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The Complete Guide to Game Audio, 2nd Edition

Book Description

Turn your musical passion into a profitable career with this essential guide to the business and technical skills you need to succeed in the multi-billion dollar games industry. Step-by-step instructions lead you through the entire music and sound effects process - from developing the essential skills and purchasing the right equipment to keeping your clients happy.

Learn everything you need to:
Find the jobs. Identify your niche, implement a business and marketing plan that includes a great demo reel, and plug into the established network to find clients.

Make the deals. Make the bidding and contract process work for you by knowing the standard industry terminology, understanding how to set fees, and employing non-confrontational negotiating tactics to reach sound agreements that establish acceptable boundaries for change orders, reworks, payment options, and other essentials.

Create music and sound effects for games. Master the exacting specifications for composing music and creating sound effects on the various gaming platforms and systems.

The companion DVD features audio and cinematic examples, demos of useful sound editing and sequencing programs, and sample business contracts.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright
  5. Dedication
  6. Contents
  7. Foreword
    1. The Industry Then
    2. The Industry Now
  8. About the Author
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. Chapter One: An Introduction to Game Audio
    1. Insert Quarter Here
    2. The Bleeps and Bloops of Yesteryear
    3. Where Sound Is Now
    4. Where Sound Is Going
    5. Chances of Finding Work
    6. The Rewards
      1. Fame
      2. Fortune
    7. Let’s Go Get ’Em
  11. Chapter Two: Essential Skill Sets and Tools
    1. Important Skills
      1. Attitude
      2. Business Sense
      3. Marketing
      4. Music Skills
      5. Computer Knowledge
      6. Sound Design
      7. Voice-overs
      8. Industry Knowledge
    2. Tools for Your Business
      1. Computer
      2. Interfaces
      3. Software
      4. Sound Modules, Keyboards, and Virtual Instruments
      5. Other Instruments
      6. Remote Recording
      7. Sound Effects Libraries
      8. Development Systems
    3. Preparing Your Studio for Surround Sound
      1. Equipment and Placement
      2. Studio Setup
      3. Surround Tips
      4. Dolby Support
  12. Chapter Three: Getting Organized and Ready for Business
    1. Understanding the Business of Game Composing
      1. Expectations
      2. Reasonable Costs
      3. Flavor of the Month
    2. Composing Versus Sound Design
    3. In-house Audio versus Independent Contractor
      1. In-house Composing
      2. In-house Equipment
      3. Independent Contractors
    4. Audio Demo Reel
      1. Putting Your Demo Together: The First Step
      2. Demo Content
      3. How Long Is Yours?
      4. Demo Chic: Types of Demos
      5. The Presentation
      6. What Format Is Best?
      7. Delivery
      8. Follow-ups
      9. Some Final Demo Reel thoughts
    5. Determining Your Costs
      1. Types of Fees
      2. Rate Calculation
    6. Organization Is Key
  13. Chapter Four: Finding and Getting the Jobs
    1. Marketing
      1. Tell Everyone
      2. Look Professional
      3. Industry Presence
      4. Basic Marketing Tools
      5. Other Resources for Marketing Success
    2. Where to Look for Clients
      1. Internet
      2. Industry Magazines and Books
      3. Telephone Books
      4. Store Shelves
      5. Game Developer Headhunters
      6. Networking
    3. Finding Your Niche
      1. Stay Educated
      2. Start Small
      3. Start Locally
      4. Getting the Break
    4. Networking Basics
      1. Industry Functions
      2. Make Yourself Available, Make Yourself Known
  14. Chapter Five: The Bidding Process
    1. How Much Do You Charge?
    2. Let’s Play Twenty Questions
      1. Details, Details, Details
    3. Asking the Right Questions
    4. Pre-Production Made simple
    5. Contract Payment Options
    6. Speculative Demos
      1. Covering Your Expenses
      2. Words of Caution
    7. The Bid Submission
      1. The Bid
    8. There Is Still More
  15. Chapter Six: Making the Deals
    1. Understanding Industry Contracts and Terminology
      1. Nondisclosure Agreements
      2. Work-for-Hire Agreements
      3. Copyrights
      4. Licenses
      5. Platforms
      6. SKUs
      7. Ancillary Rights
      8. Bonuses and Royalties
      9. Property Rights
      10. Talent Releases
    2. Negotiable Contract Points
      1. Money
      2. Licensing
      3. Platforms
      4. SKUs
      5. Ancillary Rights
      6. Bonuses and Royalties
      7. Property Rights for Soundtrack Release
      8. Name Credits, Logos, and Splash Screens
      9. Final Authority
    3. Navigating Negotiations
      1. A Real-world Negotiation
      2. Negotiation Pointers
    4. Change Orders and Reworks
    5. Sample Agreements and Contracts
      1. Sample Nondisclosure Agreement
      2. Sample Talent Release
      3. Sample Contracts
    6. Conclusion
  16. Chapter Seven: Setting the Stage
    1. Company Liaisons
      1. Executive Producers
      2. Producers
      3. Creative Directors
    2. Meetings With the Game Development Team
      1. Details to Discuss
    3. Pre-Compositional Considerations
      1. The Big Trade-off
      2. Sound Quality versus File Size
      3. Setting Up Shop
    4. “GOTCHAS” and Other Things to Watch out for
      1. Placeholders
      2. A Developer’s Listening Preference
      3. Endless Reworks and Change Orders
      4. Communication Breakdown
    5. Conclusion
  17. Chapter Eight: Creating Music for Games
    1. Game Music Varieties
      1. Intro, Closing, and Credit Sequences
      2. Cinematic Sequences
      3. Menu Screen Music
      4. Gameplay Music
      5. Plot Advancement, Cut Scenes, and Tie-ins
      6. “Win” and “Lose” Finale Cues
      7. Interactive Music
      8. Loops
      9. Ambient Tracks
      10. Stingers
    2. Exercises to Create Fitting Game Music
      1. Watch and Listen
      2. Create in Different Styles
      3. Try Something New
      4. Practice Makes Perfect
    3. Some Technical Considerations
      1. Which Platform Is the Game Being Developed for?
      2. What Is the Playback and Delivery Format?
      3. Is a Preset Sound Bank Available?
      4. What Memory Parameters Will You Have to Work Within?
      5. Technical Wrap-up
    4. Musical Details to Reconsider
    5. Compositional Methods
      1. Determine Your Best Personal Methods
      2. Choosing the Best Palette of Sounds
      3. Stay Within the Theme
      4. Immersion
      5. Compose While Recording
      6. Using Loops as a Tool
      7. Experimentation
      8. Compose While Playing the Game
    6. Recording Methods
      1. Traditional Recording
      2. Progressive Recording Methods
      3. Other Music Making Methods
      4. Streamline to the Final Format
    7. Editing Music
      1. Audio Editing Software
    8. Conversions
  18. Chapter Nine: Creating Sound Effects for Games
    1. The Creative Aspects of Sound Design
    2. Types of Sound Design
      1. Foley
      2. Sound Libraries
      3. Original Development
    3. Editing Methods
      1. Using Audio Editing software
      2. Using Multi-track Software for Sound Design
      3. Sequencing Software and Samplers
    4. Sound Design in the Production Cycle
    5. Specific Sound Design Questions to Answer
    6. Determining Necessary Sounds
      1. Sound Effects Lists
      2. Alpha Game Versions and Other Visuals
      3. Beta Testing
    7. Creating Original Sound Effects That Fit
      1. Getting Organized
      2. Creating a Sound Palette
      3. Effective Creation
      4. Creative Forces
    8. Presenting the Final Work
    9. Conclusion
  19. Chapter Ten: Blending the Total Soundscape
    1. Maintaining Consistency in Production With Audio Elements
      1. Consistency in Music
      2. Music Mastering
      3. Consistency in Sound Effects
      4. Sound Effects Mastering
      5. Consistency in Voice-overs and Speech
    2. Quality Control
      1. Check Mixes on Several Systems
      2. Check Your Sounds in the Actual Game
      3. Teamwork With the Developer
    3. Conclusion
  20. Chapter Eleven: Game Platforms and Their Audio Development Issues
    1. Next-Generation Consoles
      1. Microsoft Xbox 360
      2. Sony Playstation 3
      3. Nintendo Wii
    2. Other Gaming Platforms
      1. CD/DVD-ROM Games
      2. Nintendo Dual Screen and Nintendo Dual Screen Lite
      3. Sony PlayStation Portable
      4. Web- and Cell-phone–based Games: Java and Flash
      5. Coin-op Games
    3. Previous-Generation Consoles
      1. Sony Playstation 2
      2. Nintendo GameCube
      3. Microsoft Xbox
      4. Nintendo GameBoy Advanced
    4. Conclusion
  21. Chapter Twelve: For the Developer
    1. Understanding Sound
      1. The Psychology of Sound
      2. Soundscapes
      3. Size versus Quality
    2. Working With Contractors
      1. Reconnaissance and Homework
      2. Questions Composers and Sound Designers Will Ask
    3. Getting to Work
      1. Working With Sound Designers
      2. Working With Composers
      3. Music Creation Example
    4. The Next Step
    5. Production Nightmares
    6. Conclusion
  22. Postscript: Game Over? Not Hardly
  23. Appendix A: Game Audio: Getting the Help You Need to Succeed
    1. You’re Serious About Game Audio
    2. Five Keys to Success in Game Audio
      1. Networking
      2. Mastery
      3. Reputation
      4. Community
      5. Guidance
    3. Your Peers Compete With You for Access to Experts in Your Field
    4. Don’t Go It Alone
    5. Get the Help You Deserve
  24. Appendix B: The Grammy Awards and Other Game Audio Awards
    1. Who’s eligible?
    2. NARAS Details
      1. Voting Member
      2. Associate Member
      3. Student Member
    3. Applying
    4. Other Game Music Awards
  25. Index
  26. What’s on the DVD