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What do I need to know about sound


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#1 Scouting Ninja   Members   -  Reputation: 778

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 01:24 PM

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:

 

1.) What free DAW has a easy to use user interface?

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.

2.) What sound file format would be best for PC games?

3.) What sound files are the largest per second and what sound files is the smallest.

4.) Where can I find good basic tutorials that can be applied on most DAW's?

5.) Where can I find beginner,advanced and professional sound files to compare?

6.) How long dose it take to become a professional?

7.) Are there any good study's on how sound effects on players?

8.) How much about DAW's can I learn in 60 hours spaced at 1 hour a day?

 

9.) What are the do's and don't do's of making sound for games?

10.) Any thing I missed?

 

I will be grateful for any help, thanks.



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#2 oceanicnoiseworks   Members   -  Reputation: 192

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 07:35 PM

1. I haven't used it, but I've heard very good things about Reaper. It's free, so you might as well give it a try if you're interested.

2. It all depends on your ram allocation. Most people use wavs only for music and dialogue and mp3's of some other supported lossy format for everything else.

3. The largest sound files are usually atmos, music and dialogue; shortest, sound effects and wild foley. It all depends, though. Audio for cutscenes tends to have much bigger files, though.

4. Sound on Sound (http://www.soundonsound.com/), Designing Sound (http://designingsound.org/) and Audio Tuts (http://audio.tutsplus.com/) have very good tutorials that cover everything from DAW's and recording techniques to sound design.



#3 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4352

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 09:51 PM

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

- Logic

- Sonar

- Reaper

- FL Studio

- Vegas

- Reason

- Cubase

 

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. smile.png

 

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: 

 

http://www.sound-ideas.com

http://www.sounddogs.com/

http://www.sounddogs.com/ 

 

There are many more websites and resources. 


Edited by nsmadsen, 14 May 2013 - 07:10 AM.

Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#4 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4352

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 09:52 PM

1. I haven't used it, but I've heard very good things about Reaper. It's free, so you might as well give it a try if you're interested.

 

Just FYI: Reaper is not free. 


Edited by nsmadsen, 13 May 2013 - 09:52 PM.

Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#5 Scouting Ninja   Members   -  Reputation: 778

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 08:54 AM

4. Sound on Sound (http://www.soundonsound.com/), Designing Sound (http://designingsound.org/) and Audio Tuts (http://audio.tutsplus.com/) have very good tutorials that cover everything from DAW's and recording techniques to sound design.
Thanks for these thy are exactly what I was looking for.
 

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.
I should have known from the start, after all sound is a art form.

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.
I received a good microphone as a gift from my parents who clearly don't know what a 3D artist is, it was the reason I decided to attempt to make the sound myself.

why not consider hiring an audio guy to do this for you?
In the end I will have to, for now I will continue to learn more about sound, mainly because I feel that I must at least understand what each team member is doing.
At the moment I don't have any space on the budget, most of the money went to pay for the software, but maybe when I no longer need reverence images I will be able to hire some one.
 
Thanks nsmadsen, for answering all my questions.


#6 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4352

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 11:45 AM

 

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.
 
I received a good microphone as a gift from my parents who clearly don't know what a 3D artist is, it was the reason I decided to attempt to make the sound myself.
 
Hahaha, classic! :P Best of luck!

Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#7 bschmidt1962   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1879

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 09:50 AM

I have now started work on my first commercial grade game

 

Um... If you are going to make a"commercial grade game", why are you going to use a complete amateur (you smile.png) to do the sound?

Nathan gave you a quite spectacular and comprehensive  answer.  

 

I'll also share some experience...  I'm about to release an iPhone/iPad game that I designed and built.  Now--I'm a sound/music person, but I needed some art.  Not a lot, since it's a "video game" that's really an "audio game", but I needed logos, menu buttons, etc.  So I got myself Adobe CS5.5 and figured "hey, how hard could it be to make some decent looking logos artwork for my game?"  Afterall, all those cool photoshop effects for 3D, shading, fonts, texturing, etc make it easy, right?   

Turns out that, dang--it's hard to make decent looking art, even with fully professional tools for what I figured to be very simple things.

I also found myself spending a lot of time trying to figure out how to fairly basic things in Photoshop, that an experienced person would be able to do in a few minutes.

 

In the end I hired a pro to do some basic templates and conceptual ideas.  Then about all I did was modify them as I developed the game (eg changing the text on the buttons, as well as doing taking other pieces they'd done and putting them into backgrounds, etc.).  I did learn a lot along the way, which was one of my goals (and I like being semi-proficient at Photoshop now).  

 

Bottom line is that I realized that although I could definitely do some art, for any but the most basic things, it was far better to have an actual artist do it.  Because even though I got to learn the tools decently well, what I don't have is an artists eye or an artists visual creativity.  And I'll never have those, no matter how many Photoshop tutorials I watch on Youtube...

 

mainly because I feel that I must at least understand what each team member is doing.

 

Gotta say it.  I LOVE that!  I wish every game developer thought that smile.png


Edited by bschmidt1962, 15 May 2013 - 02:03 PM.

Brian Schmidt

Executive Director, GameSoundCon:

GameSoundCon 2014:October 7-8, Los Angeles, CA

 

Founder, EarGames

Founder, Brian Schmidt Studios, LLC

Music Composition & Sound Design

Audio Technology Consultant


#8 Olliepm   Members   -  Reputation: 260

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 01:05 PM

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:

 

Indeed there are!  I'll just be building off of other replies;

 

 If you do follow through with your intentions, you should probably get Reaper.  I've never used it, but it costs at least four times less than any other DAW, and I've been told, has just as much functionality.  Every DAW has it's own unique selling point, and workflow, but whichever you choose to learn first will have a mother of a learning curve, regardless. (For example, Pro tools and Reason have completely different ways of setting up aux sends, but this wouldn't concern you yet, if you don't know what aux sends actually are.)   

 

Most DAWs being mentioned here are more orientated towards music production, rather than sound design.  It's perfectly possible to them  for both, but If I were you, I would work with music first.  This will allow you to learn many concepts and techniques at once.  60 hours just isn't enough to give you great results, but it's definitely enough to give you a feel for the sector, and maybe even spark a passion that will have you spending many more years.  There is no point in starting what you can't finish, but if you can create a great game with great audio all by yourself, you'll be setting the bar higher for all of us!

 

It has been said already that youtube is chalk full of tutorials, but there is no particular one to start with.  If I were you, I would research what a mixing console is used for, and how it works, because essentially you'll be using a DAW as a virtual mixing console.  If you don't otherwise come across these, also have a basic read on compression, EQ, and reverb.  

 

Good luck!


My sound design: (Under construction!)

My music: https://soundcloud.com/echo-gecko

Contactolliepm@googlemail.com


#9 Scouting Ninja   Members   -  Reputation: 778

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 02:04 PM

Um... If you are going to make a"commercial grade game", why are you going to use a complete amateur (you ) to do the sound?

In truth, I did under underestimate the effort that goes into making sound.

I first thought that all I would have to do was record some sounds and use them in the place of the ones I was already using, in the end the sounds I was recording was worse than even the poor quality sounds I was using before.

you should probably get Reaper.  I've never used it, but it costs at least four times less than any other DAW

Reaper is at the top of my list, but first I will budget my money to hiring a sound artist.

 

Reason have completely different ways of setting up aux sends, but this wouldn't concern you yet, if you don't know what aux sends actually are.

Thanks for this, I now know what aux sends are.

60 hours just isn't enough to give you great results, but it's definitely enough to give you a feel for the sector

I will probably spend more time on it now, I find working with sound relaxing and it is effective at driving annoying people away.



#10 Olliepm   Members   -  Reputation: 260

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 05:23 AM

Thanks for this, I now know what aux sends are.

 

Good!  This was an 'off the top' example of general audio production knowledge.  Your DAW will be your primary tool, but it's the knowledge you have that will determine what you will be able to do with that tool.  Download the demo for Reason and open a demo song, because Reason is slightly special; It allows you to have all of your effects routed in any way that you'd like, like  real life hardware.  If you open a demo song and press 'Tab' key, you will flip your rack to reveal a load of virtual cables running between virtual devices.  These cables show the signal flow from the source of the sound to it's final output, and you'll probably take a lot in, and develop questions, just from looking at it.  Best of luck :) 


My sound design: (Under construction!)

My music: https://soundcloud.com/echo-gecko

Contactolliepm@googlemail.com





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