Sunday, June 20, 2010

Game Audio Relevance 001

Inspired by Tim Prebble and his Detritus series over at the incredible Music of Sound Blog I've decided to round up a host of links floating around online that have specific relevance to Game Audio. Maybe not the first time i've attempted such a round up, but hopefully I can get onboard with keeping these digestible from now on, this one is rather lengthy...we'll see how it goes.

A powerful ally for narrative: The audio of Bad Company 2
Game Audio Basics” March Issue of Mix Magazine

Cracking the Code: Breaking Into Game Sound

Edge Magazine takes a good, hard look at the state of Game Audio

Interview - Bay Area Sound

An oldie on surround music in games

Erick Ocampo Talks About the Sound Design of  “Front Mission Evolved”

Exclusive game audio videos from GDC posted!

Footsteps – Informal Game Sound Study

The music and sound of Flower

Akira Yamaoka's Sound Design Lecture at GDC 2010

Cadet 227 - An action/adventure game for the visually impaired / blind.

The Beautiful Sounds of Arcades: Arcade Ambience Project

Tutorial blog post - Adaptive Music with FMOD

Sound Spam - Interactive Audio Crimes in HEAVY RAIN

Dead to Rights: Retribution - Creating a coherent audio mix Pg.54

GDC 2010 - Lua and adaptive audio - Don Veca (Dead Space/ Activision) Presentation

Chuck Russom Special: God of War I & II

Chuck Russom Special: Call of Duty

DICE Publications: Audio Presentations

Video Game Audio Breakdown - Interactive Music [lecture]

Introduction to Audio API's, Comparison between Xact, FMOD, Wwise, And Unreal

The Sound Design of "Splinter Cell: Conviction" (Video)

Video with Lightning Bolt bassist/game scorer Brian Gibson

"FMOD Designer 2010 – Let’s Take a Look"

Recording motorcycles for the SBKX video game 

Develop is stocked with audio goodness. BF2, Wwise, and interactive dialogue

Interview: Audio Director Kristofor Mellroth on the sounds of Crackdown 2

Mario Music of Golden Proportions

Evolution of PC Audio - As Told by Secret of Monkey Island

LeftBrainBlog: Game Audio Inspiration - Dead Space

Why Audio Guys Use "Nice" Speakers

Develop Magazine: The Evolution of Middleware, FMOD Spotlight and Audio Track 2010

Psai Engine: "Periscope Studio Audio Intelligence"

APB in-game music sequencer

BerkleeLC forum "A Crash Course in Video Game Sound Design"

Stefan Strandberg on the Sound of "Battlefield: Bad Company 2"

Article about audio in the game design process

Disney Adds New Audio Descriptions to Theme Parks

Getting game audio right

Microsoft Gamefest 2010 Audio Presentations

How to break into Game Audio

UDK Game Audio Demo Project - Extensive Documentation

Blog post about closed captioning in games [CC]

Blind Community Upset By Nissan’s Choice of Sounds for New Elecrtric Car

The wealth of knowledge on the subject of game audio is somewhat staggering these days. It wasn't so long ago that I can't remember reading between the lines in articles trying to figure out how they did this and that in whatever game or interactive project was being discussed.

Hopefully the details of different techniques being exposed will lead to a better understanding of what goes on behind the scenes, and continue us down the path of standardization and best practices as an industry.

Got more links?
Drop em' on by!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sound Quote: Steppenwolf - Herman Hesse

I've become more and more tuned to the representation of sound in the written word. Seems like I can't turn a page in most fiction without coming across a passage that attempts to bring the ephemeral quality into black and white. Most recently in the writings of Herman Hesse and Steppenwolf. One of the few of his that I hadn't already read, it can be a tough slog at first. Pages go by without pause in intense descriptions of the inner workings of a man's grizzled mind, leading towards a myriad of epiphanies and eventual blossoming of understanding of the human condition.

Several section lept off the page:

"For my part, the whole building reverberated everywhere with the sound of dancing, and the whole intoxicated crowd of masks, became by degrees a wild dream of paradise."
"I stood for a moment on the scent, smelling this shrill and blood-raw music, sniffing the atmosphere of the hall angrily, and hankering after it a little too. One half of this music, the melody, was all pomade and sugar and sentimentality. The other half was savage, temperamental and vigorous. Yet the two went artlessly together and made a whole. It was the music of decline."
"The discovery would be made - and perhaps very soon - that there were floating around us not only pictures and events of the transient present in the same way that music from Paris or Berlin was now heard in Frankfurt or Zurich, but that all that had ever happened in the past could be registered and brought back likewise. We might look for a day when, with wires or without, with or without the disturbance of other sounds, we should hear King Solomon speaking, or Walter von der Vogelweide. And all this, I said, just as today was the case with the beginnings of wireless (radio), would be of no more service to man than as an escape from himself and his true aims, and a means of surrounding himself with an ever closer mesh of distractions and useless activities."
"Whoever wants to live and enjoy his life today must not be like you and me. Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours..."

While I would recommend my personal favorite Gertrude (also especially music and sound minded) or even Demian over the tale of the Steppenwolf, it is not without it's own power and grace.

Until next time!

Music Vault - Beautiful Flute

Arguably among my first hands on non-linear audio experiments, Beautiful Flute was the culmination of hours of tiny slices made to an epic improvisational flute piece by my soon to be wife. It was with care and delicacy that I approached the source material in an effort to render the emotional tone into a meditative instrumental poem of tranquility.

Working on a Power Mac 7300 in Cubase 3.5 I set to splicing and dicing into short passages and loops, after which I took isolated tracks and eventually the entire mix through the (now) well documented Reverse Reverb process in order to give it an otherworldly effect. Admittedly a technique cribbed from some of my favorite bands, it helped lend the appropriate fluttering shine that edged the piece further towards realization.

Lost Chocolate Lab - Beautiful Flute 01

Lost Chocolate Lab - Beautiful Flute 02

Lost Chocolate Lab - Beautiful Flute 03

Lost Chocolate Lab - Beautiful Flute 04

At the core of it is the beautiful voice of the flute lilting and looping, supported by the reverse ebbing fluctuations giving things an abstract propulsion.

Things are in a state of imbalance lately and it's moments like those represented in the music of my past that I cling to in order to secure footing. Whether it's music I've had a part in the making of, or sounds made by people I've never met, I often seek the comfort coming out of two speakers when things start to drift. Vibrating air molecules like the wings of a butterfly, resonating deeply and soothing my road weary soul.

Thanks for listening.