Producing Game Audio

In Listening to the Game – A Brief History of Game Audio we briefly considered the history of in-game audio. In this post, I’d like to look at how audio design and production fits in to the game development process.

The following two articles from the IGDA Casual Games Quarterly were written by a game and interactive media audio designer in a company that handles outsourced audio design requirements (Somatone interactive audio). The articles are intended to help other members of a game development team understand what’s involved in audio design, and tell them what they need to know in order to have sensible – and hopefully productive – conversations with their audio developers…

Based on a reading of Improving Communication with Your Sound Designer, Part 1, or otherwise:

  • what is the role of a sound designer in a game design team, compared to a composer? Does this view differ in the games industry compared to other creative industries?
  • what tools is the sound designer likely to use to in the audio production process?
  • what are the differences between composers and sound designers in an interactive media production team? At one points are the involved in the game design process? (If you put together your own game development process diagram having read The Process of Game Creation & the Game Design Document, modify your diagram if necessary to include the roles of sound designer and composer?
  • what properties of the audio signal are dealt with when the audio is “mixed”?

The second article addresses the concepts involved in audio design at a more technical level. If you are particularly interested in audio design, it’s worth reading… but for the purposes of Digital Worlds, I think it’s a little too involved for now!

Knowing what you know about the game design process, you might expect there to be a part of the game design document dedicated to audio design. Read the first part of Design With Music In Mind: A Guide to Adaptive Audio for Game Designers. What are the key questions that must be addressed by the ‘music design’ for a game? As well as music design, what other elements of audio design need to be addressed by a complete audio design statement? (You may find the first part of Finishing the Maze – Adding Background Music, as well as the comments, relevant here.)

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