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Found 30 results

  1. Hi guys! I've been producing quite some time now, and lately I've been very interested in videogame soundtracks and decided to give it a go myself. It's a bit retro-ish and very uplifting. I think it would go well in a very action-packed game. https://soundcloud.com/iiikeda/crash Let me know what you think!
  2. Last month Survios (the studio behind Raw Data and Creed: Rise to Glory) released the naval combat VR game, Battlewake on PlayStation VR, SteamVR, Oculus Home and Viveport. Since the early summer announcement fans have been anticipating the title, and after reading a lot of the reviews Survios did not disappoint. Battlewake turns players into “super-powered pirate lords embarking on a larger-than-life nautical war for the ages”. Players control an upgradeable warship armed with a collection of thirteen different ship-based weapons inspired by real and imagined naval battles including flak cannons, ballistae, and axe throwers. Each of the four playable pirate lords also has their own ancient magic to drawn from to unleash special and ultimate attacks like tsunamis, maelstroms, and kraken. The game’s score by composer Jeremy Nathan Tisser is also worth mentioning, as it does a great job of heightening the player’s high seas experience. In the below exclusive interview, Nathan discusses his process for scoring the game. A lot of reviewers are saying the multiplayer version of Battlewake is where the game really shines. How does the score change when there are multiple players? I would say the biggest difference between multiplayer and story mode is interactivity. When you’re playing in story mode, you want the story to grow and evolve with the player. Whereas in a multiplayer setting, you’re basically just battling it out with a bunch of different people, so the music doesn’t need to shift or evolve quite as much. What was your inspiration for the Battlewake score? I pulled inspiration from a myriad of different musical stylings and culture. Primarily, however, I drew on my backgrounds in heavy metal as well as traditional orchestration. We wanted a big “larger than life” style orchestral score, like you’d get in a pirate film, but we wanted it to be exciting and unique. We decided that a heavy metal twist on an orchestral pirate score was the right vibe for the game. We also looked at different cultures from around the world, and how they interpret music, be it through instrumentation, through rhythm, etc. So we used a wide variety of ethnic percussion instruments, including the African talking drum, Japanese taikos, Djun Djun, congas, various shakers, and much more. We also hired an anthropologist, with whom I also study Kung Fu, to act as a cultural consultant. We wanted to add an element that portrays some of the Voodoo cultures of Haiti. As it turns out, there’s almost no written information on the Voodoo and Vodou cultures, because to have any information in the hands of those wishing to cause harm to others could in fact be catastrophic to not just the intended target, but to innocent bystanders as well. So we found a couple of war chants that would be used for the purpose of intimidation instead, and incorporated those in the form of chants over the orchestra. Take a listen to the track “Jade and Steel” on the soundtrack when it comes out later this month! Were there any obstacles you had to overcome, musically, while working on this game? The biggest challenge of this game came down to how early I was brought in. I began writing music for Battlewake in December of 2017, when all that was available to me was a basic demo of the gameplay mechanics, a well-developed backstory, and a series of concept art for the various environments. Nothing was set in stone yet, and the storyline of the game itself was unknown. I had some ideas in my head, but it really took me about 8 more months to nail it down. The game itself had also grown and evolved, and was constantly changing form throughout that time, and that kept changing how the music would function within the game. Is there a type of game you haven’t scored yet that you would like to? I would honestly love to score a Star Trek game or a Doctor Who game. Or perhaps even a World War 2 style game. Something where I can get a little more nostalgic, and maybe write something beautiful, yet still maintain some sort of edginess to it. Personally, I just love the idea of storytelling, and I try to make that come through in my music for games as well, as opposed to just writing basic loops or standard “epic” music. There are four Pirate Lords in the game. Which was your favorite one to score? With Battlewake, I actually ended up scoring the 4 different environment types rather than the characters. The reason for this goes back to how early I was brought in. The story wasn’t set in stone just yet, but they still needed music. If you have a chance to play it, you’ll see how integral the music is to the “fun” experience of it. That being said, I absolutely loved scoring the arctic environments and the volcanic environments. I’ve been dying to write a big ol’ heavy metal polyrhythm into one of my scores, and Battlewake allowed the opportunity for me! The arctic level was more of my opportunity to write something that sort of follows a “song form”, so it feels like a track that could really be performed in a major concert environment. But it’s also just super fun to listen to and blow things up to! Do you have a favorite sequence in Battlewake? Personally, I really love when you get to release the Kraken! How many times have you watched Pirates of the Caribbean and thought “man, I’d love to get to say ‘Release the Kraken!’ in a video game…”? Well, now you can! And it is SUPER satisfying. How much music did you create for this game? Are you going to be releasing the game’s score? I wrote around 45 minutes of music or so, but it’s all layered and stemmed and divided into loops, so it can be turned into a few hours worth of music. As for the soundtrack, Notefornote Music has is putting out the soundtrack very soon! It’ll be available on all digital platforms around early-mid October, and then a few weeks later it will be available on a limited-edition CD print! There also may or may not be one additional release, so keep an eye out on my twitter page for that (@jeremytisser). Are you a gamer yourself? If so, what are some of your favorite games to play? I’m actually not much of a gamer. Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to have a Playstation or any of those like my friends, so I grew up playing games like NHL 97, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, Sonic the Hedgehog, and more on Sega Genesis, Nintendo 64, and then Gamecube. Every time I’d go to a friend’s house to play Mortal Kombat on Playstation, I’d just get whooped because they were playing every day, and I couldn’t. So I never got excited about games. However, I was ALWAYS big into VR. I used to get so fascinated by those big VR machines you’d see in the arcades, or in Las Vegas. And I always loved seeing those 3D IMAX films at the museums. When I got to graduate school in 2011 at USC, I had the opportunity to work on some really cool and advanced VR projects, so that’s what really sparked my passion. All that to say… Mike Tyson Boxing, Crazy Taxi, and Tony Hawk Pro Skater rule!
  3. Hi there ! Today I would like to share the preview for my huuuuuge "Outdoor Atmospheres SFX Pack", soon available in the Untity Asset Store and the Unreal Market place: Don't forget to check out my website and subscribe to my newsletter to get some really cool free sounds all along the year: www.ogsoundfx.com And also check out my Patreon page and see all the goodies you could get all the while helping me out: https://www.patreon.com/ogsoundfx
  4. Here's my latest Studio Ghibli-esque track. If anyones interested, there's a short score in the youtube description!
  5. Joshua Connor

    Composer looking for work

    Bachelor in music graduate looking to work on some cool projects. I can write chiptune, orchestral, synth stuff, or more minimalist stuff. I recently released a chiptune EP, and have plenty of orchestral stuff I've written, both to picture and standalone. Most of my music can be seen in my soundcloud, and on my site you can see what I've written to picture before, you can also contact me through my website. https://joshuaconnormusic.com/page/
  6. 'Black Project - Mysterious Cinematic Samples' from Bluezone delivers a wide range of experimental ambiences, intriguing drones, dark stylized sound effects, disturbing impacts and unreal textures. This enigmatic sound effect library (1.23GB / 99 WAV files in 24 bit 96 kHz) was created from hardware synthesizers and field recordings, then processed to give you complex, hyper-detailed and ready-to-use cinematic / trailer sounds. A large variety of unexplained sounds to create your own sequences: Sounds include background ambiences, strange and quiet atmospheres, deep and tenebrous drones, tortured metal sounds, impulsive impacts and spooky textures. 'Black Project - Mysterious Cinematic Samples' is the perfect choice for modern music compositions, movie scores, trailers, video games, commercials, documentaries, advertising and background music. Reference : BC0262 Delivery : Download link Download size : 1119 MB Extracted size : 1123 MB Format : WAV Resolution : 24 Bit / 96 kHz Channel : Stereo License : Royalty free Total files : 118 Total samples : 99 WAV More info and download: Black Project - Mysterious Cinematic Samples
  7. 'Black Project - Mysterious Cinematic Samples' from Bluezone delivers a wide range of experimental ambiences, intriguing drones, dark stylized sound effects, disturbing impacts and unreal textures. This enigmatic sound effect library (1.23GB / 99 WAV files in 24 bit 96 kHz) was created from hardware synthesizers and field recordings, then processed to give you complex, hyper-detailed and ready-to-use cinematic / trailer sounds. A large variety of unexplained sounds to create your own sequences: Sounds include background ambiences, strange and quiet atmospheres, deep and tenebrous drones, tortured metal sounds, impulsive impacts and spooky textures. 'Black Project - Mysterious Cinematic Samples' is the perfect choice for modern music compositions, movie scores, trailers, video games, commercials, documentaries, advertising and background music. Reference : BC0262 Delivery : Download link Download size : 1119 MB Extracted size : 1123 MB Format : WAV Resolution : 24 Bit / 96 kHz Channel : Stereo License : Royalty free Total files : 118 Total samples : 99 WAV More info and download: Black Project - Mysterious Cinematic Samples View full story
  8. my kinda newest project, i love rock and these are basically synthesized rock songs. every instrument was designed using the same synth in FL studio. thought u guys might like it, reminds me of classic video game music
  9. Unlock Audio

    Functions of Sound in Games

    One of the wonderful things about sound is that it can accomplish many different things. Additionally, the same sound used in one context can have a completely different meaning in another. This is true from an emotional, informative and clarity standpoint. In my game audio classes at DePaul University, I always point out moments when we hear the same thing in games but have a very different response or reaction to them. Sound is powerful – and if you work in games, you should think about its capabilities for your project or work with someone who understands what effects it can have and all the ways it can be used. A single sound can be doing many different things at once! So with that in mind, here are eight ways sound can be used in games: Contextual/Narrative Sound This is probably the most straightforward entry on this list. When an action happens such as a character moving, using an ability, or the player selecting something in the UI, we need to hear something that seems “appropriate” concurrently. If we don’t hear something when expected, it can be one of the most immediate ways to lose that sense of suspending disbelief or “buying” into the experience. These sounds need to be present but also need to be choreographed to the visual gesture. Starting or stopping “out of sync” is just as much of a glaring error as not having the sound at all. Pretty much every game is chocked full of sound filling this role, but for an even more visceral example, check out the game, Perception. The premise of Perception is everything we see is based on sound reflected from the world. Think of it as similar to echolocation. If something isn’t generating sound on its own, the only way we see it is if sound travels out and bounces off surfaces in the environment, and returns to the listener. Everything we see is based off of sound, so if we see anything, it is because that action/object/event has an intrinsic sound with it. For some, seeing all the sounds that populate our game worlds can help make it clear how vital the sounds are. Focuses Attention A very powerful intent from a design perspective is what our player is focusing on. Are they marveling at the art or environment of a new area in an RPG with a massive world? Will they be able to make the jump from one level to another in a platformer? Do they need to be ready to dodge an enemy attack? Most times, the auditory and visual cues work in conjunction with one another. This makes it very persuasive in telling the player that something is important and deserves their attention. However, having separate visual and auditory cues can be very powerful and have incredible effects on the player. Look at this sequence from Amnesia: A sense of danger is communicated through an invisible monster splashing through the water chasing you as you jump from box to box. Can you imagine how boring hopping between boxes would be without hearing the splashing footsteps coming after you? Are the boxes the real focus this whole time? No, not at all! That constant auditory reminder of impending doom is so strong! So strong that the player doesn’t need to see the footsteps of the monster in the water to be utterly terrified of it. Defines Space We are used to different spaces sounding differently. If you yell in a small room, it sounds very different than yelling in an empty sports arena. Not only does it take longer for sound to reach a listener’s ear in a larger space, but when we are in large spaces, most of what we hear is reflected sound as opposed to direct sound. The sound of our voice goes out in every direction, with very little of it going directly to a listener’s ear when we’re in a large space like an arena. A listener may still hear this sound even if it doesn’t travel directly to their ears, but not after it’s bounced off a number of surfaces. This is what’s called reflected sound, and it’s most of what we’ll hear in a large space. In a small space, our listener will be closer to us. This means more of our voice will go directly to their ear, and the reflected sound will take less time to reach their ear. This gives a very different character to everything we hear in a small space as opposed to a large space. Additionally, the materials present in these spaces play a huge part in what sounds we hear. We hear certain types of sounds more when hard flat surfaces are present as opposed to curved cloth couches. If we don’t acknowledge and emulate these sound characteristics, our game worlds will never feel real. Game audio folks spend a lot of time ensuring game worlds feel real. Here is a portion of the implementation used in Hitman 2 to ensure this happened: Creates Atmosphere/Mood This is referencing the emotion a player feels while experiencing your game. While the previous point was pertaining to making a space feel right in terms of physics, this point is in terms of emotion. A large space can be awe-inspiring, majestic, threatening, magical, exciting, intense, etc. – the list could go on forever! Every sound and note we hear has the ability to give an emotional impression, but only if we want it to - and know how to execute it well. Watch the opening to Bioshock on mute. It looks creepy, but this experience lacks any sort of visceral emotional response. Now, play the opening with the sound on and close your eyes. Pay attention to how much emotion you feel with no visual component! Of course, the real impact is achieved when we have both the visual and working together, but pay attention to where the emotional part of the experience is coming from. Emphasizes/Intensifies Action My favorite example of this is Doom as well as any Tarantino movie. More than having a sound be present for a gesture, audio can add a layer of intensity that isn’t naturally there. Any team creating an experience that is highly “stylized” will have given significant thought to how the audio contributes to the overall aesthetic because it is that important! Case in point – if it hadn’t been incredibly thoughtful about what the nature of Doom was, the end experience could have missed the whole point of their world! Don’t believe me? Listen to this: A far cry from the intended experience of Doom, right? Heres the correct audio. This effect can be true for entire soundscapes like in Doom, but it can also be true for single ability or action sounds. There are certain sounds that just aren’t appropriate for a healing spell, right? How can we communicate something positive, negative, disorienting, dangerous, all in a single sound? Here are a number of ability sounds I created for the game Card Chronicles: Sentinels that all needed to communicate the nature of the ability being used by the quality of its corresponding sound. What makes the healing spell sound feel appropriate for a healing spell? Promotes Immersion (VR) This is very different than the contextual/narrative and space-defining audio we looked already. While you could describe both these capabilities of audio as making something in your game feel “believable,” immersion is the sense of the player actually being in that space. Immersion is getting someone to lose the sense of their physical self and feel like they are actually in another space or occupying a body other than their own. Your attention shifts from controlling something in a digital world using your physical body to feeling as if you are actually occupying the digital world. That is a huge jump. Advancements and accessibility of technology have made techniques such as spatial and ambisonic audio integral to the VR experience. More than hearing something to your left or right, we can accurately simulate that qualities of sound emulating from different points in 3D space in different sized spaces, with different materials, and when you’re looking in one direction versus another. But the ultimate audio sensation of immersion is through binaural audio experiences. Not only do we hear the qualities of sound being affected by different spaces, but we can experience how the human ear perceives audio in that space as well. While ambisonic and spatial audio are incredible experiences, they are ultimately taking “believability” to a higher level. Ambisonics audio, in particular, has many applications to VR since it is a format of an entire sphere of sound around a point in physical space, and can be converted to playback in headphones. However, for the most immersive audio experience, nothing beats binaural audio. This audio format makes you feel like you are actually there. If you want to better understand what this difference in experience is, grab some headphones and listen to this: Pretty amazing, isn’t it? Now the drawback with binaural audio is that it is generated relative to where a microphone or listener is. Since we usually move in our game environments, it’s not easy to replicate accurately, and it can cause motion sickness if not used correctly. That’s how powerful this stuff is! Sets Pace as Gameplay Function The most common example of this is used in rhythm games. If you’ve ever seen a serious Dance Dance Revolution tournament or players, you know how fast and intense these games can be! A big reason the player is able to quickly and accurately time their feet to the visual cues is because of the music giving them a constant frame of reference. A different example of this is any sort of timer that has an associated audio cue. Many games have a timer that is ever-present, but when we get to our last 10 seconds or so, the timer’s audio either becomes audible or is louder in the mix. It definitely gets the point across that you need to complete an action/puzzle/objective sooner rather than later! Smooths Transitions There are a couple of different flavors to this one and many more than what I can speak about depending on the genre and mechanics of your game. But, the two that I can touch on with good certainty that they’ll be relevant to you are: transitioning between story/cinematic and gameplay as well as loading screens. Especially in many AAA titles, we are potentially switching between linear story elements and gameplay sequences regularly. In the playthroughs I’ve had with recent military shooters, 15 minutes of the game can have 2-3 moments of linear story. Using audio in conjunction with a visual effect or shift can make this transition feel effortless and seamless – almost like playing through a movie as opposed to pausing your gameplay experience. Another flavor of smoothing transitions is during loading screens. Developers have come up with a ton of great ways to make loading screens less of a “drag” on the experience such as Namco having the Star Blade mini-game. But sometimes a traditional loading screen is inevitable, and audio and music can help make these moments much more interesting. Mute the video below if you want to see how much a loading screen with audio can be a complete bore. Let’s Wrap Up! We’ve looked at eight different ways audio can enhance your game, but there are many others as well! In order to ensure your game has an engaging experience, the audio needs to hit on all of these dimensions and be purposeful in its execution. Time and thought need to be given to what you’re trying to accomplish and how audio can help achieve it. Without that, a game will be missing an entire dimension of an effective and engaging experience. Be sure to check out all the game audio awesomeness at Unlock Audio! To reach out, hello@unlockaudio.com
  10. Unlock Audio

    Getting the best from your audio department

    Communication can be the hardest part of any collaborative creative process. This is especially true in art, and it’s definitely true in audio. Every community and discipline has their own language, their own slang, and their preferred way of communicating. So today, I’ll be talking about some of the ways us audio folks like to communicate and some of the ways you can be awesome at talking about audio. Now before I begin, I do want to say that any audio person or composer worth a grain of salt has (hopefully) realized that part of their job is to act as an interpreter and translator for non-audio/music people. This is true even within the audio community - composers need to know sound-design and non-musical audio terms just like sound-designers need some basic music lingo. If your audio people aren’t trying to find different ways to communicate and understand what you want/need, they’re not doing part of their job! Alright, let’s talk about some things you can bring to the table that will make audio communication easy. References If you take only one thing away from this article, please make it this! References are incredibly helpful for any type of audio person. Again, so much of the difficulty we’re discussing is communication. You can take out a massive amount of potential miscommunication by being able to hit play or send a link and say “like this.” Phrases like “make it sound heavier” , “bigger” , “higher” , “darker” , “harder” , all make perfect sense to the person saying them, but there are a myriad of ways to make something sound “higher” or “darker”, etc. On top of that, it’s not only a matter of executing the idea, but understanding the idea of the intended sound itself. Don’t be the person that says “it should sound more blue” and think you’ve effectively communicated. It may make perfect sense to you - but trust me, your audio people have no idea what that means. This is especially true when talking through emotional content and experience for music (there are LOTS of different types of “sad” music!). Have some references - know what you like about them - and say “like this.” Vocabulary Even with references, having some basic terms in your pocket that audio people know will help you immensely. In the game audio courses I teach at DePaul University, we spend a considerable amount of time getting students to talk about audio in a way they haven’t before. There are lots of words used to describe audio and music, but below are some of the most common and universally accepted. Use these, and your audio discussions will be much more efficient and productive. Pitch - the psychological perception of frequency. AKA, playing different notes on a piano. Don’t just say make it “higher.” Say “higher pitched” or “raise the pitch.” Your audio folks will know exactly what you mean. Loudness - how loud we perceive a sound to be. Using words like louder and quieter do a pretty good job of communicating this, but it happens all the time that non-audio people will try to talk about loudness and use terms like “lower” , “higher” or “softer.” These words can have lots of different meanings in the world of audio. So, anytime you want to talk about how loud or quiet something is and want to be super purposeful, throw the term loudness in there. Timbre (pronounced tamber) - the tone quality or “color” of a sound. If you play middle C on a piano just as loud as playing middle C on a viola, the difference between these sounds is their timbre. Similar to loudness, people use “higher” , “lower” , “softer” to describe timbre as well. This is fine, but you can see how easily these words can be misinterpreted. Want to be extra sure you’re communicating what you want? Use timbre in your sentence. There are many other terms us audio folks use to be very specific when talking about audio, but if you begin to use the three I’ve listed above, you will save yourself (and your audio people) so much time and headache! Your Game! No, you don’t need to wait until the game is almost done to bring in an audio person. Quite the opposite, actually! But you do need something to help you communicate your game and the world you’re creating to your audio people, even if the game is in its early stages. (Quick side note, you should totally bring in your audio collaborators as early as possible. You will be so much happier with your end audio experience. If you do this already, YOU ROCK!) For more emotional types of audio such as voice acting and music, having character, concept or environment art can be a fantastic resource if actual gameplay isn’t available. Also, if you have a significant backstory or lore you’ve created, this can be great for helping decide how this character should sound and/or how the world should “feel.” But even with these, audio folks need to know a basic outline of what the gameplay is going to be like and any sort of progression to it. There are many ways we can tailor audio to closely “fit” the game and gameplay experience, but we need to know these considerations as early as possible. Consider a stealth-action game: knowing that there is a stealth mechanic with different stages of intensity can open up a world of possibilities for composing and implementing an interactive score. For less-emotional audio, the best thing is to have video of animations or events. When I worked at a large corporate developer in the past, sometimes I would literally walk over to an animator or programmer’s desk and take video with my phone to begin the sound design. Because of the processes in place, they couldn’t send the animation to me as “final,” but I could begin the experimentation process. Plus, 90% of the time, it was the final version anyway. Realistic Expectations Audio and music are both a process - and that’s ok! It rarely happens that the first version of a sound or piece of music is ready to go into the final game. Exploration, experimentation and sometimes failure are just part of the gig. Knowing that you are always getting closer to your goal is important - especially when you’re excited to hear what your audio people have been cooking up, but it doesn’t quite hit the mark. That being said, if version 15 basically sounds the same as the previous 14 versions, that’s just a terrible audio person or serious lack of effective communication. Each version needs to be trying another interpretation of your notes or adding to what they had before. Creating multiple versions and using the differences between them can also be very helpful to communicate. But in order to do that, we first need to create those couple different versions. Overall, if you take the time to think about and purposefully communicate with your audio person instead of improvising descriptions and goals on the spot, you should be in great shape. Pair that with good references, some basic audio vocabulary and game materials (art, animations, gameplay) and your audio folks should be able to dive right in. Be sure to check out Unlock Audio! Want to reach out? hello@unlockaudio.com
  11. Communication can be the hardest part of any collaborative creative process. Many times the most difficult part is understanding the other party. This is especially true in art, and it’s definitely true in audio. Every community and discipline has their own language, their own slang, and their preferred way of communicating. So today, I’ll be talking about some of the ways us audio folks like to communicate and some of the ways you can be awesome at talking about audio. Now before I begin, I do want to say that any audio person or composer worth a grain of salt has (hopefully) realized that part of their job is to act as an interpreter and translator for non-audio/music people. This is true even within the audio community - composers need to know sound-design and non-musical audio terms just like sound-designers need some basic music lingo. If your audio people aren’t trying to find different ways to communicate and understand what you want/need, they’re not doing part of their job! Alright, let’s talk about some things you can bring to the table that will make audio communication easy. References If you take only one thing away from this article, please make it this! References are incredibly helpful for any type of audio person. Again, so much of the difficulty we’re discussing is communication. You can take out a massive amount of potential miscommunication by being able to hit play or send a link and say “like this.” Phrases like “make it sound heavier” , “bigger” , “higher” , “darker” , “harder” , all make perfect sense to the person saying them, but there are a myriad of ways to make something sound “higher” or “darker”, etc. On top of that, it’s not only a matter of executing the idea, but understanding the idea of the intended sound itself. Don’t be the person that says “it should sound more blue” and think you’ve effectively communicated. It may make perfect sense to you - but trust me, your audio people have no idea what that means. This is especially true when talking through emotional content and experience for music (there are LOTS of different types of “sad” music!). Have some references - know what you like about them - and say “like this.” Vocabulary Even with references, having some basic terms in your pocket that audio people know will help you immensely. In the game audio courses I teach at DePaul University, we spend a considerable amount of time getting students to talk about audio in a way they haven’t before. There are lots of words used to describe audio and music, but below are some of the most common and universally accepted. Use these, and your audio discussions will be much more efficient and productive. Pitch - the psychological perception of frequency. AKA, playing different notes on a piano. Don’t just say make it “higher.” Say “higher pitched” or “raise the pitch.” Your audio folks will know exactly what you mean. Loudness - how loud we perceive a sound to be. Using words like louder and quieter do a pretty good job of communicating this, but it happens all the time that non-audio people will try to talk about loudness and use terms like “lower” , “higher” or “softer.” These words can have lots of different meanings in the world of audio. So, anytime you want to talk about how loud or quiet something is and want to be super purposeful, throw the term loudness in there. Timbre (pronounced tamber) - the tone quality or “color” of a sound. If you play middle C on a piano just as loud as playing middle C on a viola, the difference between these sounds is their timbre. Similar to loudness, people use “higher” , “lower” , “softer” to describe timbre as well. This is fine, but you can see how easily these words can be misinterpreted. Want to be extra sure you’re communicating what you want? Use timbre into your sentence. There are many other terms us audio folks use to be very specific when talking about audio, but if you begin to use the three I’ve listed above, you will save yourself (and your audio people) so much time and headache! Your Game! No, you don’t need to wait until the game is almost done to bring in an audio person. Quite the opposite, actually! But you do need something to help you communicate your game and the world you’re creating to your audio people, even if the game is in its early stages. (Quick side note, you should totally bring in your audio collaborators as early as possible. You will be so much happier with your end audio experience. If you do this already, YOU ROCK!) For more emotional types of audio such as voice acting and music, having character, concept or environment art can be a fantastic resource if actual gameplay isn’t available. Also, if you have a significant backstory or lore you’ve created, this can be great for helping decide how this character should sound and/or how the world should “feel.” But even with these, audio folks need to know a basic outline of what the gameplay is going to be like and any sort of progression to it. There are many ways we can tailor audio to closely “fit” the game and gameplay experience, but we need to know these considerations as early as possible. Consider a stealth-action game: knowing that there is a stealth mechanic with different stages of intensity can open up a world of possibilities for composing and implementing an interactive score. For less-emotional audio, the best thing is to have video of animations or events. When I worked at a large corporate developer in the past, sometimes I would literally walk over to an animator or programmer’s desk and take video with my phone to begin the sound design. Because of the processes in place, they couldn’t send the animation to me as “final,” but I could begin the experimentation process. Plus, 90% of the time, it was the final version anyway. Realistic Expectations Audio and music are both a process - and that’s ok! It rarely happens that the first version of a sound or piece of music is ready to go into the final game. Exploration, experimentation and sometimes failure are just part of the gig. Knowing that you are always getting closer to your goal is important - especially when you’re excited to hear what your audio people have been cooking up, but it doesn’t quite hit the mark. That being said, if version 15 basically sounds the same as the previous 14 versions, that’s just a terrible audio person or serious lack of effective communication. Each version needs to be trying another interpretation of your notes or adding to what they had before. Creating multiple versions and using the differences between them can also be very helpful to communicate. But in order to do that, we first need to create those couple different versions. Overall, if you take the time to think about and purposefully communicate with your audio person instead of improvising descriptions and goals on the spot, you should be in great shape. Pair that with good references, some basic audio vocabulary and game materials (art, animations, gameplay) and your audio folks should be able to dive right in. Be sure to check out Unlock Audio! Want to reach out? hello@unlockaudio.com
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