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
If the sound team is incomplete or in any way compromised, you should consider outsourcing an appropriate amount of the workload to game audio specialists. Look for companies and people that have a strong resume of interactive sound production, and have successfully produced sound for “high profile” titles. If your game has special stylistic needs, then consider companies that have a track record of producing sound for similar titles.
When outsourcing any part of a game’s audio, it is critical that communication and delivery pipelines are in place. The outsourced team is an extension of the development team, and therefore requires that a strong working relationship between the two groups be established. It is essential that both groups know and understand the various personnel and responsibilities of each group in order to avoid miscommunication and overlapping roles. A safe and reliable FTP or VPN system will enable these two groups to work in tandem regardless of the distance between their respective locations. Person-to-person or phone conference meetings should be scheduled at regular intervals in order to coordinate changes in deadlines or workload. To reduce the distance between the outsourced team and the developer, some of the budget may be allocated toward travel. One or two, 2-day sessions between select members of these groups will be well worth the additional cost.
The overall ‘theme’ of your game will help dictate where you may need additional resources. A historically based game will require authenticity; therefore consider obtaining fresh recordings of historically accurate weapons and vehicles. If your game focuses on destruction, a sizeable Foley session may be appropriate to produce original content unencumbered by overused sound effects libraries. A small but well organized recording session can give your game a lot of fresh spark without breaking the budget.
IX. Marketing Your Sound
Game marketing has typically focused on the creator, developer or the voice actors within the game. In many cases, sound can be used as a marketing tool as well. For “The Incredible Hulk – Ultimate destruction” we hired some of Hollywood’s finest sound recordists to coordinate a Foley session that would produce the raw destruction sounds we needed to create the sound effects necessary for this game. Our session took place at an auto-dismantling yard in a southern California desert. A giant forklift and bulldozer were used to drop, drag and tear apart cars, vans and trailers. Multiple video cameras captured the session for future use on the “Behind-the-scenes” reel. The added benefit was the marketability achieved by everyone’s dedication to producing the most destructive sounding game to date. Your ability to market your game’s sound will also help raise any additional finances needed to bring your sound up to the next level.
Steve Kutay is the co-founder of Radius360, an award-winning audio post production company, specializing in sound for film and games, located in Los Angeles, California. For more information please visit www.radius360.com or contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org.
©2006 Steve Kutay, Radius360. This article may be posted in partial or entirety as long as credit is given to Steve Kutay, Radius360 and www.radius360.com