Somatone’s 10 Keys to Great Game Audio
- May 9, 2015
- By Somatone Interactive
When it comes to achieving excellence in game audio, here are 10 key components to keep in mind throughout the creative process:
1) Communication – The heart of it all and sometimes the most difficult issue to address, especially when working from afar. Projects and teams can vary greatly, you’ve got to learn to be compatible, resourceful and assertive to make sure you are heard and you’re giving and receiving the information you need. Modern technology has made it easier for us to work remotely but nothing beats good old-fashioned face-to face real-time communicating, which is highly encouraged when kicking off a project.
2) Creativity – On all fronts, this is what drives us. Recording, designing, implementing and problem-solving all can take a nice healthy touch of creativity to help shape the overall tone of a project.
3) Gameplay Driven Approach – Who What When Where Why? Ultimately we are here to support the gameplay, the fun, the action, not to distract from it. There are exceptions of course where audio can take front seat but most of the time we want to work in harmony with the action on screen. Thus we are driven by each project’s gameplay, it affects decisions of all kinds.
4) Implementation – (aka integration) is taking all moving parts of the machine and then putting them together to run just right. This is big and not everyone is aware of it. Without proper implementation, a game’s audio can be ruined.
5) Iteration – Iteration, iteration, iteration. So important in our line of work. You might have created an amazing sound in a linear presentation, but once it’s hooked up in a non-linear universe functioning with all the other moving parts, it could not work at all. Playtesting, revising, testing, revising is the name of the game.
6) Collaboration – There is great value in working with others. As sound guys sometimes we like to retreat to our studios, shut the door and make loud noises. Certainly this is encouraged but first and mostly throughout a project, collaboration is where things get done. Establish relationships, hangout around the snacks, sneak in to other team meetings, discuss ideas out loud, if you’re remote make visits to the office once a month, get skype accounts of everyone you’re working with, all these are healthy habits of collaboration.
7) Mixing & Dynamics – It’s all in the mix! This is where the magic happens, the joining together of all your elements. Recording, designing, implementing all require knowledge and awareness. It’s the cornerstone of what we do in audio and a powerful tool for making your aural creations come to life!
8) VO Production – A whole art in and of itself. From the recording, directing, editing and mastering a meticulous approach is needed in each action in order to capture the essence/performance of the human voice and transfer that to a non-linear environment.
9) Experience – Walking the streets of a busy urban downtown area, listening to the way people interact, standing in a field out in the country in the middle of the night under a full moon, watching the latest Marvel film, playing the latest big game. Game Audio is like a painting, all these experiences give inspiration and help shape our sound.
10) Leadership – With experience comes leadership. Taking up the reins, guiding the ship, having confidence in your craft and the ability to communicate that effectively and execute on command.