Thursday, September 30, 2010

Article Grab - Acoustic Ecology

Hot on the heels of a post over on the Official Blog of The Wire: Reading List - Environmental Agents: The Art of Field Recording. I finally got around to shaping up some scans of an old article from the magazine of the same name that has been doing time on the coffee table lately. Hard to believe I've been in possession of it since 2002, and that it somehow rose to the top of the pile over the past few weeks, but such is the case when you are talking about quality journalism in this day and age. (still a soft spot in my heart for print too, as it were)

So, in addition to the tasty round-up of links of the The Mire to whet your appetite, I'm also putting up some scans from an article entitled "Acoustic Ecology" from December of 2002. (go ahead and buy the whole mag, it's excellent!)

Acoustic Ecology - The Wire Issue 226 December 2002

Regarding our emerging man made soundscapes and the perception of what sounds "good":

"One of the things that bothered me about the WSP was that they never asked people about their sound environment. They made a lot of assumptions from a musical point of view about what people liked or didn't like about the soundscape. Sounds that soundscape musicians moan about, like traffic and aircraft noise - for some people, those are their favorite sounds."

"There are times when a plane in the distance, particularly if it's a propeller engine, is a really nice drone, and there are times when you have constant jets going overhead, which make you want to scream. I think trains generally sound pretty nice. What I personally object to is traffic noise - this broadband spectrum which prevents you from hearing everything else. There are many reasons for getting people out of cars or trucks, and their effect on what we are able to hear is certainly one of them" - Peter Cusack
I've read a bit about the crowding of the spectrum from Bernie Krauses book "Into a Wild Sanctuary: A Life in Music and Natural Sound" which is a recommended read if only for the behind the scene's story of George Harrison and the liberated synthesizer sounds. (not to mention the far out styling of the recorded In a Wild Sanctuary, which was my first introduction to Beaver and Krause...and the origination of the THX sound earcon) There's plenty of value in what he has to say about our dying ecosystem and loss of soundscapes. However, I also count several man made sounds amongst my color me conflicted, as anyone who feels their impact upon the planet should with regards to the role they play in sustaining the human race here on earth.

On the topic of what role soundscapes serve in the general public:

"It's about getting folks to value sound. This appreciation can be one more impetus to NOT let habitats die out. The hope of these recordists is that, by the end we have a deeper appreciation for the rich variety and abundant unity of the voice of our planet. Perhaps we'll even find a way to help our voices blend more graciously, more respectfully, more receptively; from there, we may find our way back to the old ways that believe the whole story is about actively nurturing relationships with all of life." Jim Cummings

Still haven't had enough, dig into some of the great links posted over here: Music of Sound Blog - Sound Maps

Best of luck on your sonic adventures!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Procedural Sound Now! [LINKS]

Procedural Sound is a topic that I feel has a great potential to solve some of the challenges facing game audio. Whether it's the dynamic composition of music in real-time, geometric sound propagation modeling , or harnessing already available simulations to create approximations of sound using synthesis, there exists a tremendous amount of solutions to the problems of how to make our virtual worlds more directly reactive and immersive. It's with optimism that I set upon trying to raise awareness of some of these techniques and technologies available outside the confines of console specific runtimes. It's my hope that by looking outside of our industry we can catch a glimpse of the future for game audio, and set our sights on some new ways to provide engaging, dynamically reactive, and emotionally resonating interactive sound.

In a companion article entitled "Procedural Sound Now!" at as part of the Audio Implementation Greats series, I've made a case for a return to the formative years of game audio with an eye towards new developments in synthesis and procedural. The article wraps with a QA with three audio professionals working with procedural sound in some capacity.

This post is an attempt to round up the cadre of links I was able to unearth in relation to the article. You'll get a bit of sound modeling, some procedural, a bit of music, white papers, and research materials. Keep an eye on this space over time, as I hope to keep adding to this list as a resource for people who are interested in new developments and articles. Please send along any further suggestions or post below in the comments section.

Additionally we have released Game Audio Podcast Episode 4: Procedural Game Audio  - Head over and subscribe via iTunes and give it a listen!

It's taken the help of many dedicated sound professionals to bring to light and assemble the different pieces of the puzzle. My deepest thanks and gratitude go to: Anton Woldhek, Karen Collins, Andy Farnell, David Thall, Mads Lykke, Francois Thibault, and all of the inspirational audio futurists pushing the envelope.

Andy Farnell:
Andy Farnell: Audio, code and tutorials on synthesis
(See links section for additional jumps)

Andy Farnell: Synthetic game audio with Puredata
Andy Farnell: An Intro to Procedural Audio in Games
Andy Farnell: Designing Sound

Stefan Bilbao
Stefan Bilbao: Conference Proceedings
Stefan Bilbao: Numerical Sound Synthesis

Kees van den Doel
Kees van den Doel: Publications
Sounds of Shapes

Mark Grimshaw
Mark Grimshaw: Publications
Game Sound Technology and Player Interaction: Concepts and Developments

Dylan Menzies:
Dyland Menzies: Publications

Phya: Physical Audio for Virtual Worlds
Phya and VFoley, Physically Motivated Audio for Virtual Environments

Procedural Papers

Nicolas Fournell

Leonard Paul: Video Game Audio

Cosyne Synthesis Engine

USO: Generative Music: an interview with Peter Chilvers

Create a scalable and creative audio environment: middleware project PLAY ALL
Procedural Audio for Game using GAF

Master of Sound: Automatic Sound Synthesis from Fluid Simulation

FOLEYAUTOMATIC: Physically-based Sound Effects for Interactive Simulation and Animation 

Audiokinetic: Sound Seed

FMOD Designer

Princeton SoundLab: Publications

Banded Waveguides and Propagation Modeling: Efficient Physical Models of Solid Objects

A Brief Overview of Physical Modeling

Perry Cook: Real Sound Synthesis for Interactive Applications

Procedural Audio in Computer Games by Mads Lykke

Sound Synthesis in Game - MuCell

Realistic Real-Time Sound Re-Synthesis and Processing for Interactive Virtual Worlds


Brian Eno with Wright on Spore and Generative Systems

Spore Anthem Creator Tutorial

Spore City Music Planner from GDC 08

Aaron Mcleran: Procedural Music for Spore

The Beat Goes on: Dynamic Music in Spore

The Generation of Procedural Generation

Liveblogging Procedual Music in Spore @ GDC08

Audio Interview with Cyril Saint Girons (Audio Engineer)

Brian Eno: Before and After Darwin

Brian Eno: Generative Music

Geometric Algorithms for Modeling, Motion, and Animation

GAMMA - Projects Overview: Sound Synthesis and Propagation

SIGGRAPH 2009: Interactive Sound Rendering Presentations and Proceedings

Symphony: Interactive Sound Synthesis for Large Scale Environments

Synthesizing Contact Sounds Between Textured Objects

Sounding Liquids: Automatic Sound Synthesis from Fluid Simulation

AD-Frustum: Adaptive Frustum Tracing for Interactive Sound Propagation

Efficient and Accurate Numerical Simulation of Sound Propagation

Precomputed Wave Simulation for Real-Time Sound Propagation of Dynamic Sources in Complex Scenes

Next Generation Virtual Musical Instruments Using Multi-touch Interfaces

Interactive Sound Propagation in Dynamic Scenes Using Frustum Tracing

Fast Edge-Diffraction for Sound Propagation in Complex Virtual Environments

An efficient time-domain solver for the acoustic wave equation on graphics processors

Fast Geometric Sound Propagation with Finite Edge Diffraction

RESound: Interactive Sound Rendering for Dynamic Virtual Environments

Direct-to-Indirect Acoustic Radiance Transfer


Sound Rendering for Physically Based Simulation

Rigid-Body Fracture Sound with Precomputed Soundbanks

Harmonic Shells: A Practical Nonlinear Sound Model for Near-Rigid Thin Shells

New Scientist: Virtual crashes and clatters get real 

Crash, bang, rumble! Bringing noise to virtual worlds 

Harmonic Fluids

Fast Modal Sounds with Scalable Frequency-Domain Synthesis

Precomputed Acoustic Transfer: Output-sensitive, accurate sound generation for geometrically complex vibration sources

I hope that get's you started on the wide world of Procedural Sound and Synthesis.
If you have any additional suggestions for links to interesting materials please drop a line or comment.

Proceduraly yours,

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Game Audio Relevance 002

Time again for a round up of game audio articles, if you're missing the party over on twitter feel free to tune into the #gameaudio search and watch things tick by in realtime.

Today's post officially marks my transition back in the saddle at the home studio after leaving behind the fertile environs of my "Summer Job" in San Francisco. In my wake is a studio under reconstruction, an amazingly artistic bunch of people, and one game that has successfully pushed my personal bar of quality when it comes to game audio. I can't wait for y'all to get your ears on it, it has truly been a pleasure to again work with one of the finest groups of creatives in the industry.

So, whats next?

I'm happily soliciting answers to that question and on the hunt for interesting projects, but in the meantime here are a few of the things that will be keeping me busy:

The Game Audio Podcast is back in production! 

Anton and I recorded a quick mini-episode on my way out the door from SF which should help bridge the g.a.p. (lol) until the technical difficulties of the official Next Episode have been dealt with.

What an episode it is!

Just to put it out there, we have rounded up three figureheads in the world of procedural audio and put them to task at defining the current state of affairs and setting sights on what the future holds. If you're like me, eagerly awaiting the synergistic return of synthesis to our current generation of consoles, you might be surprised to hear about all of the potential on the horizon.

The return of Audio Implementation Greats!

This series has been on hold during the great push to get TFU2 out the door. That said, I've been slowly working with some creative game audio pioneers to gather up and put forward some details on the cool tricks that may have been overlooked in the past. Keep em' peeled for more on this in the near future!

Until then, I'll leave you with this bevy of Game Audio Relevant links that should keep your gears turning:

...and if that doesn't keep you busy maybe you should GET BACK TO WORK! :)

Until next time true believers,