Game Audio Production with Wwise

Author: Brad Fotsch | Course Code: OMPRD-345

Game Audio Production with Wwise is an exploration of the world of video games using Audiokinetic’s Wwise, a powerful and accessible middleware tool for integrating audio into a game. This course utilizes two actual video games (Limbo and AngryBots) that you will fill with your own music, voice, and sound. The course is focused on the creative process of designing unique audio as well as the practical challenges of putting the content into a game. Understanding this workflow is essential to becoming a better designer for interactive media.

Video game creation is a rapidly evolving industry that continually benefits from new technology and expanding demographics. While big AAA games enjoy larger audio teams, it is not uncommon for smaller- to mid-size game projects to rely on a single person to do most or all of the audio content creation. This course will prepare you to handle all of the major aspects of creating game audio: from pre-production and script preparation to dynamic music composition, and from foley recording to technical implementation skills and interactive mixing.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Create audio and integrate it into commercial games
  • Compose music that changes dynamically in response to game events
  • Design unique sound, dialog, and creature voices to bring a game to life
  • Use the many powerful features of Audiokinetic’s Wwise authoring tool

Lesson 1: Setting up your Game Audio Production Environment

  • Game Production Roles
  • Game Development Software
  • Audio Middleware
  • File Organization and Data Backup
  • File Management Tips

Lesson 2: Pre-Production

  • Defining Your Sound
  • Audio Design Goals
  • Imitate or Innovate
  • Spotting
  • Planning It Out: Organizing Your Time and Effort
  • Creating a Schedule
  • Designing a Mockup

Lesson 3: Ambience

  • Telling a Story with Background Sound
  • Creating Ambience
  • Defining the Boundaries
  • Slicing Up the Loop
  • Dynamic Elements in Ambient Sound Design
  • Creating Sounds to Blend with Ambience

Lesson 4: Sound Design

  • Capture your Sounds
  • Foley
  • A Noisy Library
  • Searching for Sounds
  • Software Plugins
  • Interactive Sounds

Lesson 5: Adaptive Music

  • Using Temp Scores to Explore the Effect of Music on Games
  • Temp Music
  • What Makes Music “Adaptive”?
  • Parameters and Switches
  • Adaptive Composition Strategies
  • Temp to Real Score
  • Low Health Music
  • Adding a Vertical Layer
  • Extending Your Music

Lesson 6: Composing a Musical Maze

  • Horizontal Approach
  • Adding a Horizontal Layer
  • Codecs
  • Creating a Conversion Settings Share Set
  • Playlists
  • Musical QA
  • Checking Your Transitions
  • Trade-Offs

Lesson 7: Stingers, Transitions, and Custom Cues

  • Mind the Gap: Understanding and Working with Transitions
  • Transition Examples
  • Musical Glue: Creating Your Own Transition
  • Musical Explanation Points: Working with Stingers
  • Identifying Stingers
  • Getting Crafty with Custom Cues
  • Composing a Stinger

Lesson 8: Dialog

  • The Voice of the Game: An Overview of Dialog Needs in a Game
  • Spotting for Dialog
  • Preparing for a Recording Session
  • Script and Studio Prep
  • Working with Actors
  • Preparing Dialog for the Game
  • Editing and Processing

Lesson 9: Horror Ambience and Music

  • Setting Up Limbo
  • Foley Performance
  • Visceral Sound
  • Designing Fear
  • Implementing Fear
  • Sound Design and Music

Lesson 10: Interactive Music

  • Video Game Genre Aesthetics
  • Plugins and Synthesizers for Horror Music
  • The Power of RTPCs
  • Integrating Music into Wwise that Responds to the Tension Parameter
  • Composing Stingers for Horror

Lesson 11: Mixing

  • Traditional Mixing vs. In-Game Mixing
  • Runtime Effects
  • Assigning Individual Events to Groups
  • HDR (High Dynamic Range) Mixing Systems and Surround Sound
  • Memory Management, Voices, Platforms, and Localization

Lesson 12: Getting a Gig

  • Capturing Game Footage to Make a Demo
  • Comparing an Original Audio Mockup to the Final Audio Demo
  • Showcasing Your Skills and Personality on Your Website
  • Audio Demo Reels
  • Networking

Brad Fotsch

Author

Brad Fotsch is a sound designer, composer, and interactive audio connoisseur. His energized and experimental approach to creating audio comes from almost a decade of making games, a curiosity for how music and sound guide our feelings and a life-long quest for adventure travel. Currently he is creating sound and music for a new independent studio called Funomena with some of the creators of Journey and Katamari Damacy. Previously he helped create realistic and immersive worlds in Medal of Honor and Command and Conquer at Electronic Arts until leading the sonic madness of Steven Spielberg’s Boom Blox series. He studied music and technology at Berklee College of Music in Boston and now currently resides in Venice Beach, CA.


Gina Zdanowicz

Instructor

Gina Zdanowicz is an Emmy-Nominated sound designer and composer for games, film and TV. Her work can be heard on award winning AAA titles to casual games such as Just Cause 3, Bioshock2, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, CrimeCraft, ESPN Arcade and Cartoon Network, just to name a few.

As a graduate from Berklee College of Music with a degree in Music Synthesis, Gina has focused on the games industry for the past 11 years working in-house for game developers as well as operating her own independent studio, Serial Lab Studios. Her varied experience in the games industry gives her in-depth knowledge of all aspects of the production cycle from start to finish, which allows her to greatly contribute to the overall process.

In addition to her work in games, Gina continues to score feature films and TV projects, which have won awards around the world and have premiered on networks such as Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. She is also a member of the Game Audio Network Guild (G.A.N.G.) and the International Game Developers Association (I.G.D.A).

Prerequisites

  • Basic experience recording with a microphone and computer
  • Familiarity with basic audio concepts like sample rates, file formats, and compression
  • Ability to write music in a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)
  • Ability to install new software and troubleshoot problems
  • Ability to capture computer screen movies using a program like Screenflow or Fraps
  • Basic skills with video editing, compression, and file transferring

Required Textbooks

None required


Software Requirements

  • DAW such as Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Cubase, or Logic Pro X for writing music and incorporating video
  • Audiokinetic Wwise for Windows (free for noncommercial use). Although the Mac version of Wwise is stable, it is not currently possible to use with the Limbo game project.
  • Unity 5 Personal Edition (Free)

Mac Users

  • OS X 10.9 Mavericks or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Windows 7 or higher Bootcamp (VMware Fusion 7 recommended)
  • DirectX: 9.0c or higher
  • Latest version of Chrome (recommended), Firefox, or Safari
  • Basic screen capture and editing software such as QuickTime, ScreenFlow, or Snapz Pro X

Windows Users

  • Windows 7 or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • DirectX: 9.0c or higher
  • Latest version of Chrome (recommended), Firefox, or Edge
  • Basic screen capture and editing software such as Jing or Camtasia

Hardware Requirements

  • Microphone
  • MIDI Keyboard
  • Graphics card: OpenGL 2.0 compatible card with 256 MB shared or dedicated RAM (ATI or NVIDIA)
  • At least 2 GB RAM (8 GB or more recommended)
  • Hard drive with at least 10 GB free space
  • Speakers or headphones 
  • Webcam



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Next Term Starts April 3


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