Game Audio at GDC 2019 Asbjoern Andersen


Like an alarm clock that rings and throws you bolt-upright out of bed, this year’s Game Developers Conference is swiftly upon us. Packed with more presentations that you can shake a stick at, this year’s hot tips focus on things happening outside the conference and are (mostly) accessible to anyone in San Francisco who is up for some good ol’ game audio. Here’s what’s happening!


Guest post by Damian Kastbauer



 
Sunday, February 26th
DesigningSound.Org Meetup
4:00pm-7:00pm

Maybe you’re hitting the town early, soaking up the San Francisco ambience. If you’re not too busy exploring the Musée Mécanique or drifting away with the Wave Organ, drop by the DesigningSound.org meetup on Sunday afternoon and kick the week off celebrating the scene with some of the folks behind this incredible resource.

RSVP recommended but not required. Details here.

Monday through Saturday
Sightglass Game Audio Podcast Meetups
7:00am-9:00am

Arriving bleary-eyed at 7am for coffee and conversation during the week at GDC is the best/worst thing you could do for yourself throughout the conference. Best, because the brew at Sightglass (7th & Folsom) is worth talking about for the rest of the year. They also allow a motley crew of game audio folks to ascend to their 2nd floor balcony and hold court and wax philosophically about the unfolding day’s game audio epiphanies. Worst, because 7-9am amirite? (I bet you don’t have anything else scheduled during that time though, do you?)

 
[tweet_box]Damian Kastbauer’s Guide to Game Audio at GDC 2017[/tweet_box]  
Monday through Friday
Carousel Con
Lunchtime (Behind the Carousel on the Grassy Knoll)
12:00pm-2:00pm

Brown-bag your way behind the carousel on the corner of 4th & Howard to the concrete stairs for an informal gathering of folks bursting with inspiration. This is a chance to stretch out in the sun (hopefully), grab a bite, and soak up some of the knowledge folks have gleaned throughout the morning’s presentations or adventures. Some of my favorite memories have come from deep conversations shared by anyone and everyone who coagulates. (Bonus points for the mass carousel ride at the end of Friday’s lunchtime.)
This year marks the first Carousel Con, a micro-talk formatted conference that will take place simultaneously off in a corner of the area and will feature speakers sharing their game audio knowledge (in short-form 10 minute bursts) with a circle of interested people. Organized by Matthew Marteinsson, Mike Csurics, Fryda Wolff (and a little help from me), there will be buttons, ribbons, and opportunities for folks to walk up and submit a talk for a chance to jump on the stump and share your passions.

Tuesday, February 28th
Audio Bootcamp
10:00am-6:00pm

Tuesday’s Audio Bootcamp signals the official start of the Audio Track at GDC and is a powerhouse of professionals prepared to submerge the packed room in a comprehensive game audio master class. Matthew Lee Johnston kicks it off with an alarm call for audio developers in his talk titled “GREAT AUDIO DESIGN: BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY” followed quickly by Tomas Neumann (one of the audio programmers on Overwatch) breaking down “AUDIO TECH 101”. We’re then treated to a presentation by Steve Green, Lead Sound Designer and Music Implementor, which leverages his experience on ABZÛ titled “INTERACTIVE MUSIC APPROACHES”. This takes us right into the “LUNCHTIME SURGERIES” where tables full of bootcamp attendees have an opportunity to chat casual-like with all of the presenters while noshing.

The afternoon lineup has some wonders to share! Khris Brown gets the crowd revved up with “FIGHTING LEGOS: AUDIO CHOREOGRAPHY FOR BATTLE DESIGN” which promises to be a workout of vocalization sound, and then Matt Piersall will demonstrate “PERFORMANCE BASED SOUND DESIGN” drawing from his experience creating sound for AAA games. One of the forerunners of VR Audio, Sally Kellaway, will be speaking on “APPROACHING AND DESIGNING AUDIO FOR INTERACTIVE VR APPLICATIONS” and will be sharing experience gleaned from her time working in VR, and then Leonard Paul will bring his considerable expertise as a game composer and educator to explain “DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO GAME MUSIC”. Rounding out the day is Bonnie Bogovich and her presentation “PARTY OF ONE: HOW TO BE ‘THE AUDIO DEPARTMENT'”. All-in-all, a tremendous breadth of information from every corner of the game audio universe. All of these are absolute musts!


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


Trending right now:

  • MAGIC SOUND EFFECTS REDEFINED
     
    Enter the world of MAGIC – ARCANE FORCES, where supernatural entities can be heard raging with ultimate power and fury. The distinctly forceful and kinetic character of this comprehensive sound effects library and its designs is supported by countless pristine source recordings of the elements being pushed to their limits. Whether in post production or sound design for games, MAGIC – ARCANE FORCES gives you the edge on the other side.

    WHAT’S INSIDE:
    INCLUDED SOUNDS – KEYWORDS
    ACID, ARCANE, BARRIER, BREATH, BUFF, CURSED, DEBUFF, DIVINE, ELECTRIC, ENERGY, FIRE, GLASS, ICE, IMPACT, LIGHT, LIQUID, METAL, PROCESSED, PROJECTILE, RUMBLE, SEQUENCE, SUMMON, SWEETENER, SWISH, TELEPORT, TEXTURE, VOICE, WATER, WHOOSH, WIND
  • Magic & Fantasy Sound Effects Magic Elements vol.1 Play Track 770 sounds included $119

    Please Note: You get a better deal by buying this library in the Magic Elements vol 1 – 2 bundle here

    ‘Magic Elements’ is a detailed collection of designed & source sounds of organic elements, actions, characters, items, spells & atmospheres in the realm of Magic.


    DESIGNED:
    In the designed section you will find 326 carefully crafted sounds.
    Volume 1 of this magic saga is comprehensively focused on 6 elements:
    Earth, Ice, Fire, Air, Black, and Generic.

    Each element comes with a variety of spells, actions/movements such as whoosh, impacts, atmospheres, projectiles, along with many variations in intensity and speed.

    All these sounds are carefully designed, edited and meta-tagged.

    The ‘generic’ category contains handy neutral go-to sounds that are useful for any project.

    SOURCE:
    The source folder is packed with 444 useful sounds that cover a large spectrum; thoroughly edited and meta-tagged. They will support your creativity with materials such as choirs, dissonant metal, creatures, papers, debris, drones, cracks, textures, friction, LFE sub sweeteners,…

    What’s inside:

    • Impacts, Whoosh, Air Swirls,
    • Fireball, Deflagration, Flame Thrower, Deep Sub Whoosh
    • Aura, Energy Stone, Old Grimoire, Healing,
    • Earthquake, Constant Debris, Falling Rocks, Ground Friction,
    • Haunted Books,Laboratory, Magic Box, Potion
    • Huge Ground Opening, Eerie Drones,
    • Dark Choir, Ominous Creatures, Dark Dissonant Metal Scrape,
    • Iceberg Destruction, Ice Scrapes, LFE Sub Sweeteners,


    Choose how you want your sounds!
    2 DOWNLOAD OPTIONS INCLUDED:

    • GLUED (Multiple variations of the same sound glued in one file)

    • SEPARATED (Each variations of sound are separated in different files)

  • Metal Sound Effects MetalMotion Play Track 2000+ sounds included, 239 mins total $110

    MetalMotion is a sound design construction kit that contains four hours of moving metal mayhem: clicks and clanks, rolls and drags, wronks and squeals, scrapes and rattles, ranging from from tiny to monstrous. Nathan Moody’s unique performances with unusual combinations of props produce everything from Foley-like movements to intense groans and howls.

    Whether you’re covering a robot’s movements, sweetening weapon Foley, making crafting or pick-up sounds in a game, placing unusual layers beneath a kaiju’s roar, or crushing a submarine with undersea pressure, this collection covers the full range of subtle to raucous. Each file has many performance variations for creative choice and game audio asset creation.

    While there are some tasty impacts within, this library’s true focus is on characterful movements: handling, rummaging, opens, closes, ratchets, swirls, rolls, drags, drops, spins, rubs, zuzzes, and bows. Metal containers, filing cabinets, modern appliances, vintage (and very rusty) tools, cymbals, bells, grills, plates, bars, rods, and tubes, and many other props lent their voices to this collection.

    This UCS-compliant library was recorded with a combination of standard, contact, and ultrasonic-capable microphones through Millennia preamps. Sample rates vary based on the amount of ultrasonic content in each file. The audio files are mastered for realism, ready for extreme processing and pitch shifting of your own, but still useful in more grounded contexts.

  • A comprehensive sound library from the enchanting world of the Middle Ages featuring meticulously recorded elements that come together harmoniously to create a realm of realism that transports your audience back in time, including isolated elements, acoustic impulse responses, noiseprints, and ambience loops.

    Medieval Towns and Villages - Full Library Presentation

Latest releases:

  • Empower Your Compositions with Authentic Medieval Phrases.
    [Note: This product requires a FULL version of Native Instruments’ KONTAKT or Steinbergs free HALion Sonic]

    Embark on a journey through time with the latest addition to the MEDIEVAL PHRASES series: FIDDLE & NYCKELHARPA. With the Fiddle, with its rich and expressive tones, coupled with the Nyckelharpa’s distinctive resonant strings, we invite you to capture the mood of medieval times. Composers and producers can now use dramatic live performances by outstanding performers or freely play their instruments with varied articulations.

    Imagine the bustling markets and vibrant festivals of late medieval Europe, where the rhythm and bounce of the Fiddle & Nyckelharpa set feet tapping and light the hearts of weary travelers. These instruments were the lifeblood of celebration, often heard at markets and taverns above the chatter of merchants and the laughter of children. Their history is woven through countless generations, where they not only provided entertainment but also served as a cultural heartbeat during times of both hardship and prosperity.

    MEDIEVAL PHRASES FIDDLE & NYCKLEHARPA carry within tales of the past, each string resonating with stories untold. The Fiddle’s bow dances across strings to produce a vibrant, rhythmic melody, while the Nyckelharpa’s keyed fiddle design adds an otherworldly depth. These sounds, once echoing through medieval tavern halls and open markets, are now crisply captured for the modern composer. With MEDIEVAL PHRASES, breathe new life into your medieval compositions, delivering an authentic experience that is both profound and exhilarating.

    20 %
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    Ends 1709765999
  • Volleyball Match Ambience provides three distinct soundscapes spread through long, evolving and captivating sound recordings from Portugal’s primary masculine and feminine leagues, in addition to a regional match.

    This is a highly intense and balanced sport characterized by its fast-paced nature, emphasis on teamwork and strategic play, where players use a combination of spiking, blocking, setting, and serving techniques to gain an advantage and outmaneuver their opponents. The game is played on a rectangular court divided by a net, with each team aiming to score points by grounding the ball on the opposing team’s side.

    All recordings were attained from a centered front-row seat position in crystal-clear stereo, meaning you have all the necessary field-of-play interactions, in addition to varied crowd reactions ranging from diverse support chants, booing, casual conversations, clapping, local team speaker asking for crowd backing, referee whistles, coach instructions and air horns. This versatility of content guarantees full immersion, drama, excitement, intensity and realism for film, television, videogames, podcasts and more. Your audience will be transported courtside in no time.

    The regional match sound files are the longest with a constant stream of clapping and chants from supporters and the players themselves championing their respective team, interspersed with quieter moments, making it ideal for a more balanced volleyball match ambience. Also included in this section are pre-match drills.

    With over three and a half hours of content, this library is your all-access pass to the dynamic, exhilarating world of volleyball.

  • Environments & Ambiences Curated Rain Play Track 39 sounds included, 183 mins total $44.99

    CURATED RAIN – is an extensive sound library containing 39 unique files of rain in varying environments and conditions ranging from city streets, back alleys, parks, forests and windows and heavy walls of rain to gentle and lite drizzles. Including isolated sections of rain as well as rain storms in their entirety. All of our libraries comply with the Universal Category System naming convention standard as well as traditional embedded metadata, allowing for accurate and easy granular searches. Original recordings were captured at 192kHz and 32bit float. Curated Rain (RAW – 192kHz 24bit) comes out to 11.7 GB and 3 hours 3 minutes and 10 seconds in overall length.

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  • Human Sound Effects Applauses Play Track 50 sounds included, 11 mins total $30
    It took me 2 years to create this sound library and for the first time I used AI to create a cover image! 50 applause recordings made in various interior and exterior places, small and big audience, some with cheering and some with only clapping. All files are recorded 32bit, 192kHz with FEL Pluggy EM272 and Sonorous Objects SO.3 microphones, Zoom F3 recorder. The library is also available in UCS.
  • Environments & Ambiences WINTER SCAPE Play Track 33 sounds included, 148 mins total From: $119

    Feel the coldness of winter landscapes. In the heart of the Cantal mountains in France, immerse yourself in a soothing nature or in the cold winter wind.

    All files are embedded with extensive UCS compliant metadata.

Need specific sound effects? Try a search below:


Wednesday, March 1
IASIG Meetup @ Thirsty Bear (661 Howard St)
6:00pm-9:00pm

The IASIG continues to throw one of the best-attended parties during GDC at the Thirsty Bear. For over 20 years, the organization has been a lightning rod for technically-minded interactive audio folks and has been at the forefront of standardization and publications. Mingling with some of the finest minds after the first full day of the Expo Hall is sure to inspire some engaging conversations about some of the exciting things on the show floor. How do the new Nuendo 8 game audio workflows look? What fun is to be had with the new Wwise Authoring Application API? Is there a demo (and how long is the line) for the Valve “Steam Audio” Solution? This will be the first chance to dig deep after submerging in the newest offerings, and it’s a great group of folks to get down with.

Wednesday, March 1
Game Audio Karaoke (177 Eddy St)
Pandora Karaoke
8:00pm-11:00pm

Follow the sound of wild falsetto and pitch-perfect celebrity vocal impressions to the first official(?) Game Audio Karaoke night. Organized by Luca Fusi, this is exactly the kind of bonding experience you might be looking for after a long day of hustle and flow. Bring your setlist, jump in the cue, and sing your life!

Wednesday, March 1
17th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards
6:30pm-8:30pm

The glitz and glam of the Game Developers Choice awards Wednesday night is the hot-ticket to see all of the coolest indies and accomplished developers. With the comedy of Tim Schafer and wit of Nina Freeman celebrating Oscar-style across every game genre and specialty, it’s the perfect opportunity to soak up some paparazzi and party like a game developer rock star.

Thursday, March 2
15th Annual Game Audio Network Guild Awards
7:30pm-9:30pm

The focus on Game Music and Audio makes this an event worth attending. A room full of folks all looking to honor the accomplishments of the last years game audio accomplishments: what could be better than elevating the art of audio to make you feel like part of something much bigger than yourself. This is a great feeling to cultivate because you’ll find that the conference is a great way to understand the role you play (or could play) in developing games.

Friday, March 3rd
SoVGA Meetup – The Hall SF (1028 Market)
5:00pm
Friday Night Foley
(Coordination)

The School of Video Game Audio has been inviting folks for a final hurrah on the last day of GDC in what has become a final meeting before the explosion of a thousand tiny stars that signals the end. Wobble out from the lobby of Moscone one-last-time with people who will be reticent to let the good vibes and experiences go. It’s a time to plan for later in the evening, or for the future of game audio.

Cody Predum & Emily Meo are pulling together an open invitation to let loose on the streets of San Francisco as a wild pack of sound designers with portable recorders. I imagine hanging off fire escapes to capture the perfect squeak, cardboard box physics impact simulations, and plenty of camaraderie. Find them at the SoVGA Party and climb on board…and don’t forget your recorder!

There’s just too much, and there’s something about the max-saturation, living-in-the-moment slip-stream that makes the best laid plans superfluous. So bring your flexibility, your dynamic personality, and above all your kindness and compassion. The best thing is to go with the flow.

See you on the other side!
Damian

A big thanks to Damian for all the great information!
 

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THE WORLD’S EASIEST WAY TO GET INDEPENDENT SOUND EFFECTS:
 
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:

  • Metal Sound Effects MetalMotion Play Track 2000+ sounds included, 239 mins total $110

    MetalMotion is a sound design construction kit that contains four hours of moving metal mayhem: clicks and clanks, rolls and drags, wronks and squeals, scrapes and rattles, ranging from from tiny to monstrous. Nathan Moody’s unique performances with unusual combinations of props produce everything from Foley-like movements to intense groans and howls.

    Whether you’re covering a robot’s movements, sweetening weapon Foley, making crafting or pick-up sounds in a game, placing unusual layers beneath a kaiju’s roar, or crushing a submarine with undersea pressure, this collection covers the full range of subtle to raucous. Each file has many performance variations for creative choice and game audio asset creation.

    While there are some tasty impacts within, this library’s true focus is on characterful movements: handling, rummaging, opens, closes, ratchets, swirls, rolls, drags, drops, spins, rubs, zuzzes, and bows. Metal containers, filing cabinets, modern appliances, vintage (and very rusty) tools, cymbals, bells, grills, plates, bars, rods, and tubes, and many other props lent their voices to this collection.

    This UCS-compliant library was recorded with a combination of standard, contact, and ultrasonic-capable microphones through Millennia preamps. Sample rates vary based on the amount of ultrasonic content in each file. The audio files are mastered for realism, ready for extreme processing and pitch shifting of your own, but still useful in more grounded contexts.

  • A comprehensive sound library from the enchanting world of the Middle Ages featuring meticulously recorded elements that come together harmoniously to create a realm of realism that transports your audience back in time, including isolated elements, acoustic impulse responses, noiseprints, and ambience loops.

    Medieval Towns and Villages - Full Library Presentation
  • Environments & Ambiences Curated Rain Play Track 39 sounds included, 183 mins total $44.99

    CURATED RAIN – is an extensive sound library containing 39 unique files of rain in varying environments and conditions ranging from city streets, back alleys, parks, forests and windows and heavy walls of rain to gentle and lite drizzles. Including isolated sections of rain as well as rain storms in their entirety. All of our libraries comply with the Universal Category System naming convention standard as well as traditional embedded metadata, allowing for accurate and easy granular searches. Original recordings were captured at 192kHz and 32bit float. Curated Rain (RAW – 192kHz 24bit) comes out to 11.7 GB and 3 hours 3 minutes and 10 seconds in overall length.

    25 %
    OFF
    Ends 1709852399
Explore the full, unique collection here

Latest sound effects libraries:
 
  • Empower Your Compositions with Authentic Medieval Phrases.
    [Note: This product requires a FULL version of Native Instruments’ KONTAKT or Steinbergs free HALion Sonic]

    Embark on a journey through time with the latest addition to the MEDIEVAL PHRASES series: FIDDLE & NYCKELHARPA. With the Fiddle, with its rich and expressive tones, coupled with the Nyckelharpa’s distinctive resonant strings, we invite you to capture the mood of medieval times. Composers and producers can now use dramatic live performances by outstanding performers or freely play their instruments with varied articulations.

    Imagine the bustling markets and vibrant festivals of late medieval Europe, where the rhythm and bounce of the Fiddle & Nyckelharpa set feet tapping and light the hearts of weary travelers. These instruments were the lifeblood of celebration, often heard at markets and taverns above the chatter of merchants and the laughter of children. Their history is woven through countless generations, where they not only provided entertainment but also served as a cultural heartbeat during times of both hardship and prosperity.

    MEDIEVAL PHRASES FIDDLE & NYCKLEHARPA carry within tales of the past, each string resonating with stories untold. The Fiddle’s bow dances across strings to produce a vibrant, rhythmic melody, while the Nyckelharpa’s keyed fiddle design adds an otherworldly depth. These sounds, once echoing through medieval tavern halls and open markets, are now crisply captured for the modern composer. With MEDIEVAL PHRASES, breathe new life into your medieval compositions, delivering an authentic experience that is both profound and exhilarating.

    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1709765999
  • Volleyball Match Ambience provides three distinct soundscapes spread through long, evolving and captivating sound recordings from Portugal’s primary masculine and feminine leagues, in addition to a regional match.

    This is a highly intense and balanced sport characterized by its fast-paced nature, emphasis on teamwork and strategic play, where players use a combination of spiking, blocking, setting, and serving techniques to gain an advantage and outmaneuver their opponents. The game is played on a rectangular court divided by a net, with each team aiming to score points by grounding the ball on the opposing team’s side.

    All recordings were attained from a centered front-row seat position in crystal-clear stereo, meaning you have all the necessary field-of-play interactions, in addition to varied crowd reactions ranging from diverse support chants, booing, casual conversations, clapping, local team speaker asking for crowd backing, referee whistles, coach instructions and air horns. This versatility of content guarantees full immersion, drama, excitement, intensity and realism for film, television, videogames, podcasts and more. Your audience will be transported courtside in no time.

    The regional match sound files are the longest with a constant stream of clapping and chants from supporters and the players themselves championing their respective team, interspersed with quieter moments, making it ideal for a more balanced volleyball match ambience. Also included in this section are pre-match drills.

    With over three and a half hours of content, this library is your all-access pass to the dynamic, exhilarating world of volleyball.

  • Environments & Ambiences Curated Rain Play Track 39 sounds included, 183 mins total $44.99

    CURATED RAIN – is an extensive sound library containing 39 unique files of rain in varying environments and conditions ranging from city streets, back alleys, parks, forests and windows and heavy walls of rain to gentle and lite drizzles. Including isolated sections of rain as well as rain storms in their entirety. All of our libraries comply with the Universal Category System naming convention standard as well as traditional embedded metadata, allowing for accurate and easy granular searches. Original recordings were captured at 192kHz and 32bit float. Curated Rain (RAW – 192kHz 24bit) comes out to 11.7 GB and 3 hours 3 minutes and 10 seconds in overall length.

    25 %
    OFF
    Ends 1709852399
  • Human Sound Effects Applauses Play Track 50 sounds included, 11 mins total $30
    It took me 2 years to create this sound library and for the first time I used AI to create a cover image! 50 applause recordings made in various interior and exterior places, small and big audience, some with cheering and some with only clapping. All files are recorded 32bit, 192kHz with FEL Pluggy EM272 and Sonorous Objects SO.3 microphones, Zoom F3 recorder. The library is also available in UCS.
  • Environments & Ambiences WINTER SCAPE Play Track 33 sounds included, 148 mins total From: $119

    Feel the coldness of winter landscapes. In the heart of the Cantal mountains in France, immerse yourself in a soothing nature or in the cold winter wind.

    All files are embedded with extensive UCS compliant metadata.


   

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