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Public Domain Sound FX

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Does anyone know any good websites for getting public domain sounds effects for games? I've googled a few different things but haven't found anything great.

EDIT: I'm also open to websites offering quality game sound FX for very cheap.

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I certainly don't want to take over the topic one bit but i have a question on the subject that i've not been able to get completely clear.

If you download a public domain sound effect for example from freesound.org which is creative commons (public domain and creative commons... are different?) can you then use any of this material (in any modified or not form) for work which you will be paid for.

So could i download a sound effect of the sea and make my own sounds using that legally for paid game sound?

I think you can tell i'm a little confused - just need a little confirmation :)

But yes, freesound is good. Perhaps this will help: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Sound_samples i haven't actually looked through it but i think it has links to huge archives or stuff - could be very helpful or very unhelpful :)

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If you download a public domain sound effect for example from freesound.org which is creative commons (public domain and creative commons... are different?) can you then use any of this material (in any modified or not form) for work which you will be paid for.

So could i download a sound effect of the sea and make my own sounds using that legally for paid game sound?


It depends. "Public domain" means basically that nobody owns it (or rather, that the 'public' owns it), so yes, you can use it commercially. Not every government has a 'public domain'.

"Creative Commons" is a special (modern) set of a copyright licenses that a group of non-government people put together for artists to use, because they don't like the current state of the copyright system.
Essentially, Public Domain = No Copyright (fallen out of copyright, or deliberately released from copyright); A government recognized/created concept.
Creative Commons = built on top of the regular copyright system; a licensing system created by the Creative Commons non-profit organization.

Creative Commons you can only use commercially, if the specific creative commons license permits it. There is more than one license, so you have to check which object is covered by what license. Even if you do use it commercially, most CC licenses require you to 'attribute' credit to the original creator. Creative Commons uses kind-of a component-system to build your license, and the end result is there are 6 different primary licenses.

It's pretty simple and convenient, once you understand the main components:
- (By or 'Attribution') "Do I need to give credit to the creator?" (all of them require this by default)
- (NC or 'Non-commercial') "Am I banned from using it commercially?"
- (ND or 'No derivatives') "Am I banned from modifying/altering or creating derivative works?"
- (SA or 'Share alike') "If I can create derivative works, do I have to also license the work under a similar Creative Commons license?"

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I'm more of a composer, but I'd be willing to try out some sound design if you'd like. What kind of sounds are you looking for? I'm looking to gain exposure and you seem to be looking to avoid dealing with pesky copyright laws. In short, if you have sounds custom made for your game your worries go away. I'm happy because my name is on something, you're happy because your game sounds great, no? Just a thought, hit me up. email: advancedmusicsubstitute@gmail.com

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I'm more of a composer, but I'd be willing to try out some sound design if you'd like.[/quote]

I appreciate your enthusiasm. One word of advice, though. Never give your creative work away for free. Note that I didn't say "for little or no money." There are most definitely non-cash ways of getting paid. For example, you could barter a visible link on their web site, prominent credit in the game itself.
I'd also recommend that you ask for at least something cash-wise, even if just a token. To be honest, doing so makes you seem more credible than 'for free'. it also gives the person 'hiring' you a better feeling-- if you are getting paid, then they have some leverage over you and an expectation that you'll make it a priority. Otherwise, they'll think, "what happens if this guy doesn't give me stuff when he says he's going to?"
Another problem with 'for free' is what happens if you deliver something that's not quite what they want? Now they either go back to you and ask it to be re-done, or they have to get it somewhere else-- that's more effort than many are willing to risk. And what would you do if they said, "no, we need it to be more xxxxx" would you think, "Hey, you're getting it for free--take it or leave it?" or would you do another round? And if they'd like another set of re-dos? at some point do you get pi&&ed off and forget it?

I've been on the hiring end plenty of times. Someone wanting to do music or sound design "for free" almost always makes me give them a pass for those reasons among others.

So instead of "for free" do it for specifically enumerated non-cash items, made very clear in an email, and a small/token cash fee.

Brian Schmidt
Executive Director
GameSoundCon

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Brian's exactly right! Well put.

I like to use the "buying a TV" analogy. When I'm shopping for a TV I normally immediately skip the "off" brands or the cheapest models and I also don't go for the top of the line, cutting edge, super expensive models (mainly because I cannot afford them :P). Instead I look for a great middle of the road option that has the features I want with the brand and quality I know and trust.

Just saying that you're free doesn't really convey the value that you put in your own work and own self - even if you hold your work (and self) in high esteem! Instead it feels like a hand out - something which costs the buyer, or client, nothing and therefore they'll regard you in a different manner than someone who puts a tangible value on their work, talents and time. Something to consider.

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