Categories Menu

Posted by on Dec 13, 2012 | 0 comments

Rewind…Audio Implementation Greats #3: Crackdown – Realtime Worlds

In the run-up to this month’s reverb theme, former contributor Damian Kastbauer suggested we re-run this article he put together discussing the game Crackdown for XBOX. The article may be two years old, but the content remains undeniably relevant. Never one to ignore good suggestions, here we are…

Crackdown

One area that has been gaining ground since the early days of EAX on the PC platform, and more recently it’s omnipresence in audio middleware toolsets, is Reverb. With the ability to enhance the sounds playing back in the game with reverberant information from the surrounding space, you can effectively communicate to the player a truer approximation of “being there” and help to further immerse them in the game world. While we often take Reverb for granted in our everyday life as something that helps us position ourselves in a space (the cavernous echo of an airport, the openness of a forest), it is something that is continually giving us feedback on our surroundings, and thus a critical part of the way we experience the world.

Continue Reading >>

Read More

Posted by on Apr 14, 2010 | 1 comment

Audio Implementation Greats #7: Physics Audio [Part 2]

In Part One we took a look at some of the fundamentals involved with orchestrating the sounds of destruction. We continue with another physics system design presented at last years Austin Game Developers Conference and then take a brief look towards where these techniques may be headed.

Audio_Implementation_Greats_Physics_1

UNLEASH THE KRAKEN

In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed we were working with two physics middleware packages: Havok Physics, and Pixelux’s Digital Molecular Matter (DMM). In addition to the simulation data that each provided, we also needed to manage the relationship between both. While Havok has become a popular choice for runtime physics simulations, the use of DMM spoke to the core of materials and provided each object physical properties enabling – in addition to collision’s – physically modeled dynamic fractures and bending. In some ways tackling the sound for both systems was a monumental undertaking, but there was enough overlap to make the process more pleasure than pain.

Before Jumping into the fray, I just wanted to take a moment to echo a couple of things that were touched on in the companion this article; specifically, that collaboration and iteration are the cornerstones of a quality production when it comes to systems design. Collaboration, because the stakeholders involved usually include people across all disciplines; from programmers to sound designers, modelers to texture artists, build engineer’s to game designers. Iteration, because the initial vision is always a approximation at best and until things get moving, it’s difficult to know what the eventual shape things will take.

While simultaneously reigning in and letting loose the flow of creativity ebbing and flowing across the development team, there is nothing more important than the support of your colleges. Leveraging the specialties of different people helps to bring new idea’s to situations in need of a solution. Your greatest asset as a team member is to recognize and respect the uniqueness of your co-workers and stay open to the constantly shifting requirements of the game. Good listening and better communication will improve the productivity of meetings, and reinforce the fundamental desire of everyone – to craft the best player experience possible.

Read More

Posted by on Apr 1, 2010 | 1 comment

Audio Implementation Greats #6: Physics Audio [Part 1]

In part one of a two part series on physic sounds in games we’ll look at some of the fundamental considerations when designing a system to play back different types of physics sounds. With the help of Kate Nelson from Volition, we’ll dig deeper into the way Red Faction Guerrilla handed the needs of their GeoMod 2.0 destruction system and peek behind the curtain of their development process.

Physics_1

SYMPHONY OF DESTRUCTION

Physics, the simple pleasure of “matter and its motion through spacetime”.

In games we’ve reached the point where the granularity of our physics simulations are inching closer and closer towards a virtual model of reality. As we move away from the key-frame animated models of objects breaking, and the content swap of yesteryear, towards full scale visual destruction throughout our virtual worlds, we continue to increase the dynamic ability of objects to break, bend, and collide in relation to our experiences of the physical world around us.

“It is just inherently fun break things, and the bigger the thing is the more fun it is to break. It can be a stress relief or just give a feeling of power and control. We worked extremely hard to create a virtual sand box for the player to create and destroy as they see fit, we just hope it gives them the same pure joy they had as a small child kicking over a tower of blocks. “ Eric Arnold, Senior Developer at Volition (CBS news)

Read More

Posted by on Feb 10, 2010 | 5 comments

Audio Implementation Greats #3: Crackdown – Realtime Worlds

Crackdown

One area that has been gaining ground since the early days of EAX on the PC platform, and more recently it’s omnipresence in audio middleware toolsets, is Reverb. With the ability to enhance the sounds playing back in the game with reverberant information from the surrounding space, you can effectively communicate to the player a truer approximation of “being there” and help to further immerse them in the game world. While we often take Reverb for granted in our everyday life as something that helps us position ourselves in a space (the cavernous echo of an airport, the openness of a forest), it is something that is continually giving us feedback on our surroundings, and thus a critical part of the way we experience the world.

While It has become standard practice to enable Reverb within a single game level and apply a single preset algorithm to a subset of the sound mix. Many developers have taken this a step further and created Reverb regions that will call different Reverb presets based on the area the player is currently located. This allows the Reverb to change based on predetermined locations using predefined Reverb settings. Furthermore, these presets have been extended to area’s outside of the player region so that sounds coming from a different region can use the region and settings of the sounds origin in order to get their Reverberant information. Each of these scenarios is valid in an industry where you must carefully balance all of your resources, and where features must play to the strengths of your game design.

Read More