I have been making games for 8 years now and have advanced from 2D to 3D after two years and I have always taken sound for granted, even leaving it for the last minute.
I have now started work on my first commercial grade game and found that all the sounds I use are either licensed or of poor quality, now I want to learn how to make my own, but there are things that I need to know first:
First off, why not consider hiring an audio guy to do this for you? Not sure what kind of budget you have or if this is something you want to do so you can say "all content created by me" but if you're just needing better sounds, hire some one!
1.) What free DAW has a easy to use user interface?
Easy is relative, especially since you're new to both audio production and DAWs. And you're wanting free and high quality. There are all kinds of trial or LE versions of programs out there. Depending on your computer (PC or Mac) give some of these a shot:
- Pro Tools
- FL Studio
There are many more. Just getting a DAW doesn't mean you'll have everything you need to create great sounds for the game. I often create sounds by blending synths with library sounds as well as foley sounds I've recorded myself. You'll also need a decent audio interface/card and this depends on your set up again (i.e. laptop vs. tower, etc).
I don't want to spend money on it if it turns out that I can't use it, and I already saw the one I want to buy in the 15 Good DAW's topic.
I hate to break it to you but it's rare that free and high quality go together. You get what you paid for... but I certainly understand your concern about buying something usable. This is why the trial demos, which nearly all (if not all) DAWs provide are so useful. My only concern is it can be hard to see what's usable when you're so new to audio, production, etc.
2.) What sound file format would be best for PC games?
It depends on the audio tech being used as well as the medium. Is this a Flash-based game? Something like Unity is amazing because you can use high fidelity assets and then select the specs to export them out to. It also depends on the function of the audio - one hit sound effects (which are usually short) or long(er), streaming audio files? Does it have to loop? Etc.
3.) What sound files are the largest per second and what sound files is the smallest.
Google audio formats to get into this because it's not just formats but also sampling rate and bit rate. Again, it really depends on the tech/engine being used and what your playing the game(s) on. Then it also depends on function of the audio assets (i.e. ambient files vs. music vs. one-hit sound effects, etc).
4.) Where can I find good basic tutorials that can be applied on most DAW's?
Instead of tutorials that cover most DAWs, try out a few trials and see which DAWs strike your fancy. Then google tutorials on those programs only. I highly suggest Youtube - it's a wealth of info. It's also helpful to note that some DAWs do better at certain genres or types of audio than others. For example Live and Reason are mostly used for electronic, hip hop and a few other styles. Can your write orchestral music with Reason? Yep, you sure can. I've done it. But other DAWs may lend themselves better to orchestral writing.
5.) Where can I find beginner,advanced and professional sound files to compare?
Not really sure. Besides, I'm not sure this will work for you because sound is subjective. What sounds good to you may not sound good to someone else. The better approach would be to find what sounds fit your game the best then playtest it a bunch to verify your target audience agrees with you. If not, change the game to make it score better.
6.) How long dose it take to become a professional?
Highly variable. They say it takes something like 10,000 hours to become an "expert" at something. But a professional is really someone who gets paid to do something, right? And most professionals, myself included, are constantly learning and striving to become better. It's not like one just arrives and stop progressing.
7.) Are there any good study's on how sound effects on players?
There are tons. Often times these are play tests within large® video game developers who study how audio impacts a player's emotions/body/etc. I remember Ed Lima's study about how Doom 3's audio would impact the player. The question is... if these studies/tests are published or not. I'd check postmortems for things like that.
8.) How much about DAW's can I learn in 60 hours spaced at 1 hour a day?
I really cannot answer. I don't know how quickly you learn. Again, as I said in the first paragraph, unless this is a personal goal it might be best to hire someone who's already done the studying and getting the right toolset together.
9.) What are the do's and don't do's of making sound for games?
Number one rule: Make it sound great. As to how to do that - there are many methods!
10.) Any thing I missed?
I will be grateful for any help, thanks.
Just remember to record foley you're going to need a good microphone as well as an audio interface. If you wish to record foley from outside your studio, you'll need a portable recording situation. Of course there are good libraries which can be a decent starting point. If you want to go the library route, or even a la carte method then check out:
There are many more websites and resources.
Edited by nsmadsen, 14 May 2013 - 07:10 AM.