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The Game Audio Tutorial

Book Description

Design and implement video game sound from beginning to end with this hands-on course in game audio. Music and sound effects speak to players on a deep level, and this book will show you how to design and implement powerful, interactive sound that measurably improves gameplay. If you are a sound designer or composer and want to do more than just create audio elements and hand them over to someone else for insertion into the game, this book is for you. You'll understand the game development process and implement vital audio experiences-not just create music loops or one-off sound effects.

The Game Audio Tutorial isn't just a book-you also get a powerful website (www.thegameaudiotutorial.com)

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Halftitle
  3. Title
  4. Copyright
  5. Dedication
  6. Contents
  7. Acknowledgements
  8. Introduction
  9. Chapter 1: Basic Training
    1. Opening the Tutorial Level
    2. Explore the Level: Navigation
      1. Views
      2. Navigation
      3. Building
      4. Actors
      5. The Content Browser: Finding Actors
    3. Every Room Has a Tone: Ambience
      1. [AmbientSoundSimple] for Looping Sounds
      2. Changing your First Sound
      3. Adding your First Sound
      4. Importing your First Sound
    4. Ambient Sounds Case Study
    5. Attenuation and Radius Min/Radius Max
      1. A Word About Distances in UDK
      2. A Word About Numbers in UDK
    6. Toggle a Looping Sound
      1. Kismet 101
      2. [AmbientSoundSimpleToggleable] for Toggleable Looping Sounds
    7. Ambient Loops and “Phasing Loops”
    8. The “Walls” Problem
      1. Multiple Sounds Solution to the Walls Problem
      2. [TriggerVolume] Switching Solution to the Walls Problem
    9. Ambience: A Painterly Approach
  10. Chapter 2: How Big is the Truck?
    1. How Big is the Truck?
    2. RAM Budgets and Streaming
      1. A Lifetime’s Work
    3. The Triangle of Compromise or “Triangle of Pain!”
    4. Squaring the Triangle: Basic Memory Saving Techniques
      1. The Importance of Editing
      2. File Compression
      3. Sample Rates
    5. Non-Repetitive Design
      1. Caveat—Sometimes Repetition is OK
      2. Reuse of Sounds: The Power of Pitch
      3. Reuse of Sounds: Using Filters
      4. Randomization in Time, Pitch, and Volume
      5. Randomization in Time, Pitch, and Volume Using [SoundCue]s
      6. The Combinatorial Explosion: Vertical Combinations
      7. The Combinatorial Explosion: Horizontal Concatenation
      8. Multiple Start Points
      9. Some DSP
    6. Recap of Sound Actors
    7. Conclusions
  11. Chapter 3: Making it Sound Real
    1. Sound Propagation
      1. Reverb
      2. Sound Sources and Spatialization
      3. Directionality
      4. Filtering Over Distance
      5. Faking Filter Over Distance
      6. Reveal Detail Over Distance
    2. Occlusion, Obstruction, Exclusion
      1. Ambient Zones
      2. Obstructions and Exclusions
    3. “Real” Sound for Gameplay
      1. Stealth 101
      2. Stealth and Distraction
    4. Collisions and Physics
      1. Manual Collisions: Using [TriggerVolume]s
      2. Automated Collisions: Footsteps and Surface Types
      3. Scripting 101
      4. Custom Movement Sounds
      5. Physics
      6. Cascading Physics
    5. Movers and [Matinee]
      1. Sounds that Move
      2. Movers that Sound
    6. Cut-Scenes, Cameras, and Sound
      1. Cut-Scenes with No Audio Control
      2. Cut-Scenes with Audio Control
      3. Level Fly-Throughs
      4. Where’s My Head At?
      5. Conclusion
  12. Chapter 4: Music Systems
    1. Introduction
    2. Styles and Game Genres
    3. Roles and Functions of Music in Games
      1. It’s a Fine Line between Love and Hate
      2. Music Concepting/Spotting/Prototyping/Testing
    4. The Key Challenges of Game Music
    5. Source Music/Diegetic Music
    6. Linear Music and Looping Music
    7. Avoid the Problem: Timed Event Music
    8. Avoid the Problem: Non-Time-Based Approaches Using Ambiguous Music
    9. Avoid the Problem: Stingers
    10. Transitional Forms/Horizontal Switching
      1. Clunky Switching
      2. Better Switching: Crossfades
    11. UDK’s (Legacy) Music System
    12. Maintaining Musical Structures: Horizontal Transitions
      1. Write in Chunks
      2. Transitions and Transition Matrices
      3. Switch Points: Marking Up Existing Tracks
      4. The Problem of Decay
    13. Parallel Forms/Vertical Layering
      1. Simple Mute/Unmute
      2. Mixing Layers
    14. Leitmotifs and the Combinatorial Explosion
    15. The “Variation” Question: Generative or Procedural Forms
      1. Vertical Recombinations
      2. Set Phasing to Stun
      3. Low-Level Generative Processes
      4. The Problem with Generative Music
    16. “Interactive” Music: Music as an Input
      1. A Short History Lesson: Gains and Losses
    17. Music-Based Games
    18. Conclusions
  13. Chapter 5: Dialogue
    1. Concepts and Planning
      1. Types of Speech
      2. Localization
    2. Casting
    3. Recording Preparation
      1. Script Format and Planning
      2. Session Planning
    4. Recording
      1. Wild Lines
      2. Studio Prep and Setup
      3. Performance
      4. Near and Far (Proximity Effect and Off-Axis)
      5. ADR Lines and Motion Capture Recordings
    5. Editing and Processing
    6. Rapid Prototyping for Dialogue Systems
    7. Implementation
      1. Branching Dialogue
      2. AI, Variation, and How Not to Drive People Nuts: Part 1
      3. Concatenation, Sports, and How Not to Drive People Nuts: Part 2
      4. In-Engine Cut Scenes: A Dialogue Dilemma
    8. Conclusions
  14. Chapter 6: Making it Sound Good
    1. Audio Concepting
    2. Spotting, Roles, and Functions of Sound in Games
    3. Reality and Characterization
    4. Define the Environment: Immersion and Emotion
      1. Symbolic Sounds
      2. Expect the Unexpected
      3. Space, the Final (Technique) for Tears
    5. Information and Feedback
      1. Instruction
      2. Feedback
      3. Navigation
    6. Interactive Mixing and the Power of Subjectivity
      1. Voice Instance Limiting and Prioritization
      2. Listening Levels
      3. Planning for a Dynamic Mix
      4. Planning for a Full Mix
      5. Soundclasses and SoundModes
      6. Ducking
      7. Subjective Sound States
    7. Interactive Mixing Conclusion
    8. Conclusions
  15. Chapter 7: Advanced Sound System Design
    1. Weapon Systems
      1. One Shot
      2. Retriggered Firing
      3. Retriggered Firing with Tail
      4. Weapon Status Feedback System
      5. Make a Point
      6. Looping Mechanical Weapon
      7. Looping Sci-Fi Weapon
      8. Layers for Weapons
      9. Weapons Sounds: Attenuation and Character Over Distance
      10. Sniper Rifle
      11. Impact, Whizz-by, and Handling Sounds
      12. Adding Sound to Animations
      13. Weapons Summary
    2. Vehicle Systems
      1. Simple Vehicle: Manta
      2. Engine-Based Vehicles: Scorpion
      3. Engine-Based Vehicle with Crossfades: GAT_Scorpion
    3. Conclusions
  16. Chapter 8: Next Steps
    1. Jobs and Work
      1. Do You Have What it Takes?
      2. Jobs and Skills
    2. How To Get Work
      1. Making a Demo Reel/Website/Blog
    3. How to Keep Working
  17. Conclusions
  18. Appendix A: Organization Tips
    1. Finding and Seeing What’s Going On
    2. What Does That Do Again?
    3. Audio File Finder Utilities
    4. Naming Conventions
    5. Batch Renaming Utilities
  19. Appendix B: Troubleshooting and Optimization
    1. Crashes
    2. Version Control
    3. Hearing What’s Going On
    4. Audio Optimization and Tracking the RAM Budget
    5. Streaming
  20. Appendix C: UDK Tips
    1. Running Slowly
    2. Importing Sounds
      1. Bulk Importing of Sounds
    3. Fast Creation of [SoundCue]s
    4. Basic Folder Guide
    5. Creating Levels
    6. The Builder Brush for Geometry, Trigger Volumes, and Reverb Volumes
    7. Scaling and Other Widgets
    8. Saving
    9. Lighting
    10. Static Meshes
    11. Materials
    12. Terrain
    13. Emitters + Particle Effects
    14. Weapons
    15. Water
    16. Building
    17. Kismet Tips
      1. Kismet System Debugging
      2. Sequences/Subsequences
      3. Copying and Reusing Sequences
      4. Runtime versus Placeable Actors
      5. Instigators
      6. Take Damage
      7. Named Variables and Remote Events
      8. Spawning and Controlling Bots
    18. Key Binding
    19. Scripting
      1. Setting up UDK for Custom Scripts
      2. Editing Scripts
      3. What’s in a Script?
  21. Bibliography and Further Reading
  22. Index