The new console era is upon us. It has been met by developers everywhere with
great anticipation, promise, …and yet, reluctance. Programmers have spent a
large portion of the past decade squeezing every last bit of potential from our
PS2s, Xbox’s and Gamecubes.
Now, after tricking these machines into performing beyond their expectations,
the shackles of technology have been lifted yet again. But will the next
generation consoles guarantee better audio?
No. We can certainly expect bespoke more audio due to an increase in available
memory, and the ability to add additional content within BD-ROM and dual
layer DVD-ROM formats. But what makes audio sound good doesn’t
necessarily have anything to do with performance and delivery specs. Surely,
our ability to manipulate audio will improve, but it will mean nothing if the
content doesn’t deliver. This article focuses on sound creation, and will enable
you to pave the way for effective and successful interactive game sound.
You have the ability to put the creative spark in motion regardless of which
game format you are developing. Knowing and preparing your sound team as
well as understanding the processes through which they work, will ultimately
help you to keep the audio on track, both artistically and financially.
II. THE AUDIO TEAM
A few years back, I was scoring a short animated film. One of the animators for
this film held a day job at a well-known entertainment company that had just
released a CG movie about dinosaurs. I asked him what he did on that project,
to which he replied, “I did all the toenails.”
I couldn’t help but think of the army of people responsible for the teeth, eyes,
scales, and so on. None-the-less, I saw the movie and it was visually stunning.
Realistically, game budgets will not allow for such an extravagant audio team,
but it does illustrate a good principle; that your audio personnel have well-
defined roles with which to focus their efforts. Collectively, your audio will be
that much better for it.