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Game Development Dictionary


Audio


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  Term Name Description

Delay

An effect where the original signal is repeated after a short interval.

Digital Modelling Amplifier

An amplifier that emulates the characteristics of other amplifiers, allowing for near authentic tone with much more versatility and a vastly lower price.

Digital Synthesizer

Synthesizers where sound is generated much like it is with analog synthesizers, though all processing and filtering is done digitally. Usually capable of much more realistic reproduction of natural instruments, though this is not always desirable. A common complaint is that digital synthesizers sound colder than their analog counterparts.

DIN

A round connector with a number of pins. MIDI connectors are 5-pin DIN connectors.

Distortion

Any alteration of a signal -- can be desirable, with controlled distortion through effects boxes, overdrive, etc., or unwanted, such as with noticable distortion in hi-fi equipment caused by poor components.

DLS

Downloadable Sounds. A standard that encorporates custom samples into MIDI sequences. DLS samples are distributed in conjunction with a SMF and are played back as part of the sequence. DLS ensures that a sequence played back on one system sounds the same as the original.

Drum Machine

A device that simulates percussion patterns. Used often when band members are short, for practice (to lay down a beat to use as reference), or in certain musical genres (hip hop, house).

Echo

An effect where the original signal is repeated after a small delay.

Effect Box

A type of unit that alters the signal in a wide variety of manners.

Envelope

A representation of the dynamics of a single note.

Envelope Generator

In synthesizers, a device that produces a volume envelope. Some common types are ADSR and AR generators.

Equalization

The manual shaping of various frequency ranges.

Filter

A component that attenuates certain frequency ranges. Various filters have different volume reduction slopes; the most common being 12 decibels per octave.

Frequency Modulation

When a signal's frequency is altered by another signal's.

Fuzz

A type of distortion that intentionally adds noise to the signal.

Gain

Boosting the power of a signal.

MIDI

Musical Instrument Digital Interface. The interface between different sound hardware and software to pass on musicial information.

MOD

MOD is a trackerbased music format well used and spread on bbs.

MP3

The MPEG-3 format. An audio format with CD quality music. It is usually created by converting a WAV file to the format via an MP3 Converter.

MP3

a format for audio compression, MP3 uses psychoacoustics to eliminate/reduce redundancy.

Noise Gate

The noise gate is a piece of studio equipment used to control the volume of an audio signal. The original intended purpose of this is to clean up unwanted noise from a recording, but some nice effects can also be achieved using a noise gate. Used simply, the noise gate only allows an audio signal above a certain threshold to play. This can be used to clean up unwanted noise by setting the threshold above the level of the noise. A typical use of the noise gate as an audio effect is to have it controlled by an additional track - for example, a beat supplied by a drum machine. In this case, the gate can be applied over the top of an audio track such as a synth pad, or perhaps vocal 'oohs'. By 'opening' and 'closing' the gate based on the rhythm supplied by another track (which may or may not be audible itself), the track in question is effectively cut up into a nice rythm. This is often used in electronic music, especially Trance. Software noise gates are also available.

OGG

A compressed file format, similar to mp3. Features slightly better quality at the same compression rate. See http://www.vorbis.com for library and sources. Free, open source. Very liberal license. Can be used commercially without paying royalties.

OpenAL

OpenAL is a cross-platform 3D audio API appropriate for use with gaming applications and many other types of audio applications. Visit site for more information.

Pre-Amp

A pre-amp is the first device in a gain structure. It is used to bring a relatively weak microphone signal up to line level. It is often found at the top of a mixing console or as a dedicated outboard device. In the mixing console, the amount of signal gain is determined by a "gain" or "trim" knob.

Quantization

A repercussion of an insufficient bit depth used to represent the amplitude of a signal. Quantization may create frequencies that do not exist in the original signal. This is, however, occasionally used as a desirable effect.


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