintaining standards throughout production, with guests including PitStop’s production director Nadeem Daya, Side Productions‘ Sini Downing, sound designer Stephan Shutze, royalty-free sound and music library vendor Soundrangers, former Bioware Audio director Simon Pressey and members the Mass Effect 2 sound team, and Jan Werkmeister of audio, localisation and QA services studio Synthesis International.
All these articles are linked below;
Develop Audio Special: Setting Standards (Nadeem Daya of PitStop Productions)
Develop Audio Special: Expressions In Sound ( Wave, Cubic Motion)
Develop Audio Special: Managing a Monster ( Sini Downing of Side)
Develop Audio Special: The Generation Game (Stephan Shutze)
Develop Audio Special: Noise In The Library (Soundrangers)
Develop Audio Special: Wwise Words (With Simon Pressey, Jack Wall and Brian DiDomenico )
Develop Audio Special: The Sound of Localisation ( Jan Werkmeister of Synthesis Intl. )
IGN have posted an article on game audio, focusing discussion on Max Payne 3 and Forza Motorsport 4. Various members of Rockstar‘s audio teams are interviewed ( Nick Warseck, audio lead at Rockstar New England and Steve Donohoe, lead audio designer at Rockstar Toronto ) , along with Nick Wiswell and Adam Wilson of Turn 10. An excerpt of the article is below
Max Payne 3 is an incredible example of audio done right. For such an atmospheric game, packed with ballistic sounds and iconic music cues and steeped in noir tropes like Max’s regular narration, the audio in Max Payne 3 was obviously a hugely important part of the equation.
The team initially spent extensive time playing the original Max Payne, and Max Payne 2, as they wanted to keep the spirit of these games intact while adding a modern layer of quality.
“We wrote notes on the things we felt they did really well, and the things that we felt were iconic sounds that we would like to expand upon and bring over to the new game,” says Steve Donohoe, lead audio designer at Rockstar Toronto. “Those early games were quite groundbreaking in their cinematic approach, had excellent sound design and had a very unique style to them, so we had a really great starting point.”
Read the full article over at IGN
Andrew Quinn, sound designer at Splash Damage, was kind enough to speak to Designing Sound about his work on the recently announced mobile strategy title RAD Soldiers on the new social label WarChest. The music for the game was produced by Marc Canham of Nimrod Productions.
DS: Can you tell us a little about how you got into game audio, and your audio career so far?
AQ: I always had an interest in sound and music. In my youth I played guitar in local bands, recorded music with friend’s bands and generally made a racket. This messing with sound and music led to me studying a BSc in Creative Music and Sound Technology at Leeds Metropolitan University. During the course I got a chance to delve into post-production and more importantly game audio in the third year and I really enjoyed it. I stayed on another year at Leeds to do an MSc in Sound and Music for Interactive Games under the expert tutelage of Richard Stevens and David Raybould.