Teaching Wwise Game Audio Course at Berklee Online

Teaching Wwise Game Audio Course at Berklee Online

Berklee Online - Game Audio Production with Wwise - Taught by Aaron Brown Sound

Learn Game Audio Production with Wwise – Berklee Online

Feeling overwhelmed at the idea of learning Game Audio? You are not alone! Game Audio encompasses all audio disciplines that individually can take a lifetime to master.

Have no fear! I am here to guide you on your quest for Wwise and Game audio knowledge in the Game Audio Production course at Berklee Online.

This course treats the project as if it was a real world assignment. It covers setting up your system, pre-production, making a mock-up, creating ambience, sound design,  foley, adaptive music using Wwise, working with dialogue, mixing, and getting a gig! These are the same steps I’ve gone through on almost every project over the last 10 years so you can be assured the skills apply to future jobs.

The course enables you to dive into the Unity game Angry Bots and award winning hit Limbo to create your own immersive sonic experiences!

Guidance is provided through the whole experience there are chats and discussions. This prevents roadblocks on your path to success which is critical when learning a tech heavy skill such as Game Audio.

Still not sold on the course? I’ll let these student reviews do the talking for me:

REVIEWS:

Aaron is the greatest tutor I have ever had! Great feedback, plus touches on topics that are helpful for people working the industry. Can’t say enough about him!

Aaron was great – he’s very insightful and practical. He put some complicated concepts into simple terms for us, even adding a good deal of additional info and links for us to check out on the forum. His feedback in particular was always really spot on and helpful, never making us feel like we were out of our depth. You could tell he was very invested in our success!

I am a freelance video game composer/sound designer so this class was excellent for adding to my skill sets.

The embeded videos with specific walkthroughs were great for seeing how things worked in Wwise, but the class discussions and webchats were extremely helpful and in-depth, giving us a lot of context for the reality of game audio. Being able to plug our sounds into pre-made games and seeing existing Wwise sessions in action was fantastic.

 –Tutor feedback was beyond great Tutor answer every question we had, and better yet went further and gave us video examples. Required reading was great. Course content was great

Aaron has a clear passion not only for game audio, but also for helping people understand how it works. His feedback on my assignments was very thorough and helpful for improving the quality of my work. Never did I feel like he was giving my assignment a very casual and cursory listen since each time he was able to identify specific parts that needed improvements even if they were just minor ones. In the class chats he presented a healthy mix of industry information as well as demonstrations of techniques to record, edit, effect and mix audio for games. He ensured everyone’s questions were answered and even offered a dedicated, private chat session for people who needed additional help troubleshooting technical issues.Easily one of the most dedicated instructors I have had at Berklee Online or really any other educational institution I’ve attended.

There’s no substitute for actually putting into practice the things you’ve been taught in the videos and reading. Each once kept the focus of that week’s assignment in mind and challenged me to demonstrate what I had learned. When each assignment was complete, it was satisfying to hear my newly created game audio in the game as if it belonged there all along.

 

 

As you can see from the reviews, if you want to work in the industry and create compelling sound in Game Audio for a living, this course will give you a huge leap forward in getting there!

If you have any questions about the course, or game audio in general, leave a comment and I’ll reply ASAP.

 

Learn Game Audio Production with Wwise – Berklee Online

SYLLABUS:

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

 

Lucky’s Tale Launch Day – Composing and Mixing for the ‘Super Mario Bros.’ of Virtual Reality

Lucky’s Tale Launch Day – Composing and Mixing for the ‘Super Mario Bros.’ of Virtual Reality

Composer and Mixer for Lucky's Tale, The Gold Standard Launch Title for Oculus VR

After many months of heavy anticipation, the day has FINALLY come!

Lucky’s Tale, the whimsical 3d person platforming launch title for Oculus Rift, has launched! As the composer and mixer for Lucky’s Tale, I couldn’t be more proud of how it all turned out.

Though it has only been out for a few hours, it has already been called “The Gold Standard For Third Person VR Video Games” by UploadVR and the “Super Mario Bros. of virtual reality” by Gizmag.

Composing the music and mixing the sound for Lucky’s Tale was one of the highlights of my career. Not only did my music have to capture the nostalgic charm of classic third person platformers, but the projects whole audio team also had to solve many new challenges brought on with the VR revolution. Having such wonderful visuals and the immersive VR environment Playful designed is a unique experience I feel quite fortunate to be a part of! I was grateful for the support of Playful Audio Director David Chow, who composed, arranged and implemented lots of his own music, helped diversify the music and created a dynamic audio system that evolved as the environment and gameplay changed.

Through the coming months I will be making a series of posts and giving talks about how I, Matt Piersall and Chris Carroll at Gl33k, and David Chow at Playful solved those VR audio challenges and crafted an immersive VR title using compelling sound!

While waiting for my own Oculus order to arrive, I look forward to seeing all the videos of players mesmerized by the Lucky’s Tale experience.

Luckys Tale – VR Composition Demo Reel from Aaron Brown on Vimeo.

Linked In Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/aaronbrownsound

Demo Reels: http://www.aaronbrownsound.com/resume-awards-demo-reel/

About: http://www.aaronbrownsound.com/about/

 

Free Impulse Responses from the iPad, iPhone and Behritone speakers

Free Impulse Responses from the iPad, iPhone and Behritone speakers

Impulse Responses for iPad, iPhone and Behritone speakers
Impulse Response for iPad, iPhone and Behritone speakers

I have worked on a few iOS games lately and realized how useful it would be to simulate the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 speakers. It can be a real pain in the neck to transfer sounds to your iOS device when testing or waiting for a new build to see how your sounds will work on each devices speakers. Well, I decided to sample the impulse response from each device to do just that!

These impulse responses will work in most convolution reverbs as long as they can import .wav files. Make sure you change it to mono to really simulate what will happen! I’m using Izotope Trash 2 to do this on my computer, but you can use any software that allows importing impulse responses and summing stereo to mono signals.

So, what can you use these for? I’m glad you asked!

Any sound designer or developer working on game audio can use this on a master audio bus in their DAW to simulate how an iPhone or iPad will alter their sounds. Anyone making music for portable devices like smartphones can do the same and get an idea of what frequencies will jump out on these small speakers! If you work in post you could use them to simulate a conversation on a smartphone or music through one of these devices.

Pretty useful eh?

By the way, if you want to make your own impulse responses for your convolution reverbs using a free tool check out one of my other posts for a clear tutorial.

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BONUS: I created an impulse response for my Behringer Behritone speaker. This is a grot box that I use for mono testing and small speaker compatibility checks. It’s kind of a cheap Auratone speaker, which is funny considering Auratone was designed as a cheap speaker for contrast… but I digress…

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CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE iPad iPhone and Behritone Impulse Responses

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Please let me know if you found these impulse responses useful and I will make some more 🙂 If you want some other impulse response I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
All product names used in this webpage and download are trademarks of their respective owners, which are in no way associated or affiliated with Aaron Brown. These trademarks of other manufacturers are used solely to identify the products of those manufacturers whose tones and sounds were sampled during impulse response capture.

 

Thanks for visiting the Aaron Brown Sound blog! Come back soon for more posts about video game audio, audio engineering, sound design, composing and all other things relating to being an audio professional 🙂

XMA VS. VORBIS – Comparing Game Audio Compression Methods

Comparing compression methods of the XBOX 360 and PS3

There is no doubt that next-gen gaming has demanded more complex sounds than ever before in games.  The amount of sound necessary for a high fidelity game is many times larger than that of a film due to longer game lengths, variety of sounds per event, and needing sound to cover all possible gameplay situations.

It is for these reasons that file compression is a necessary evil of game audio.  This isn’t the signal reduction type of compression, but rather data compression to save space.  Without it there is no way to fit all the necessary physical media onto the shipped game.  On PS3 and X360 you can use PCM, XMA or Vorbis formats.

There are pros and cons to each of the formats.  PCM is uncompressed, but takes up a lot more space.  Vorbis sounds great and loops easily, but can take more processing power than XMA.  XMA is free on the X360 because of a hardware decoder, but can be hard to loop properly and I think it sounds the worst.  I decided to take some time to compare and contrast the compression qualities of Vorbis and XMA.

Below you will find charts analyzing the two methods and a summary comparing them.  This post gets pretty techy.  If you are in a hurry you can just look at the charts and read the summary below 🙂

I hope this will help you figure out what compression methods you will use on your games in the future.  I’d love to hear any advice you have on conversion methods in the comments.

VORBIS CONVERSION QUALITY

I did two vorbis quality tests. I took an explosion with glass and a vehicle engine loop.  I then converted them to Vorbis qualities 2,4,7, and 10 using normal and high quality conversion.  The difference in file size between quality 2 and 10 ranged up to 300 kb.  However, the sonic difference is pretty subtle on most assets.  This is of course unless it has LOTS of high end.

CHARTS

Note the spectrum analysis below.  The real difference is found with a 20db reduction around 11 and overall reduced quality.

Original Asset

Vorbis Quality 2 – Low shelf drop below 20 and wide dip at 11k at about 20 db down compared to original asset.

Vorbis Quality 10 – only a 10 db reduction at 11k.

Comparing Original in blue with Vorbis Quality 2 in Orange.  Note the reduction in highs and 20 db dip around 11k.

CONCLUSION:

The difference between Vorbis 4 and 10 is negligible.  Vorbis 4 seems to be the best sound to size compromise.   Loud heavily compressed sounds are less affected by these qualities.  If an asset REALLY needs frequencies above 10 k and is iconic to the game then it could either be changed to a higher quality or PCM and streaming.  Any setting under Vorbis 2 introduce noticeable artifacts.  Rarely should sounds need to be higher than 4 high.


XMA CONVERSION QUALITY

Next, I used WMA to see how XMA sounds when using it’s VBR compression settings.  WMA seems to use the same compression algorithms as XMA so this should be pretty accurate.

My previous Vorbis comparisons used values = 0,2,4,7,10

I intended to use XMA values of= 20, 35, 50, 75, 100.  I ended up using 25-50, 75, and 100 WMA because this is as close as I could get using VBR WMA methods.

Results:

XMA Vehicle Comparison

#1 = original

#2 = 75 WMA VBR

XMA 75 drops at 18,000 Hz. about 28dB.

#3 = 50 WMA VBR

#4 = 25 WMA VBR
Note the steep falloff of 40dB at about 11,000 Hz. for XMA 50 and 25.

XMA Explosion with glass Comparison

#1 = original

#2 = 75 WMA VBR

#3 = 50 WMA VBR

It drops a whopping 50dB at 15,000 Hz.

#4 = 25 WMA VBR

Note the VERY STEEP falloff at about 11,300 Hz.  It’s 60 dB down at this frequency.

CONCLUSION:

The difference between XMA qualities is much more obvious than that of Vorbis compression.  XMA 50 and below introduce steep rolloffs starting around 15 kHz.  Aliasing was also more noticeable in these tests than the Vorbis tests.

Overall Conclusion

Vorbis sounds FAR superior to XMA in my opinion.  Just by looking at the charts above you can see that XMA has much more frequency altering and falloff.  The listening results sound better than the visual results, but anything needing clarity such as glass or with anything higher than 12,000 Hz.  should use Vorbis if possible or XMA 60+ to maintain sonic integrity.  I believe it is best to use Vorbis as often as possible until CPU usage becomes an issue.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope this was enlightening to those of you wanting to know more about game audio and compression methods.  If you have any comments I would love to hear them.

Note: I apologize for the lack of audio samples. Unfortunately I can’t post the files I used in this test.

 

Thanks for visiting the Aaron Brown Sound blog! Come back soon for more posts about video game audio, audio engineering, sound design, composing and all other things relating to being an audio professional 🙂

Linked In Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/aaronbrownsound

Demo Reels: http://www.aaronbrownsound.com/resume-awards-demo-reel/

About: http://www.aaronbrownsound.com/about/