Dolby Atmos Game Audio Tutorial Asbjoern Andersen

Curious how you can make use of Dolby Atmos and object audio in your game? Black Edge Sound Studios created an in-depth production series for Dolby Interactive on how you can make it happen - and here, Nick Dixon talks you through the content contained in this series, and how it can answer some of the big questions developers still have on how to employ this technology in their games:
Words & videos by Nick Dixon
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As spatial sound becomes the new standard for interactive audio, our need as a professional industry to develop audio production solutions, skills and experience using this format is more essential than ever. For sound teams looking to compete at the top level of audio production in video games, spatial sound using Dolby Atmos is now a core ingredient to success. Dolby have always been at the forefront of developing new audio technologies that go on to be adopted as mainstream professional standards and they continue to be the leading technology provider for spatial sound in games, film and streaming based media.

Dolby have now released a production series to support interactive developers as they move towards an object based audio production environment that features the latest in spatial sound technology. This series features 3 episodes and an Unreal Engine 4 showcase environment using object based audio. Dolby have collaborated with Black Edge Sound Studios, an audio outsource service provider working with Dolby technologies, to produce this series.

I am a sound designer and audio director at Black Edge Sound Studios, and I’ll be demonstrating the steps needed to convert your existing pipeline into a 7.1.4 object based audio mix. Over the course of my career as a sound designer I’ve gained experience working in multiple AAA studio based game audio pipelines. This series aims to provide solutions to a number of common challenges faced by interactive teams using object audio for the first time in an existing project. New production approaches and techniques are also discussed in the series which covers a number of options sound designers have to generate a spatial audio design and what file formats can be used to deliver spatially active content in your sound mix.


Part 1 – Dolby Atmos in the Box

In this first episode, I will take users through the setup process required to integrate Dolby Atmos for Headphones in your team working practices and daily activities, which is the first essential step to integrating Dolby Atmos object based audio into your production environment. I also cover basic concepts of the Dolby Atmos format and how using Dolby Atmos for Headphones can improve your team’s productivity, creativity and quality of output.

DR-0NE Production Series

Part 2 – 3D Audio Production

In the second installment of this Dolby production series on Atmos for interactive development, I detail the different production approaches used to create a Dolby Atmos object based mix. Episode 2 breaks down the components of a 3D audio mix looking at positioning techniques and bed mix file formats that can be employed in a spatial sound design.

Ambience and backgrounds design for Dolby Atmos is one specific area where sound designers agree there are more significant creative and technical challenges in the content creation process when compared to other surround sound formats that use 2D playback systems. We can simplify this process by breaking down these challenges and providing detailed solutions on how to design 3D ambience mixes using mixed source content recorded in 2D formats then assembled as a design aesthetic for a specific location, theme or game feature. I’ll also compare these results against 2D stereo ambience mixes and discuss why using stereo files may not be an optimal design approach for surround and spatial formats such as Dolby Atmos.

Episode 2 also features visual diagrams on surround sound and 3D audio mixing. My team and I will demonstrate Unreal Engine working with Wwise using object based audio which is passed through the Dolby Atmos for Headphones encoder for monitoring. This configuration and the production approaches discussed can be adopted by developers looking to upgrade their sound design pipeline to use 3D object based audio. Whether you have a live production build or you are still in the early development phase, this episode will provide 3D audio solutions for your creative team to consider and gives a solid production framework to base your spatial sound design around.

DR-0NE Production Series

Part 3 – Interactive Audio

In the third and final installment of this Dolby production series, I’ll focus on interactive mixing using the Dolby Atmos format and how this can improve scaling for different playback systems and user configurations. We’ll talk briefly with Alexander Fielding, re-recording mixer, about how Dolby Atmos mixes translate from headphones to speaker systems. Alex and I will also discuss the difference between Dolby Atmos for home entertainment compared to theatrical Dolby Atmos and why video game sound mixes should be designed for the Dolby Atmos home entertainment standard. You can take a quick tour of the Dolby certified mix facilities at Creative Outpost, this is the flagship sound studio where Black Edge complete their final mixing for productions using the Dolby Atmos Home Entertainment standard.

DR-0NE Production Series

A big thanks to Nick Dixon for the insights! Learn more about Dolby Atmos here, Black Edge Sound Studios here, and discover some of the studio’s sound effects libraries here.


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A Sound Effect gives you easy access to an absolutely huge sound effects catalog from a myriad of independent sound creators, all covered by one license agreement - a few highlights:

  • Human Sound Effects Crowds: Emotions And Reactions Play Track 400 sounds included, 90 mins total $47.40

    This SFX library contains a wide range of reactions and emotional responses varying from quiet crowds to roared battle cries to a large selection of exclamations generated by a group of passionate theatrical actors in indoor venues.

    Apart from the vocalizations, we’ve also included recordings of more unusual crowd ambiances like people walking around the mics, falling down, sitting down and getting up, jumping around, marching, or just being present in the space.

    Crowds library is split into the following two parts:

    Small Groups: Includes small groups of up to 30 people which you can layer together and quickly create the sound of any sized realistic groups of people.

    Large Crowds: Brings pre-designed, easy-to-use sounds of medium to large crowds in various types of reactions, moods, and surroundings.

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    Ends 1722031199
  • “The Shoe Collection: Dirt- Knee High Boot“ by Periscope Post & Audio, provides 22 high quality footsteps files in dirt with the knee high boot.  The audio files are recorded at 24bit, 192k with mono and stereo recordings.  The Sennheiser MKH-60 was used for the mono files with a slightly more distant mic placement than the stereo files, which were recorded with the Sennheiser MKH8050 and the Sennheiser MKH-30 near the shoe.  From different walking speeds, to jogging, sprinting, jumping, hard stops, scuffs, and more!  There are several performances with each file to fit the right action you need.  That’s a whopping 268 footsteps between the mono and stereo files!

    These sound files are also UCS metadata tagged

  • Creature Sound Effects WINGS Play Track 1444+ sounds included From: $99

    We are extremely proud to present our first library, WINGS – a one-of-a-kind sound library.

    From tiny insects to small birds, from fairies to dragons, WINGS offers a creative palette with a diverse range of sounds to choose from.

    With over 1400 files (more than 4 GB for the 192 kHz version ) we’re confident you will find the perfect sound.

    When purchasing WINGS you get 2 packs, our Design category that includes 180 files and the Source category that offers more than 1200 sounds. Featuring the very best of our foley sessions.

    All single flaps have been careful edited, allowing for unique speed or rate adjustments.

    Pick your preferred version at the introductory prices below:

Explore the full, unique collection here

Latest sound effects libraries:
  • Environments & Ambiences Chimney Wind Play Track 30 sounds included, 93 mins total $7

    There was a massive storm going on outside and we could hear the wind from the chimney so we popped our field recording kit up and extended the microphones to as far as they would go up the chimney and pressed record. We managed to capture the low end and rumbles of the wind interacting with the chimney.

    We then tried adding some reverb on to the samples to give space and context which wasn’t exactly part of the plan for this sample pack but we thought it added something so decided to add these samples to the sample pack for no extra cost.

    Chimney Wind will give you enough audio to give your project the authentic sound of wind from a chimney stack, boosting your project to the next level. Chimney Wind has been edited to allow a drop in ready and Royalty Free sample pack. These Samples can be used in a variety of projects from Sound Designing/Compositions for TV, Film, Documentaries and Video Games. UCS Compliant and Metadata is attached to the samples

  • Door Sound Effects Small Furniture Workshop Play Track 17+ sounds included, 52 mins total $15

    This library is recorded in a small furniture workshop where office furniture is sawn and created. We recorded the sounds of the factory so that they can be easily combined together to create a workshop of any scale.

    Here’s What We Recorded:

    • Large circular saw

    • Drill

    • Doors

    • General work noises

    • Industrial Spaces

    Microphones were placed at varying distances from the recording subjects. Many recordings were created using a LOM Geofon contact microphone.



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  • Rolling thunder, rain in the city or in the countryside – these are the sounds that are included in the collection “Thunderstorm Rain Vol.1”.

    These sounds are well suited for creating a stormy, rainy atmosphere for movies, games and other audio-visual content.

    All sounds are recorded in WAV format, 96 kHz, 24 bit.


    The following sounds are included:

    • Atmosphere of Thunderstorm in City Outside Window
    • Drops of Thunderstorm Rain on Windowsill
    • Heavy Rain
    • Pouring Rain
    • Rain Hurricane Rattle Metal Plate Loop
    • Rain in the Gazebo
    • Rain In the Village
    • Rain on Windowsill and City Traffic
    • Rain Thunderstorm on City Traffic Background
    • Rainy Atmosphere with Thunderstorm in City
    • The End of the Thunderstorm
    • Thunderstorm
    • Thunderstorm Rain Intensifies
    • Thunder FX


    Product Details:

    • 82 GB
    • 96kHz/24-Bit
    • 73 WAV files

    Thunderstorm Rain Vol.1 – Sound List

  • “Sci-Fi Textures and Loops” are unique sound effects in WAV 24 Bit 96 kHz format that are suitable for creating a dark, mysterious, alien atmosphere when creating science fiction films, games, and music tracks.

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  • The Reindeer/Caribou sound effect library has 150 audio files and over 500 individual sounds. Including:

    • Isolated vocalizations of adults, young calves, and newborn calves, including grunts and nickers
    • Isolated mouth and nose sounds, including breaths, exhales, inhales, snorts, coughs, smacking, swallowing, sniffs, burps, and gurgles
    • Herd activity, including resting, moving, herding and round-up
    • Real and foley bells
    • Antlers clashing
    • Footsteps, walking and running on different surfaces
    • Eating and drinking
    • Sleeping/Resting
    • Digging snow

    Reindeer/Caribou - Sound Effect Library

    Most of these sounds have been recorded with a collar microphone on reindeer, so the sounds are extremely intimate, isolated, and close-up. The collar microphone was attached to a female reindeer with a calf, which captured the most intimate moments. The collar microphone also recorded many other reindeer in the herd, so there are a lot of unique reindeer vocalizations.

    This sound effect library also contains all 33 files from my previous Reindeer sound effect library.

    Note regarding the naming of the animal: Wikipedia says that “Reindeer is the European name for the species of Rangifer, while in North America, Rangifer species are known as Caribou”. So, you can use the same sounds for each of them because, at least in terms of sound, they are nearly identical!

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