software platforms help make the development of games have a much more consistence.Brad noted: “You really have to push yourself into testing out these game engines and seeing what [they] can do without any middleware. You need to see what kinds of sounds you can create, because that dictates how you’re going to design everything within say a Pro Tools session. We also use Unity a lot.” Chris and Brad also stated that being able to use C# and Python were extremely useful, and that many of the students now coming out of school were being taught these special software languages.
Sound design in video games has some significant differences from other narrative entertainment forms, however. “In the video game world you’re not designing linearly,” Brad offered. “It’s not this one perfect scene that you can make that has this rhythm and flow to it. There are some games where you can end up with a terrible mish-mosh cacophony of sounds. You don’t always know how the various sounds connected to the characters will ultimately play out in the context of the game.” As Chris noted: “For a long time I was at Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), a division of Lucasfilm, and had access to all of [sound designer and supervising sound effects editor] Ben Burtt’s original sound library recordings, like R2D2. Too keep players connected to the franchise, you need to have the ability to take the iconic sounds and allow the player to be drawn into the game.”
Brian asked the duo what kind of deliverables they were responsible for. While bit-budgets, coming in under a certain number of megabytes of sounds, was much less critical in the past, they are now often asked to edit down. In the case of games for Android and iPhone, careful budgeting is much more important than for PCs or the gaming platforms such as PS4 or Xbox 360. Chris noted that the creative aspect has become kind of second nature. “I know that I have to do it and I find inspiration quickly,” he stated. “When I was in college I could stay up until five in the morning and then sleep all day, but at work I have to be on from 9 am to 6 pm.”
The AES Los Angeles Section wishes to thank Brad Beaumont and Christopher Denman for their time and thoughts in an extremely informative and interesting discussion.
......Recap by John Svetlik
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