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. )
[SFX Lab, the laboratory of sound effects, a place dedicated to experiment and explore sound libraries. The main goal is to hear what happens when sounds of a specific kind are combined, processed, and transformed in several ways.]
New chapter of the sfx lab, this time dedicated to explore high doses of resonance, with a quite special kind of sounds: bells and chimes.
These sounds are characterized because of their qualities regarding harmonics and detailed/subtle elements, so combining and processing them is always something interesting and very “musical”. I’m going to play with three different libraries, all of them full of elements that vary from the shortest and exotic, to pretty long recordings with beautiful/long resonant tails. The libraries used are the Bells and Animal Bells packages of Rabbit Ears Audio, plus the Chimes library Tim Prebble released at HISSandaROAR in the last year.
I’m going to do several quick experiments, trying to find different ways to process the recordings, and aiming to achieve different materials from the elements. There are so many things we can obtain from them, so as always we’re going to just experiment and listen. Remember this is not a tutorial or something to go into details regarding the tools. This series of articles are focused on listening to libraries and just playing with them.
We could use these elements to create a wide variety of sounds and layers which, alone or combined with other materials can generate sounds with a particular mood or emotional impact. Eerie atmospheres, nostalgic addons to the ambience, tension, mistery, wonderful drones! Resonant whooshes, magical powers and spells, extension elements for impacts, and lots of things more. They are also rich on tonalities, so the variations in resonance and dynamics can be very useful to give very musical touches to sounds and alter the timbre of designed sounds, in order to add more harmonics and details.
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.
A collection of blog posts, and a special edition of the Game Audio Podcast, have been coordinated by Damian Kastbauer and David Nichols on the dense subject of racing game audio. The remarkably in-depth studies (which feature video examples) rip apart audio techniques for the racing genre, investigating subjects such as tire squeals, surface types, camera perspectives, and of course, the sounds of the engines themselves.
From the Lost Chocolate Blog;
These informal game sound studies aim to expose the technical side of game audio by making an assessment of current generation titles. The assessment is then used as a way to better understand the differences in approach, aesthetics, and progression of techniques across a small sample. By turning the focus onto emerging details that arise during the course of the study we are able to identify area’s of significance and interest that help communicate the current state of the art. These finding are then represented in a content-rich report that includes: videos, article links, and specialized interviews. The goal is to help raise awareness for the technical side of sound design and help in the understanding of what is often not very well represented in current literature.
Check out the study in all it’s glory at the following links:
Vroom Vroom – A Study of Sound in Racing Games ( Introductory article in Game Developer Magazine )
TrackTime Audio blog – Racing Game Sound Study
Lost Chocolate Blog – Racing Game Sound Study
Game Audio Podcast – Racing Game Sound Study (with guests Mike Caviezel, Mike de Belle and Tim Bartlett)
GDC Vault has published the presentation materials from GDC 2012 online for free. There is a great wealth of information from a wide section of the game audio community, starting with Darren Korb‘s excellent keynote speech on his experience of creating the audio for Bastion in a New York closet. Thanks to Kenneth Young for tipping via the #gameaudio hashtag on Twitter!
All free Audio Track sessions are listed and linked below for your convenience;