Asbjoern Andersen


Michael Theiler and the team at Kpow Sounds have done game audio for titles such as L.A. Noire and The Banner Saga. About a year ago, they decided to create their own sound effect libraries – an experience that proved far more challenging than expected. But today, they’ve got two brand-new libraries out – and here’s how they went from the initial idea to the final products:
 

Creating sounds is fun. It’s a joy, a creative process that sees you learning everyday while exercising your creativity.

Like many disciplines, it rewards effort and practice with new skills, faster workflow, and an ever expanding horizon of possibilities. I love it, I do it pretty much every day, therefore creating sounds as part of a sound library seemed a logical move.

I’d thought about it for years, but hadn’t actually put anything together. The decision to go for it came about a year ago now.

Twelve or so months to go from “let’s make sound libraries and sell them!” to actually having anything worth selling. It was something I didn’t take lightly, and was definitely a journey.

Part of the reason for the time taken to get to this point is that there already exists a wealth of amazing independent sound effect libraries out there that are doing a great job at providing quality, useful sounds. Guys such as Tim Prebble, Frank Bry, Paul Virostek, Stephan Schutze, the guys at Echo Collective, there are too many to list.

They all provide quality sounds, well edited, named and organised and professionally promoted. Joining these guys requires considerable effort to present similar high quality work.

Because there are so many already doing it, there are less useful things yet to be recorded. You need to be creative, or unusually perceptive in figuring out what sound post professionals might need.

I would sometimes find an area where sound effects libraries were lean or didn’t exist

For me working on so many varied game audio projects meant I had to provide incredibly varied sound design, and I would sometimes find an area where sound effects libraries were lean or didn’t exist.

I would note these for the future.

But I still felt a little insecure putting myself in the presence of those guys, knowing the level of quality I would need to provide.

Also, figuring out what sounds to create is only part of the problem, and probably one of the more ‘fun’ issues you will face. Next comes the hard graft.
 

Testing the waters

I tested the waters by creating a user interface collection for Unity users as my first experiment in sound effect library creation.. In hindsight I think over-complicated it.

The UI Collection is made up of 14 separate sound packs. Each contains sounds that sit together nicely, and each contains various types of ‘enter’ ‘select’ ‘scroll’ ‘back’ and ‘error’ sounds. Each sound also has subtle variations for replayability.

My thinking was that this would give an efficient way of quickly providing a cohesive User Interface experience with all the required sounds sitting well together, ready for implementation.

Seemed like a good idea. But the amount of editing, cataloging, exporting, file-naming was incredible.

Protools

A ProTools session containing just the audio files used for the previews for the UI soundpacks

Keeping everything consistent and labelled in such a way that it was obvious what sounds fitted where, what their functions were, and including variations and different sounds with the same function. A nightmare. I got through it, and learned a huge amount in the process.

I will be adding the library to the available libraries as I hope people will find use for it, but I think the pain in creating it overshadows its usefulness. I guess the market will decide!
 

Time for fun

With that project wrapped, the next I tackled and our first release was the Toots & Squeaks collection. As we have been working on a number of children’s games for iOS, we’ve needed fun, sometimes comedic, sometimes just accents, or descriptive vertical and horizontal type sounds.

I had a difficult time sourcing them, so these sounds became our first library.

Tools of the trade

Tools of the trade

Consisting of toy whistles, squeeze toys, slide whistle and melody pops, and a variety of horns, the intention was to create a great palette of highlights, punctuations and accents that I would have liked to have found in a library when working on these games.

I was a lot more prepared for the task ahead with this library. I knew I had to be organised, consistent, and well-planned in order to present something at a level required to compete in this market.

Each recording session I set up in the same way, with the tracks all being fed from the same mics to the same channels.

I would dump, edit and label the recording sessions before booking the next one. This made a big difference to my workflow. It doesn’t sound like much, but I get a bit crazy and single-minded and probably a bit manic when I have a mountain of boring, menial work to get through.

Exporting and naming files is for me just that. But it is important – really important. It has to be done right.

So splitting it up into the smallest, most manageable chunks works really well for me. Being consistent with the file-naming and metadata is also very important. It took a few goes for me to figure out a system.

If anyone is about to attempt it, have a plan, then go through adding all your metadata, but be mentally prepared to go back and edit up your early work.

Often a good system doesn’t really present itself till a quarter or a third of the way through all the files.

This could just be me, others may be better at organising and compartmentalising, but I found I would need to go back and redo a lot of my work to be sure it all felt consistent enough for release.

There was a great sense of relief having completed all that, but then the next step is just as important – the packaging.
 

Preparing to ship

I used WinRAR to compress the libraries, as it gets far better compression than zipping achieved. I created sample files that can be compressed to mp3 to help people decide whether the library is right for them.

Some of the people creating sound libraries use videos, and I think this can create more buzz and be more accessible for a lot of people thinking of buying the library.

It is something that I would like to do in the future, but right now I have no way of creating high quality footage, and anything but high quality material would cheapen the product, so I decided to stay with mp3 files for previews. I hope this provides a level of preview people are happy with.

If you have the means, planning video capture of your recording session into your workflow would be hugely beneficial later on in the shopfront, preview and promo phases.


Popular on A Sound Effect right now - article continues below:


Trending right now:

  • Car Sound Effects Extreme Drift Play Track 360 sounds included, 220 mins total $49

    The Extreme Drift SFX library includes 360 HQ (24bit/96kHz) close and distant range perspective, auto racing recordings. Audio material of vehicles, drifting and maneuvering around race tracks at various speeds and densities taking corners and speeding on long straightaways.

    You will find idle engine sounds, powerful engine revs, slow and fast starts, crazy accelerations and wild breaking, roaring overtakings, tandem battles, tire screeches and skids echoing beautifully in the air. The audio found in our library is not limited to startups, shutdowns and gear shifts, but also offers ambiences of pit lane and working team crews.

  • Mechanical Sound Effects Old Engines Grab Bag Play Track 486 sounds included, 265 mins total $129

    “Old Engines Grab Bag” is a pack of numerous old, unique and characterful engines from early 1900s. It’s a massive collection of 56GB multitrack 192kHz recordings of old tractors and stationary engines, both diesel and gasoline fueled.

    The intention wasn’t to cover vehicles driving, but to get isolated and very closely recorded mechanical elements of engines and exhaust pipes as a source material for sound design. There are many starts, idles, revs, offs, RPMs variations, backfires etc. Some are heavy and large sounding, some are small and funny. Tractors were captured EXT and most of stationary engines INT, but since they are very closely recorded there is just a little amount of reverb on most of them.

    Most of engines are 1 or 2 cylinders and low horse power and their RPMs are also low. Thanks to this, many of those sounds aren’t tonal and can easily be used as additional layer with other design elements. They work great for adding vintage character, designing junky or funny vehicles, crazy huge steampunk machines or engines malfunction.

    Sounds were recorded using multi-mic setup: Sanken CO-100k (most of the time pointing mechanical parts), Sennheiser MKH-8060 (mainly for isolated exhaust pipe), Schoeps CMC6XT mk41/mk8 (general image) and part also with Trance Audio Inducer contact mics (adding unique mechanical perspective).

    The library is delivered as multitrack 192kHz files, as well as stereo mix of all microphones. Thanks to using microphones with extended frequency range, drastic pitch changes can be applied.
    All files have extensive metadata created in Soundminer, including leg picker with microphone labels.

    Demo files include pitched sounds, which are not delivered with library.

  • This pack includes 13 magic sounds, including fireball, water, lightning, curse and healing spells. Elevate your game’s enchanting atmosphere instantly with this expertly crafted sound collection.

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  • Looking for baby sounds? So were we, and here's roughly how long it took to capture them: It took a very, very long time and lots of patience to gather this precious collection of laughing, dreaming, grouching, coughing, crying, shouting, talking, weeping, whining, burping and babbling bundles of joy.

    We invited a lot of babies at the age from 3 to 24 months – boys and girls – to our studio.

    They followed our call, brought their parents and the funny and often loud recordings started. We also equipped every new parent in our office with our best microphones and recorders and instructed them on how to record their own babies at home. You'll just love the multicolored, sweet and piercing high-quality recordings.

    The library comes with 152 files in 96kHz/24bit High Definition Audio and has a size of more than 500MB. All sounds are royalty free, guaranteeing you best quality as always.


Latest releases:

  • User Interface (UI) Sound Effects Casual UI Play Track 3345 sounds included From: $129 From: $103.20

    CASUAL SOUND IN SERIOUS QUALITY

    Capture the attention with our expertly created UI sound effects, designed to delight and engage. Crafted for menu navigation, gameplay, rewards, and more to cover the core aspects of any casual game, video, or mobile experience. This collection is set to be go-to pool of sounds and will make your user interface sound design quick and easy. Drag, drop, and finish!

    CASUAL UI | Sound Effects | Trailer

    Upgrade your UI

    CASUAL UI covers a wide spectrum of sounds specifically designed for every aspect of a user interface and brings a playful dose of life into every tap, swipe, and click. With 15 categories, these high-quality, diverse sounds are created to be your UI sound foundation, providing you with the immediate flexibility you need to create an engaging auditory landscape.

    Feedback sounds

    Gaming and interactive content rely on sound to give feedback for actions and information. This casual games sound effects library was curated to give everything you need to build a positive and easy-going sonic base for your UI. From the excitement of discovering new game levels to achieving major milestones, these sounds transform user interactions into fun, memorable moments and keep audiences eager for more.

    From arcade to how-to
    With sounds that span from quirky and playful to neatly informative, CASUAL UI is a treasure trove designed to meet diverse creative needs – from positive videos to explainer content, and more – making it an indispensable tool in any content creator’s arsenal.

    INCLUDED SOUNDS – KEYWORDS
    CLICK, PLOP, WIPE, WHOOSH, CARD, COIN, POOF, EXPLOSION, IMPACT, SHIMMER, RATTLE, EFFECT, MATERIAL WOOD, MATERIAL PAPER, MATERIAL LIQUID, MATERIAL ROCK, UI, GAME, INTERFACE, MOBILE

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  • Embark on an auditory journey into the heart of Asian gambling with our meticulously crafted collection of royalty-free music and sound effects. Immerse your players in a world of captivating audio that’ll leave them craving more!

     

    WHAT’S INSIDE?

    Delve into the authentic sounds of Asia with our comprehensive library, featuring a diverse array of audio assets meticulously tailored for the most beloved Asian gambling games, including:

    🀄 Mahjong: Experience the timeless allure of this classic game with custom tile sounds, winning effects, and atmospheric background music that perfectly captures the essence of traditional gameplay.

    🎰 Pachinko: Feel the electric buzz of the arcade with dynamic sound effects that bring the thrill of pachinko machines to life. From bouncing balls to jackpot celebrations, our library has it all!

    🃏 Baccarat: Immerse yourself in the sophistication of the casino floor with elegant card shuffling, dealing, and winning effects that add an extra layer of excitement to every hand.

    But wait, there’s more! Our library also includes audio assets perfect for other popular Asian gambling games such as SIC BO, TAI SAI, FAN-TAN, DRAGON TIGER, CHO-HAN, KENO, PAI GOW POKER, and many more. Plus, enjoy a selection of card, dice, and poker chip sounds, as well as win jingles and music loops – complimentary gifts from some of our related products!


    ASIAN GAMBLING GAMES at a Glance:

    • 380 Audio Files (190 original sounds) in High-Quality WAV and MP3 formats
    • Sound Effects and Foley Recordings for every table and machine game mentioned
    • Background Environment Loops, short Music Jingles, and Loops included
    • Ready to use – no editing or splicing required
    • Categorized, organized, and individually labeled files for maximum efficiency
    • Unpacked Size: 161 MB | Total Run Time: 23m 48s
    • Drag and Drop Ready Files for seamless integration into your projects!
    • FREE Updates to higher versions, FOREVER!

     


    With over 1000 games worth of experience in audio production and a passion for gaming, we understand the importance of high-quality audio in creating immersive experiences. Our library is curated to ensure every sound is top-notch, allowing you to focus on creating unforgettable games that keep players coming back for more.



    READY TO ELEVATE YOUR GAMING PROJECTS TO NEW HEIGHTS?

    DON’T DELAY – DOWNLOAD NOW AND IMMERSE YOUR PLAYERS IN THE ULTIMATE ASIAN GAMBLING EXPERIENCE!

     

     

    Need more card, dice, chip, and coin sounds? Looking for additional table game sounds or Asian casino music? Explore our related products below:

    👉 Cards, Chips, and Dice Sound Effects with Dealer Voiceovers
    👉 Scratch Card Sound Effects and Music
    👉 Roulette Sound Effects with Dealer Voiceovers
    👉 Slots of Asia: China and Japan
    👉 Progressive Slots and Classic Fruit Machines

    GRAB YOURS NOW AND LET THE SOUNDS OF ASIA INSPIRE YOUR NEXT GAMING MASTERPIECE!

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  • Royal Cannon is a mini sound library created by sound designer Barney Oram. It features recordings of a British royal cannon salute, fired by six WW1 field guns in February of 2020, to mark the 68th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne. All sounds in the library are contained within one single 192kHz 24bit WAV file, with 23 individual takes contained within.

    These recordings were made using the Neumann 191, and have been decoded into a stereo file. The recordings have had some light cleanup but have been left mostly natural, with the sounds of the soldiers shouting and reloading the guns still audible.

    This library includes detailed SoundMiner metadata and utilizes the UCS system for ease of integration into your library.

    Behind the Scenes Video:


    Royal Cannon


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  • Over 375 sounds of creaking materials, including breaking cables, ropes under tension and about to split, wires and strings under stress, metal friction causing tension. Recorded with a combination of Sanken CO100K and Nevaton microphones for full frequency sound content. Saved as 192KHz these files allow for high resolution editing. Useful for impact sounds in cinema, games or documentary, but also for cartoon sounds or even creature sounds as many of the recordings contain vowel-like screeching and scraping.

    Imagine a scene where a rope is about to break over an edge, an object being torn by a huge cable, a wooden structure about to collapse under stress and so on… Our brain is triggered by those rattling sounds or spine-breaking cracks coming from little fibers being split apart, parts of the structure creaking, wires scraping over edges…

    These sounds can be perceived as delicate but have a great psychological impact as we interpret these and know what is about to happen. So suspense is built with both background and close-up sounds. Useful when building tension, when creating a sense of upcoming climax, these sonic elements will work out to amplify the details that are often important but not always visible for the eye.

    All the source material and recording are acoustic, there are no digital effects applied. This guarantees natural organic harmonics, even way beyond our hearing. Pitching down the 192 KHz files will let you discover another collection of sounds!

     

  • This pack includes 13 magic sounds, including fireball, water, lightning, curse and healing spells. Elevate your game’s enchanting atmosphere instantly with this expertly crafted sound collection.

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Need specific sound effects? Try a search below:


Setting up shop

The shopfront and selling the libraries phase is currently where I find myself.

At first it was fairly daunting. Deciding on the correct method of delivery is difficult. I found a solution that works for me. It’s locally based so can deliver funds direct to our bank account, it uses Amazon’s S3 storage, so should be quick for people downloading, and payment can be made in a few convenient ways.

It’s called Selz, but as I say, its based locally to me, so may not be the best option for everyone. Do your research, there are many options out there.

The Kpow Sounds ShopFor me the important aspects where allowing for PayPal but also having non PayPal options, having storage and download of digital goods as part of the package, and having a clean and neat look.

Being relatively simple to setup was also an important element.

All that’s left now is getting my libraries known to as many people as possible. It’s hard to say how effective one can be at this. I’ve built up some networks already, so am certainly not coming into this dry.

I know that the game audio and sound post networks are very supportive and are lovely people, so I am pretty sure I’ll be able to get the word out and connect with the people who could use the libraries I create.

I hope this has been some help to those thinking of also embarking on a similar journey. So far it has been a rewarding experience.

 

Please share this:


 


Thanks a lot to Michael Theiler for sharing the story! Meet him and the team on Twitter and check out the brand new sound effect libraries below:

  • You get 1,074 individual sounds, in 14 separate soundpacks containing variations on all the sounds.

    Included are all commonly required sounds needed for a comprehensive UI experience.

  • Industrial Ambiences – perfect for realistic industrial settings, adjacent to factories, dockyards, warehouses. Subtle intricate backgrounds, eerie man-made areas and horror ambiences. All files at least four minutes in length.

    Industrial Disquiet highlights:

    • 53 Tracks Total (25 Day time Tracks, 28 Night time Tracks)
    • High Resolution Photographs of Recording Locations Included
    • Thorough UCS compatible metadata included in all files
    • All tracks recorded and edited at 24bit, 96kHz
    • Each Track around 4 Minutes in Length
    • 6.9 GB compressed download, 7.5 GB uncompressed

  • This library consists of hundreds of performances (581 files total) of toy whistles, clown and bicycle horns, slide whistles, melody pops, party blowers and squeeze toys most with distant and near recording variations.

    UCS compatible Metadata has been meticulously redone ensuring searches are no longer bloated with unnecessary results, and the amount of fun is instantly forefronted in your searches.

    Toots & Sqeaks highlights:

    • 581 broadcast wave files
    • All at 24 bit, 96kHz
    • 4.81 uncompressed gigabytes of audio data
    • Most takes include stereo, mono and distant microphone perspectives
    • Metadata carefully added to each audio file ready for efficient searching



 
 
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