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Posted by on Sep 19, 2013 | 0 comments

Interview: Rob Bridgett and Game Audio Culture

Rob Bridgett is no stranger to us here at Designing Sound. Constantly writing and engaging in community discussion; Rob has put out a new book called “Game Audio Culture“. Here are some questions Damian Kastbauer and I put together for Rob.


Can you tell the few Designing Sound readers who don’t know who you are a bit about your background in sound design, game development and book authoring?

Hi, i’m an audio director based in Canada. I’ve been lucky enough to work on audio for games for around 14 years. I’ve never really thought about it until you asked me this question but writing is a really important part of the audio design process for me. It helps me to understand/document what just happened and what will happen next, so i’ve been doing that for almost as long as I have been working.


What is your new book about?  Why did you decide to do it?

Overall, the general umbrella of the book is about how sound designers work collaboratively, but also how fundamental collaboration is to sound design. It deals with areas where sound still needs to get under the skin of design and production and some of the opportunities i’ve seen over the years that are available to do this. It feels like we are at a tipping point in terms of how the industry as a whole approaches sound, there are a lot of changes happening both in terms of how we think about and where we work with sound, and even what is considered as ‘sound work’. The book is written from my own perspective as a sound designer / audio director – and as someone who has seen both A3 and indie/mobile development and sometimes how segregated the disciplines can become – there are so many exciting opportunities right now to re-invent the way games are made – sound collaboration is right there at the centre of some amazing new innovative game experiences – Honestly, and this is the reason I wanted to write this book, I am more excited right now than I ever have been about the industry. We’ve been through a lot of changes over the last few years, and with a multi-discipline approach it feels like those changes and innovations are just the beginning – the capacity for change and innovation seem like the only constants. A lot of people have been saying this for a while, but now you can really see it happening!

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Posted by on Aug 1, 2013 | 4 comments

Acoustic Dirt

photo 4

Guest Contribution by Rob Bridgett who is (probably) the most Easterly Audio Director in North America. 47º 34′ N, 52º 41′ W. Since June, 2000 he has worked as a video game developer. 



There are a lot of problems in the modern world with noise, and it is interesting the effect that the aesthetic of noise has had on media such as film, game, radio & TV production. It has effected the way we tell stories and convey experiences that relate back to, and resonate with an audience about the noisy reality of our world. As August is Designing Sound’s Noise month, I thought I’d take a shot at throwing some ideas around about our relationship with noise. It is a relationship that is not quite so easily definable or resolvable, but rather an essential, ever-present textural element.

The Miriam Webster Dictionary says of noise …

a : sound; especially : one that lacks agreeable musical quality or is noticeably unpleasant

b : any sound that is undesired or interferes with one’s hearing of something

c : an unwanted signal or a disturbance (as static or a variation of voltage) in an electronic device or instrument (as radio or television); broadly : a disturbance interfering with the operation of a usually mechanical device or system

d : electromagnetic radiation (as light or radio waves) that is composed of several frequencies and that involves random changes in frequency or amplitude

e : irrelevant or meaningless data or output occurring along with desired information

For a while now I’ve been curious if there was a way of thinking about noise differently, a way that would allow us to think of it not as an undesirable artifact (definitions b and c), but instead as a technique or process that was not only desirable, but in some cases absolutely necessary. Can we perhaps start thinking of ‘noise’ as a desirable, and deliberately added impurity, whether in a sound signal, or perhaps even in the introduction of imperfections to ‘dirty up’ an otherwise pristine sound or idea (definition e comes closer to this), and in this way to re-think of NOISE as a useful creative term, rather than something technical and engineering-related.

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Posted by on Jun 11, 2013 | 0 comments

Mixing it up on


Photo (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) jpmath

We are just under two weeks into Dynamics Month here at DS and I think a fantastic site that has been dealing with this concept is Founded by the sagacious Rob Bridgett; this simple Tumblr blog has some excellent info about some of the most crucial aspects of game audio design. Some of the most recent posts include; overview of iZotope’s Insight (which we will have out a review of ourselves very soon), a few articles about Wwise’s new HDR feature and even a link to the superb GDC talk about “Game Loudness Industry Standards” which I had the pleasure of seeing with my own eyeballs.

Rob has even put up a article called: “Dynamic Range: The Symptom at the End of the Chain” that ties into our Dynamics Month and you can check out here.

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Posted by on Feb 28, 2013 | 0 comments

Thank You to our February Contributors!

The month is wrapping up, and tomorrow we start a new featured topic. It’s that time, once again, to thank all of the wonderful people who contributed guest articles and participated in interviews with us here on the site.

Thanks again, one and all.

Remember that we are always open to guest contributions, both on and off topic. If you have something you’d like to share with the community, contact shaun [at] designingsound [dot] org. Tomorrow begins a focus on the intersection of sound design and music.

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Posted by on Feb 28, 2013 | 1 comment

Loudness In Game Audio

Finishing up Loudness Month here at Designing Sound I asked the good folks at Audiokinetic (makers of Wwise), Firelight Technologies (makers of FMOD) and G.A.N.G. IESD about what is happening in game audio in regards to loudness metering.

From the G.A.N.G. IESD Committee:

“Loudness and monitoring levels have been very high on the IESD’s agenda since the the organization was formed. We see independently produced recommendation documents of this nature as essential for everyone in the industry, from bigger developers to indie studios and, of course, students, or those new to the field of interactive sound.

We had previously, and quickly, worked on a version 1.0 document, which is available on the discussion boards within the GANG IESD website. The focus of this early work was on establishing listening levels (establishing the 79dB home entertainment levels, rather than 85dB theatrical levels, which some developers had been mixing to), and offering a checklist and advice on the more commonly made mixing pitfalls. When Garry Taylor and his group at Sony approached the IESD last year with his Sony paper on loudness levels, we were all on-board very quickly and knew that this was something big. The co-chairs (Kenny Young, Scott Selfon, Alex Brandon and myself) quickly assembled a sub-committe of leading game sound mixing experts (made up of major studio/publisher, and independent contributors) to look at the Sony recommendations and to consider adopting them on a wider level. We soon discovered that Microsoft and Nintendo were also in-line with recommending these same levels and measurement techniques for their first party titles. This made it pretty straightforward to create and agree upon a supporting IESD recommendation document that could confidently suggest numbers for all current-gen home entertainment consoles.

The version 2.0 document, which is intended to be solidified and released in time for GDC this year, adjusts the 79dB monitoring levels to accommodate the ATSC A/85 document, suggesting changes to monitoring levels based on volumetric measurements of the monitoring environment. The loudness recommendations themselves are absolutely in-step with the Sony document in adopting the ITU-R 1770-3 algorithms for measuring loudness over a minimum of 30 minutes of representative gameplay (-23 LUFS, tolerance of +-2dB). True Peak not north of -1dBFS (DB below a full-scale sample).

The next step for the group is to publish a 2.1 version of the document that recommends numbers on iOS and Android devices as well as web browser, though again, the group at Sony has already done some great work in this direction with their -18 LUFS recommendation for the Sony Vita.

The IESD co-chairs are: Kenneth Young, Scott Selfon, Rob Bridgett & Alexander Brandon

The IESD committee consists of Lin Gardiner, Damian Kastbauer, Gordon Durity (EA), Garry Taylor (Sony), Scott Petersen (Nintendo), Tom Hays (Technicolor) and Kristofor Mellroth (Microsoft)”

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