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!
Steinberg will preview Nuendo 7 at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco next week, and have announced a new feature, Game Audio Connect, that will provide instant and seamless connection to Audiokinetic’s Wwise middleware platform.
It will allow mixdowns to be exported to Wwise from Nuendo via a simple drag-and-drop operation, and it will also be possible to open the Nuendo project that corresponds to an exported section, directly from Wwise.
While we still don’t know when FMOD Studio will come out of beta, we do know when some tutorial videos by Stephan Schutze will be available (right now).
Currently there are 4 new videos on the FMOD Video Channel which cover Interface Introduction (above), Project Setup, Multitrack Introduction and Mixer Introduction. FMOD Studio is a whole different beast than Designer so I would recommend getting a leg-up on these videos.
FMOD Studio is still in beta but can be downloaded here for Windows and OS X.
There is a pretty cool interview up at Transuranic Design Works with Sims series Audio Director Robi Kauker. I am always interested to hear about how audio teams uses software like Max/MSP in their process. One answer that was very interesting to me was on the subject of middleware:
JF: What do you think of the middleware approach to solving problems?
Kauker: Middleware is like defining your orchestra. Here are your limits; this is what your middleware does. You picked it, now run with it. I think that middleware solutions are absolutely necessary. You as a small developer are never going to be able to develop a PS3 title, if you have to write all that code, debug and fix, all of those solutions. If you’re spending your cycles doing that…we don’t do that in EA. For Sims 3, I’m taking the best of what Spore offered audio-wise, and reapplying it to Sims 3, very little changes.
SimCity 4 took the best of what SimCity 3000 had to offer. Because it was five years old, they refactored it, made it better, made it smarter, and added a lot of really cool stuff to it, so they could do their game. It’s a continual cycle of growth. Actually The Sims 2 took from SimCity 4. So it’s a constant cycle of development. I don’t reinvent the wheel; I steal more tech from the Need for Speed team, or the ideas from Medal of Honor, or the Harry Potter recording chain, versus the Sims recording chain. They’re different tools, but the ideas are similar to each other.
I think the above is very good advice as well as insight into how middleware and implementation can, and in many cases, should be used.
I should also point out that: “This is an expanded version of an article originally published 4.13.09 on Gamasutra. You can read the original at: Planet of Sound: Talking Art, Noise, and Games with EA’s Robi Kauker.”
Audiokinetik has announced a new partnership with Audio Ease. Altiverb IR packages on Wwise.
Audiokinetic Inc. and Audio Ease B.V. announce a partnership where Audiokinetic will distribute award winning Altiverb Impulse Response packages for the Wwise convolution reverb plug-in. The first package will be available before the end of this year and will contain 49 impulse responses mostly oriented for the reproduction of outdoor environments. Reproducing outdoor environments is probably one of the most difficult tasks for sound designers today and this package arrives at the right moment for professionals seeking quality and realism in their games.
“At the design phase of our convolution reverb, we set a very challenging goal that we could have the best technology from the post-production world running in games, said Simon Ashby, VP Products at Audiokinetic. Given that our convolution reverb operates with high performance and that we proudly partner with Audio Ease, which is certainly the most respected player in this field, I think we can say that we have achieved our goal”.
“Convolution reverb approaches the real world so much better than synthetic reverb that it had no trouble taking over Hollywood film sound. I hope this set of movie post-pro Altiverb IR’s will help convolution reverb do the same in game sound, added Arjen van der Schoot, Co-owner of Audio Ease. We had been waiting for the right opportunity to start applying our IR’s in real time in games. When Audiokinetic came along, we did not hesitate. I believe we have chosen to partner with a company as devoted to impressive sounding audio as we are.”
Audiokinetik | Audio Ease