Bigger than Big: The Game Audio Explosion Part 4 - Reviews and Budgets Feature - The Next Level

Bigger than Big: The Game Audio Explosion Part 4 - Reviews and Budgets

Steve concludes his four part series with the sound review process and examines ways to use the budget to bring game sound to the next level.

Article by Steve Kutay (Email)
April 1st 2006, 11:15PM

Sound Reviews

The Beta date is just around the corner. Your sound team has worked countless hours, and is nearing the finish line. You might think it’s time to examine the sound for any necessary revisions. Well by this time it’s probably too late. As mentioned earlier, the sound team is generally the last in line to begin creating their content. Add to this, the fact that all previously missed deadlines becomes their burden to make-up. Your sound team will likely be delivering content right up to the last minute. You will need to have in place a regular and effective reviewing mechanism to stay on top of the direction of the game sound.

Similar to the demo phase of sound production, assemble a group of reviewers that include, but are not limited to the Developing Producer, Publishing Producer, Executive Producer, Associate Producer, Game Designer, Art Director, Audio Director and a franchise representative, if applicable. Create a questionnaire that rates the general aspects of the sound. Rating each individual sound would be time-consuming, so use categories of sounds and include room for comments or explanations. By assembling the various questionnaires, you will be able to develop a consensus opinion that will reveal spots that need further attention. If this is performed in a timely and periodic fashion, your sound team will be best able to manage the revisions, as they are needed, before the game hits BETA!

Got Your Sound Budget? Use It!

A. Your Simple Checklist

Today’s games are competing with each other on every level. Sound is no exception. You must secure the best resources possible for your sound team. This will require that you use your budget wisely, and use all of it.

Prior to beginning the sound effects production, ask yourself the following questions.

1. Is your sound team complete? (i.e. sound designer(s), supervising/Lead sound designer, composer, audio director and audio programmer)

2. Is each member of the sound team assigned a specific task uncompromised by additional or overlapping roles?

3. Is your sound team assigned only to your project?

4. Does your sound team have enough time to complete your project?

5. Does your sound team have the adequate resources necessary for your specific game? These include sonically treated work spaces, equipment, software and sound effects libraries that are compatible with the needs of your game.

6. Does your sound team have a demonstrated track record of producing sound within the style and genre of your project?

If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, your sound design team is properly equipped, prepared and ready for production. Answering “no” to any of these questions will tell you where you will need to focus portions of your budget.

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