I speak to people sometimes and last night has been a very active and talkative night. I spent the day doing my audio programming work and had some great successes solving problems I was tinkering with for a couple of days now. At some point I decided that I could not possibly do anything to top the already great workday so I switched gears a bit.
A while ago someone asked me to write an article about audio programming and I’ve been putting it off for a week or so and decided it was time to give it another shot. I sat down in the hammock at the co-working space I work at a couple days a week and started writing. I skipped the intro and ending but got a whole bunch done with screenshots and everything. I’ll share the article here once its done;) Then I wanted to change it up again and I began writing this post. During the whole time I sat in the hammock an art show started getting set up around me (there are quite a few events here).
Here is that article I mentioned: An Introduction to Game Audio Scripting (Part 1)
Various people noticed me sitting in the hammock and came over to chat. With some I would talk about politics, leading an ethical life, food or – what I’m most passionate about – my work. Every now and then I run into someone who is really interested in sound design or game audio and wants to know more. I’ve been in the same situation and find a good starting point to dive into a topic can be hard. I was lucky enough to have people who were willing to share their knowledge with me and guide me along the way to a career in game audio. Here I want to share some good resources for people to explore – a little list of things I want to recommend you check out if you are into game audio or sound design in general.
Some basics before we get going: You should have a web presence. A website (with a real top level domain), a twitter account (browse the #gameaudio hashtag and follow people who do interesting stuff) and some business cards. If you are not a total pro at graphic design hire someone to design these for you. Study how other people present themselves and “borrow” the ideas you like. I hired an artist who was recommended by a friend and decided to print my cards on a special paper with a lot of people remarking on the fact. Also participate in game jams like Ludum Dare and Global Game Jam. Are there local meetups (see below / have you tried meetup.com)? Get your face ot the house, meet people, get invested and be consistent. Onward!
One of the coolest places to lear about various aspects of game audio is the “Beards, Cats and Indie Game Audio” podcast by Matthew Marteinsson (Klei Entertainment) and Gordon McGladdery (A Shell In The Pit Audio). Sometimes with guests and sometimes with questions from the twitter-verse Matt and Gordon always put on a good show and bestow us with their game audio wisdom. (DISCLAIMER: I work with Gordon at ASITP now) You can find their podcast at: https://indiegameaudio.podbean.com/
The first sound design podcast I ever discovered was the Tonebenders podcast by Timothy Muirhead and René Coronado. They cover various film and field recording topics and generally sound design. Sometimes they have guest contributions. Every single episode is pure gold! http://tonebenderspodcast.com/
“Level With Emily Reese” is a very inspiring podcast where Emily interviews composers for games and covers various aspects from aesthetic choices, over working with developers and some times technical aspects of how music for games works. Find it at: https://lwer.podbean.com/
A new addition to my podcast subscriptions is Twenty Thousand Hertz about interesting and weird sounds: https://www.20k.org/
The Gameaudio Podcast is an interesting one with a highly irregular schedule , but you can rely on it to be active every year around GDC, the Game Developers Conference held in San Francisco. If you end up being in town at the time there is a whole crowd of audio people gathering every morning of the conference around 7am at the Sightglass café not far from the Moscone Convention Center. Also come to the game audio lunches at the carousel across the road! I believe there will be a game audio micro conference in the sunshine there this year:) The podcast sometimes has episodes coming out through the year as well. Just put it in you RSS feed already! http://www.gameaudiopodcast.com/
There is the weekly Game Audio Hour which you can catch here: http://www.gameaudiohour.com/ Sometimes covering more musical topics but always interesting.
If you have a website, a blog or a demo-reel and you are starting out in game audio, do check out the “Reel Talk” show on twitch by Power Up Audio‘s Kevin Regamey in collaboration with Matthew Marteinsson (the same as mentioned above). They review demo-reels, give constructive feedback on sound designer’s portfolios and generally have valuable things to say about presenting yourself to potential clients: https://www.twitch.tv/powerupaudio
If you want to learn about field-recording, selling sound effects for a living or how professionals capture audio in the wild you don’t have a chance but to study “Creative Field Recording” by Paul Virostek. Incredibly insightful articles, he also sells multiple books on sound recording and the sound effect business and has great overviews over field recording gear for every budget. http://www.creativefieldrecording.com/
I could not make a list of sound design resources without mentioning the “Music of Sound” blog by Newzealand sound designer, field recordist and audio genius Tim Prebble. He runs the “A Hiss and a Roar” sound store, takes amazing photographs and compiles the most fascinating and wonderful parts of the internet in his “Deutrius” posts: http://www.musicofsound.co.nz/blog/
A Sound Effect has a fantastic blog about all things audio as well as a podcast that’s on every now and then. Loads of immensely valuable stuff there as well: https://www.asoundeffect.com/blog/
Related is the Designing sound blog with a whole range of sound resources and articles: http://designingsound.org/
The Sound Works Collection is a great inspiration with amazing behind the scenes looks at big movies and interviews with sound designers and mixers: http://soundworkscollection.com/
Anne-Sophie Mongeau has areally nice bog and in general I think her internet presentation is one of the best for an audio professional I’ve seen so far: https://annesoaudio.com/
A great tool that has helped me do my job as sound designer more effectively has been the REAPER Digital Audio Workstation (or DAW for short). It is a highly customizable sound design and music composition environment at an unbeatable price point with an incredibly caring and sharing community. The software itself can be found at: http://reaper.fm/ There is an unlimited, infinete demo. If you dig it also check out the Unofficial Reaper Blog by Jon Tidey which holds all kinds of miracles: http://reaperblog.net/ Then the official site holds a vast library of video tutorials by the amazing Kenny Gioia: http://reaper.fm/videos.php If you are a Pro Tools user you will probably find the quick tips by David Farmer especially interesting: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLph_cdD_oxjXLrQvbQdp36BEMTfQJ4k8X Oh I also made a tutorial about rendering sounds real fast in Reaper: http://reaperblog.net/2016/06/advanced-game-audio-sfx-render-workflow/ A recent blog that popped up has been Adam Croft‘s adventures into Reaper scripting as he is exploring how to extend Reapers functionality and adding new features via the built-in scripting engine: http://adamtcroft.com/ Then there is Raymonds blog also about Reaper scripting and other things: https://www.extremraym.com/en/
An interesting way to get sharing with the audio community is to join “The Soundcollectors Club” which is about sharing sound effects and expanding your sonic palette at https://thesoundcollectorsclub.com/
Another place to do something similar is https://www.crowdsourcesfx.com/ where you contribute a little part to a huge library and get all of it as well as a share of the royalties from selling it.
If you are looking to get into audio programming specifically I can recommend “The Audio Programming Book” available at MIT Press and “The Pragmatic Programmer” for general good practice and healthy software development mindset. I have other resources and books on my reading list and will update this post as time goes by.
You should look into game audio tools in general such as FMOD, Wwise or Fabric. Pick one and start learning some dynamic audio implementation. There are some tutorials out there like the ones by Dani Kogan.
I really enjoy seeing good talks about the technical details of game audio. Sometime I rember to add them to this playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqrMQvig3uIv9y7R8E-o2e3SCdzYAhD0g
If you are lucky enough to be in the Vancouver / Seattle are come check out our Vancouver Sound Design meetup: https://www.meetup.com/Vancouver-Sound-Designers/ as well as the Full Indie meetup where we have 200+ indie game developers meeting every month with talks and stuff: https://www.meetup.com/Vancouver-Indie-Game-Developers/
Seattle has an amazing community as well. The way to get in touch would be the yahoo email group: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/SeattleGameAudioGroup/info
I spent the whole evening in that hammock talking to people and getting inspired. That is the last thing I want to recommend to upcoming game audio people. Go out and mingle. Show yourself and your passion and get pulled into other peoples interest as well.
If you are keen on updates come follow me on Twitter @chtammik where I often times babble about game audio stuff and games I’m working on. As I mentioned before I work as an audio programmer at A Shell In The Pit. We do all sorts of cool stuff! Other than that there is not much left to say.
Thanks for stopping by and please leave a comment with additional resources I’ve missed or if I spelled your name wrong or something;)
Some kind people have shot me these following links that I want to share here as well:
A couple of things I wanted to add were not really related to audio but great places for interesting ideas and inspiration:
A really important one is this talk about contracts and how important it is to be clear in business by Mike Monteiro called “F*ck You, Pay Me”: https://www.youtube.com/shared?ci=KlKub99rG_4