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Kevin Doran

How can I determine what sound is in demand?

8 posts in this topic

Hey GameDev, I'm fairly new to the world of sound design for games, and I was wondering where I should start?

I thought it would be a good idea, for practice sake, to record some generic sort of assets for people to use for free. Post in on a site like freesound.org or some such. I don't quite feel confident enough to commit to a project or team yet, so I just want to create some stuff and get response from people to see if I'm headed in the right direction. I just want to know, what assets should I create? Is there some website where they have an in demand bulletin board, or do I just go ahead and record the world around me and create sound effects at random?

Any help would be awesome.
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Thanks for the feedback, it means a gret deal to me. In response to your question "got degree? In college? Planning to get degree?" I am planning to and study in London later this year. I reside in South Africa where the game development scene is small, and very little attention is paid to the audio The thing is, I need a portfolio to apply, and that is partly why I have asked this question, as I'm not entirely sure where I should start and what I should include. I would also just like to start getting some of my stuff out there and start contributing to the game dev scene.
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Many would tell that creating a generic Sound Effects portfolio is a pain in the... I don't have one myself, just few random sounds to show what kind of quality devs should expect. It's not anything shiny or jaw-dropping, by no means professional, but before I managed to make one, I was lucky enough to get into few projects as a composer and I was offered to make SFX as well.

There are loads of simple beginner projects/games you can get into, that (even if fail to be released) would give you a good base or theme to create your first portfolio assets. The question is: What is the cause of you not feeling confident enough?

If you'd insist on creating raw assets, in my opinion general Foley is a must and the rest is (like Tom here wrote) whatever you or your desired clients aim for, stuff like Sci-Fi weapons, melodic cartoon sounds, or car engines.

I also wouldn't say that freesound is a good idea. If anything, I'd upload them to Royalty-Free marketplaces like [url="http://audiojungle.net?ref=StormwaveAudio"]AudioJungle[/url] as sets or single sound effects. You can start creating your 'brand' there, and if you are unsure about the quality, each file is carefully checked and priced by reviewers before being placed into marketplace. Usually a good feedback is given if the file doesn't meet the standards.

Edited by Stormwave Audio
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Nate makes some great points.

I totally agree about the payment thing, unless you work something out with a specific team or group. One great way to get going might be to contact some projects that are already in the works, and ask them to put you in touch with their audio guy. Ask him if he needs any help so he can get your feet wet. It'll be kind of like an internship, and he might be able to unload some of the easier work to you. This would give you some good practice in a real environment, without laying the weight of the world on you right as you begin. It also builds some networking opportunities between you and other designers, which can be your most important ones down the road.

And while doing sound to an existing clip is always a great way to practice, my portfolio admission to my school was a sound only piece, kind of like a radio play. Come up with a short story on your own, and produce it using only sound. It's a great tool to help your chops, as well as giving you something to show off that's totally yours. It's also a good way to hone your storytelling skills, which I think is one of the most important things a sound designer can possess.

Best of luck!
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[quote name='nsmadsen' timestamp='1327170184' post='4904886']
To practice the art of sound design I would begin creating sound design for video clips of video games and trailers. This creates useful practice materials and could give you some demo material that you could share with potential clients. Note: Be careful when working with copyrighted material however. Make it very clear that this is solely for practice/promotional reasons and that it isn't a part of the official project or product. Even with that - however - it's hard to know how companies will respond given the whole SOPA/PIPA drama and such. It might be best to only share the master audio track of the sounds you created publicly and only share the video/audio version privately.
[/quote]

I'd like to add few words on that.

I actually contacted some of the copyright owners to ask for permission on publishing their videos with changed audio some time ago, mostly trailers/game intros for top shelf titles. The answer in all cases was simply no. That was due to fact that any kind of such material was - at least in those cases - made by 3rd party companies, with exclusive copyrights for whoever owns the rights to distribute the game content.

Nevertheless, actually the best way I found was to record gameplay videos and swap audio within them, or just use anything that's under Creative Commons Attribution.
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Nate, very very wise words. There are so many composers working for free (usually just for fun, while they work on other things)..

But music can be a profession and you need to earn a living. This was really different ten years ago. Now things are very complicated.
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