May 25, 2024

7. Game Sounds

Sound makes games look better

I know that “sounds” weird but it’s true.

The audio engineer in a small studio is responsible for a lot of things

  • Sound effects. You might hear or read the term “Foley” after a famous audio engineer, Jack Foley. These are all the sounds that are not people talking. The sound of footsteps when your character is walking, faster footstep when the character is running, dogs barking – all of these are sound effects.
  • Helping record and edit voice overs. We normally do three “takes” of every line in the script. The audio engineer will edit together the best takes from each line. He or she will also cut out any time the speaker coughs, says “um”, “you know” or other sounds that should not be in the game.
  • Soundtracks. This is music that plays in the background. Some audio engineers that are really talented record their own music and include it in the game. The music in the canoe dodge and chicken chasing levels in Forgotten Trail were done by an audio engineer, Eric Cappello.
  • Ambiance or background noise. For example, if your game is set in the woods, the background noise should sound different than if it’s at a party in someone’s house. Location is everything.
  • In a small company like ours, the audio engineer might even help with sound track for video ads. See an example below.
Example of music created by audio engineer
Secret service agent getting game design mission

Your mission:

On Friday, you began creating a new game level. Today, you’ll be creating the sound for that level.

Will it have a soundtrack? If so, what will it be?

How are your players going to move? Walking, running, jumping, flying, driving a car, a snowmobile or a tractor? Whatever it is, you need sound effects.

If it’s raining you need a rain sound

What will the weather be like? If it is raining or snowing, you’ll need some sound for that.

buffalo in the snow

Random fact: The background noise in “Spirit Lake: The Game” was actually recorded at White Horse Hill on the Spirit Lake Nation.

Places I find sounds

  • Record outside for traffic, crowd sounds, wood sounds, lake sounds. I’ve even recorded howler monkeys in the Mayan jungle
  • You can download free sounds off the internet at places like freesound.org just know that lots of sites that advertise free sounds have a few free ones a lot you have to pay for. Some require you to give them credit if you use the sound and some require you to pay if it is in a product you are not giving away for free.
  • I get people I know to record music. (I’m related to two of the musicians in this video so hoping to rope them into recording for a game.)
Hallelujah with parts played from home during quarantine

If you have any musical talent or training, you can certainly create your own music. Sadly, I have none.

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