Richard Stevens and Dave Raybould have finished a new book the will be published by Focal Press. It’s called The Game Audio Tutorial, described as “a practical guide to sound and music for interactive games”. They’ve also launched a website where the readers will be allowed to enjoy some cool stuff, including a unique tutorial game level, twenty 10-minute tutorial videos, a library with hundreds of sound files and all kind of articles and resources. So great, huh?
This practical guide to Game Audio puts the means of production into the hands of Sound Designers, Composers, and Game Designers. If you want to be part of the future of Game Audio you need to learn how to produce Interactive Audio, not just one shot sound effects or music loops. Better use of Audio makes a better Game and it’s your job to make this happen. You can do this by talking, but you can do it better by showing. Get your hands dirty by seeing what you can do, and how far you can go, in a real Games Engine to demonstrate your ideas effectively. Each section of the book links to an area of the accompanying Game Level where you can experience the principles in action before getting stuck in yourself with over fifty practical exercises.
Chapter 1 : Basic training
Readers will be introduced to the chosen platform for demonstrating the principles within the book, Epic Games ‘Unreal Development Kit’ (available to all readers for free at http://www.udk.com/). They will learn about the importance of ambient sound in adding character and immersion to game environments. Via a number of simple tasks they will learn how to navigate the UDK interface and how to implement basic sound ambiences.
Chapter 2 : How big is the van ?
This chapter will deal with the issues of memory when developing audio for games. A number of solutions to non-repetitive design will be discussed, illustrated and accompanied by tasks to embed knowledge. These techniques and principles are particularly applicable to platforms where the memory is a significant restriction such as the NDS, PSP, iPhone or other mobile devices, but are also equally important for other consoles such as the Wii, XBox360 and PS3 albeit on a different scale.
Chapter 3 : Making it sound real
This chapter will deal with a number of acoustic principles, as applied in games, and their implementation. It also will discuss the need to create a realistic, consistent and believable sound world through the implementation of sounds to accompany the physical interaction of gameplay objects.
Chapter 4 : Making it sound good
This chapter will deal with the crucial issues of how sound can support gameplay and narrative not only through adding characterisation to objects and characters but by also being reactive to game events via the use of interactive mixing.
Chapter 5 : Music systems
This chapter will cover music implementation in games. It will deal with a number of different approaches going from simple crossfading systems to more generative techniques.
Chapter 6 : Dialogue
This chapter will begin by looking at some of the tragic history of dialogue in games and posit some reasons for these continuing crimes, before proposing some suggestions and techniques for improving things in the future.
Chapter 7 : Advanced Sound system design
This chapter deals with complex interactive systems for game sound design such as vehicle and weapon design. In this chapter we will dig beneath the usual user interface of the game development tool and look at some of the key concepts relating to the scripting and programming that go on under the hood.
Chapter 8 : Next steps
This chapter will look at career opportunities within the games industry. It will include interviews with industry practitioners, advice on the roles available within industry, and advice for creating an appropriate demo reel.
Appendix A :Sound FX design
This chapter will look at practical sound FX design for games. Taking the reader from basic recording principles to processing and digital audio manipulation for the creation of sound FX.
Appendix B: Sampling and resampling
This demonstrates the application of this important technique via a freely available audio editor package.
Appendix C: Loops and Looping
This demonstrates the application of this important technique via a freely available audio
Appendix D : Quickstart Page
This provides a summary of the key techniques for those readers who already have some familiarity with Game Design tools.
Appendix E : Keyboard Shortcuts.
This provides a useful reference for keyboard shortcuts.
Appendix F : Template levels
This appendix contains a description of the Template level included with the book that can form the basis for readers further experimentation.
Appendix G: Sound Library Contents
This appendix will outline the contents of the small sound library which accompanies the book.
Appendix H : Basic terms.
This covers the basic terms that the book will use for any readers unfamiliar with common computing terms.