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Seth Pattinson
Lancaster
Look at yourself. You disgust me.
Interests: I'm not interested.
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Sound Design and Production Audio limitations of game platforms Game platforms have huge influence in the sound design and production for video games. When games were first starting to be developed the sound was very limited by: • Memory – Storage devices for video games have increased in memory size as the new generations of platforms are created. For example original game boy game cartridges only stored 256 KB to 8 MB. However, in modern gaming the average console has 120 GB hard drive capable of storing lots of data thus enabling sound quality to truly flourish. Sound takes up a lot of space in games and memory is vital for it. • Soundcard – Retro soundcard’s were capable of mono sound with a single computer speaker. They were introduced in around 1988 but were very uncommon for the IBM PC. The sounds they created consisted of beeps and boops and hence it was nicknamed a ‘beeper’. When compared to the high quality stereo sounds of today the retro soundcards were massively inferior. Today soundcards are capable of producing a wide array Audio environment Mono/Stereo-1/2 speakers Environment /3d sound-several speakers placed in all angles of room Sample rate - when sound is being recorded it’s the rate in which samples are being taken. Bit depth- The resolution of bits you have with which to collect the samples Audio recording systems Sound file formats .mp3- Was developed by ‘’Moving Pictures Experts’’ group. These files are compressed to a 10th the size of .wav and .ais. However, due to it being compressed through lossy each time it is saved quality is lost. .wav-A .wav file is used to store audio bitstreams on PC’s. It does not use lossy methods so it maintains quality, and can be easily edited using various forms of software. Lossy/compressed- This is when a file’s size is cut down to a tenth of it’s size at the loss of some audio quality. Channels are effectively pathways for each sound file to travel along. You can place different sounds on different tracks and each The Relevance of Sound in Video Games Purpose: The purposes of sound in video games include many things, these can be: Setting the genre- Sound sets the genre in video games. If it were a horror game the soundtrack would be slow and dull, if it were an adventure game the sound would be loud and triumphant. The genre is defined heavily by the visual aspects of a game, but with the inclusion of a soundtrack the overall craft comes together and can become something meaningful. Atmosphere- Sound creates atmosphere through background noise and ambience. For example, if the character was in a forest there may be sounds of birds tweeting and leaves rustling in the wind. Without atmosphere the points game developers are trying to emphasize would be needless and ineffective, and atmosphere would be the same without sound. Mood- Sound elicits various emotions in the player via being sad and slow or upbeat and exciting. The soundtrack has a heavy influence on the state of mind. It also provides satisfaction for the player, when you fire a shotgun you want to hear the bang of the buck. If you fired it and heard no sound the weapon wouldn’t feel powerful. Narrative- The sound in games also helps drive the narrative. It does this via using different ambient sounds and music with relation to images being displayed on the screen. A good example would be Halo: Reach. When it is finally realised that the planet is doomed the camera pans slowly over wreckage of a place once teeming with life now brought to a halt and rendered into dust and rubble. A slow and saddening melody plays as the camera pans. This drives the narrative by emphasizing how doomed you really are. Communication- In online gaming Headsets are used so players can communicate with one another. This is sometimes vital as players can relay information and objectives to each other through the use of the headset; of course these rely entirely on sound. If the player speaking was giving important information and the other player wasn’t receiving it due to lack of sound it would affect the overall effectiveness of the team. Important Game Information- When playing a game often orders will be issued to you by a faceless superior officer. These small chunks of information are often vital to the player progressing within the game. If a player had no sound they would often find themselves lost and meaninglessly wandering around without purpose or direction. Players rely on the sound within games to know what they should be doing and when they should be doing it. : Watch this with and then without sound and notice the difference between the experience. Sound: Necessary? Sound is essential to nearly every single video game within existence. Very few games would work without sound. Sound is often used as a foundation with which to drive the game. It determines when points within the game are meant to be happy and uplifting or sad and dramatic. Sound also signifies when the player is in danger. For example, if an enemy spawns on the map usually the player will be made aware of the enemy’s presence via the music becoming loud and aggressive or a small notification sound to alert the player. Without the sounds the player would have no foresight into battles and would have a severe handicap. The lack of sound would make the game considerably more difficult and less accessible. Sound is a foundation with regard to video games, if it were not included games would be nowhere near as successful and popular as they are today. All gamers would lose interest in games if they had no sound to accompany them due to the player’s ears only hearing the pressing of buttons and the dull buzz of the console. Whereas a soundtrack and sound effects increase the overall experience and make the game go from something visually impressive and relatively entertaining to something immersive and wonderful. Sound is there for a reason, it improves the quality of the game as a whole. Sources of Sound Sounds within games come from a vast amount of sources: Soundtracks Soundtracks are often formed within the confines of a recording studio. They can vary from a solo artist accompanied by an acoustic guitar such as Jose Gonzalez (Red Dead Redemption) to Martin O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori who composed a soundtrack for an Orchestra (Halo series). They can vary from a wide source of instruments and other sounds. Also, music was composed in the 8-16 bit era through the use of computers. Soundtracks were composed of electronic music and often sounded light hearted and cute. Nowadays with modern shooters they are accompanied by heavy warfare music to set the gritty and dull tone of the game as a whole. : Jose Gonzalez- Far Away : Marty O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori Sound Effects Sound Effects can be formed in numerous ways in relation to video games. They can be real life recordings. For example, a gunshot being an actual recording of a gunshot or they can be recorded through other means. For the game Fallout: New Vegas sound effects were made for the game through the use of various and random objects within a warehouse. These objects could range from oil drums to crisp packets and they simply combined the various sounds to make interesting sound effects for the game. Creating new sounds is known as ‘’Foley’’ taken from Jack Foley who is the Sound Editor of Universal Studios. However, sound samples and custom libraries can be bought from suppliers if the sound team do not wish to create the sounds manually. Summary To summarise, sound is a vital aspect of video games in the modern industry, without it games would be only half complete; they are an essential aspect of the theme, atmosphere, entertainment value and online elements of the game. Sound is brilliant and stimulates one of the average person’s natural senses. They are there because they are effective at enhancing the overall experience for the user as they play the game. Dialogue in story sequences is also essential in some games. Without sound the work of the voice actor is put to waste and the story is less involving as text can not convey emotion as well as spoken dialogue can. Sound effects work to make things feel more lifelike, when you fire a gun you want to hear the sound, when you jump you want to hear the air slipping past your ears and when you run you want to hear your footsteps. Sound in games makes up at least half of the experience because without it you are missing out on the potential fun that can be had with the inclusion of sound. Megadeth: Duke Nukem Theme: Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2011 at Seth Pattinson's blog
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Mar 15, 2011