Little more than five months ago I started to get interested on working with audio for games: sound design and sountracks. Audio for games is not a new thing: the history is long and has some really interesting milestones. But things got really serious and professional a decade ago, or so.
The fact is: it’s a big industry, and it’s pretty different from working with the music or movies (things that I’m already experienced). Video Game is an interactive medium, so the logic on the sound design changes a bit. Also, you can’t compose huge songs, minutes and minutes, because the file got to be small enought to load within seconds (although this have been changing now), and start playing within the game’s first apperance. It’s a bit trick.
Another thing is that music composition has to be more theme oriented… and making good themes is not easy (ask any POP composer).
Because of that, I’ve been looking around for books, sites and people that I can learn from. And I’ve found some pretty good references around. So, I’m gonna share them with you, in case someone is interested to learn more about it.
The first book that I read was “The Essential Guide to Game Audio”, writen by Steve Horowitz and Scott R. Looney (Focal Press). It’s more of a technical book, that talks a lot about the middleware (softwares that links the audio with the programing side of things – WWise, FMod, etc). Its a really nice book, that has some practical examples, and exercises (you can download an app that comes with the book to help you with exercises, and also there’s a web site to view videos and download a Unity exercise game).
Another great, really great, book is “A Composer’s Guide to Game Music”, by Winifred Phillips (a well known game music composer). If you wanna know more abou the book, I have already wrote an article about it.
If you want mor a formal kind of school, I’ve found the Game Audio Institute. There you can find classes, schools and things you need to get a more “formal training”. It’s more focused on the technical side of business (specially for sound design).
Also, for a more formal training in WWise (from Audiokinetic), you can visit their educational website, where they have a free (yay!) on-line basic course for their middleware. It’s a good start! I really enjoyed doing it, and made me understand the mindset that I need to work with interactive audio.
Wrapping it up, on Twitter you can find a bunch of nice people and blogs that share articles, tips and advices on the theme. Just search for it, specially with the #gameaudio. Find me at @_mauruiz
Well, making a long history short, there’s a lot of nice content around the web. Just go for it.
If anyone has anything to add, please, feel free to comment. I would be glad to add info on this article to make it more helpful.
Mauricio Ruiz – www.mauricioruiz.me