Game Audio at GDC 2019 Asbjoern Andersen


For the 3rd year in a row, game audio guru Damian Kastbauer is back with his excellent overview of things to do, see and hear at the 2018 Game Developer's Conference (GDC) in San Francisco when it comes to game audio. Without further ado, here's Damian with The Definitive Guide to Game Audio at GDC 2018:
Written by Damian Kastbauer
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How have you been? What are you up to these days? What’s keeping you busy? What games are you playing? What are you doing for fun? Pulled off any cool tricks lately? What do you get up to outside of work? Have you heard of the cool stuff people are doing? What do you want to be when you grow up? What’s your dream job? What are you listening to lately? How do you find things? What do you think about community? How do you participate in the community? How do you give back in your field? Who do you turn to for advice? How do you know this person? Where did you meet? What have you been up to?k How did you get your first job? What inspires you? Where did you get that idea? What’s it like there? Where do I fit in? How did you end up with that result? Was it worth it?

If it’s your first time to GDC, the largest North American meetup of game developers, you’re probably full of questions: How do I turn this passion into a career? How do I gain the experience to apply for the job I want? How do I gain the knowledge to bring value to a project? Who are my peers? What makes me special in this industry? Do I have what it takes? The good news is that all of these answers can be found in and around the conference during your time in San Francisco if you know where to look.

Some of these answers will be delivered wholesale by a diverse group of professionals attempting to communicate their experience and knowledge during over 500 sessions. Some will come from conversations in the hallway outside of presentations. More still will strike like a lightning bolt of inspiration, piecing-together information you may already know, but not realize. While others will rain-down in a cosmic shower of knowledge from the universe. Ultimately, you will leave the conference full of new information and ready to face the next phase of your journey.

Until the next year.

In the interim you will grow, you’ll work hard to capitalize on the answers you sought out and the time will come when you’ll be faced with the decision of returning to the conference. You’ll have gained some experience, not only with regards to the previous conference, but in your pursuit of a career. Likely you’ll be filled with even more questions and maybe some answers of your own that could help out someone who is not as far down the path. So begins a consideration that will recur the rest of your career: What is the value of attending conferences and why continue going year-after-year. (Keep reading for my answer below…)

The next time you attend the conference, time will start to slow down a bit. You’ll be able to skip the things you tried last year that were boring (loud parties) or unfruitful (loud parties) and maximize the things that proved to be thought provoking (presentations) and dynamically satisfying (conversations). You’ll have a handle on some of the regular happenings that make up the social back-bone of the week and know to leave room for the magic of GDC to happen. You’ll leave with even more answers, a fair-share of questions and, when the post-conference influenza haze has passed, you’ll feel energized and ready to face the year ahead.

Rinse and repeat enough times and you may start to see each year passing like the minute hands on a clock, rapidly accelerating along with your career in a syncopation of knowledge and experience. Ideally, you’ll hold on to the feeling of your first year and maintain an open mind when conversations with fresh faces find their way to you. Hopefully you’ve also found a way to share some of the knowledge you’ve gained with a wider audience by presenting or coordinating a series of roundtables. Maybe you’ll start a trend and spin-up your own regular happening, karaoke jam, or adventure. Perhaps you engage your colleagues and cohorts in long-form discussions on: the state of the industry, the future of interactivity, or how to stay sane in an increasingly crazy world.

In the end, I keep going because I am invested. Invested in the people, invested in the community, and invested in the future of digital interaction and the role audio has to play. I continue to be fascinated by the passion, technology, and conversations around creating experiences with the ability to move people. I’d be interested to know why you’re going to GDC this year, whether it’s your first or fifteenth. Please leave a comment below or drop me a line.

In the meantime, here are some other resources to help get your planning off to a great start:
• The School of Video game Audio’s “10 Tips for #GameAudioGDC 2018”
• And Pixelles Guides to GDCSF

The last few years of ASoundEffect GDC Guides might have some helpful nuggets if you can read between the lines:
The Grand Guide to Game Audio at GDC 2017
The Ultimate Guide To Game Audio at GDC 2016
Are you at GDC ’15? Here are the Game Audio Top Picks from Damian Kastbauer, Jack Menhorn & Frank Bry

And some other writings I’ve done on GDC:
Game Audio – Conclusions from GDC 2006 Reprise
Game Audio Aspirations
Every Year I Buy The Magic Beans

DISCLAIMER

This is my daily breakdown, suggestions, recommendations, and top-picks for a jam-packed conference…AND THIS IS JUST THE AUDIO TRACK. If you’re able, you should try to see as many presentations OUTSIDE of audio that interest you. Some of my greatest epiphanies have been while pondering an animation pipeline of setting the way-back machine in one of the historic games sessions. There just aren’t enough hours in the day I tell ya, but thankfully we’ll always have the GDC Vault to fall back on!

Don’t forget to follow the code GDC Code of Conduct while onsite (and please continue to adhere to its sensible advice even outside of the presentation hall). BE GOOD TO EACH OTHER!
 


 

See Emily Play

Sunday March 18th

It’s Sunday and maybe you’re just hitting the ground in the San Francisco Bay Area; city streets alive, the sounds, the smells, the world awake and alive. If you’re not kickin’ it on a corner just peacing out with some foliage you might wanna find your way over to the East Bay on BART to the annual DesigningSound.org Meetup.

2pm – 10pm | Designing Sound Meetup

You can register here for a hands-on tour of the Oakland Vintage Synth Museum or pony-up to the bar anytime after 2pm at the Broken Rack (21 & Older restriction *inside the bar, free and does not require a sign up). Sign ups are only required if you want to visit the Synth Museum as well.

*What goes on outside the bar is all-ages and anybody’s guess!

Broken Rack : 5768 Peladeau St, Emeryville, CA 94608
Oakland VSM : 1145 65th St, Oakland, CA 94608

If you’ve haven’t had the pleasure, DesigningSound.org has been a cornerstone of the film and game sound communities reporting on significant developments, interesting sound-related articles and interviews, while simultaneously engaging their audience through monthly topics and guest contributions. This volunteer run, world-wide network of folks do a lot to channel the creativity happening everywhere into a single location online. If you see ‘em out in the world on the wide web of places, be sure to give ‘em your thanks!

 

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

Monday March 19th

7:00am – 9:00am | Game Audio Podcast Coffee Standup
Sightglass Coffee : 270 7th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Monday through Saturday during the conference the game audio community holds court at one of the best coffee houses in San Francisco for a two-hour conversation about what’s happening each day at #GameAudioGDC. Folks graciously lend their voices in order to surface the previous day’s activities and shine a light on the forthcoming day’s events as part of an inclusive environment focused on raising the awareness of the myriad of game audio epiphanies exploding in people’s minds. These meetups have become a catalyst for cultivating ideas, friendships, and new ways of traversing the conference at large. Starting your day winding back the hands of time and reflecting on the day that came before is a great way to reinforce the knowledge gained. Meanwhile, looking ahead to what’s ahead helps provide focus in a way that makes the conference easier to navigate on the day-to-day. This year finds the return of Game Audio Podcast co-founder Anton Woldhek who’s inspiration helped put this yearly event on the map way back in 2011. All welcome!

10:00am – 11:00am | ‘CARNE Y ARENA’: UNCOMPROMISING AUDIO FOR NARRATIVE VR
Speakers: Bill Rudolph (Skywalker Sound), Kevin Bolen (Skywalker Sound), Damian Kastbauer (ArenaNet)
Location: Room 24, North Hall
Pass Type: All Access, VRDC@GDC Add On

While I did have the pleasure of working on this for a couple of weeks with the folks from Skywalker Sound (and am one of the speakers in the presentation), what this VR experience, from Director Alejandro González Iñárritu, accomplishes is far greater than the sum of its parts. An incredibly artistic, masterfully handled, expertly crafted, and incredibly moving illustration of what is possible when all senses are leveraged towards conveying the struggle and reality of crossing the border between Mexico and America. Having had the chance to visit the installation last month at LACMA, I’m bringing my own perspective; not just as someone having lent a hand, but in awe and appreciation of the hard work and accomplishment of the team at ILMxLAB & Legendary Pictures. Uncompromising Audio? Bill and Kevin know what they’re talking about; they were in on the ground level during explorations into what has become (in my opinion) the gold-standard for room-scale VR outside of the thrill-ride/entertainment focus that can sometimes overshadow the potential of this technology. Hear it from the folks empowering creatives to reach deep into people’s hearts and inspire empathy and the role sound plays in helping to deliver on the emotions being expressed. With CARNE Y ARENA being awarded a special Oscar (the first since Pixar’s Toy Story in 1996) you know that his production is something special and the way that audio took shape is a fantastic display of creativity, ingenuity, and collaboration on all levels.

10:00am – 11:00am | ART DIRECTION BOOTCAMP: “THE DISTRIBUTED ART DIRECTION OF ‘EDITH FINCH'” & “VISUAL LANGUAGE OF ‘ELECTRONAUTS’: AN IMMERSIVE SOUND BASED VR EXPERIENCE”
Speakers: Chelsea Hash (Giant Sparrow), Justin Coury (Survios)
Location: Room 20, North Hall
Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits

Ian Dallas has built something special at Giant Sparrow from the humble beginnings of the early prototypes that would become The Unfinished Swan. Their second release, What Remains of Edith Finch, sees the studio coming into their own and delivering on the emotion and storytelling possibilities at the heart of games today. Meanwhile, Suvios has made their name working in VR and are looking to bring the art of DJ/ Music creation into virtual spaces. The line between interactive audio and art becomes fuzzier by the day as game audio works to send audio information back to the game engine in-order to influence visuals. It sure sounds like two different presentations, but I look forward to the synesthetic mashup of ideas that come out of them and how they might help to shape the future of collaboration.

1:20pm – 1:50pm | DEFINING THE LAWS FOR A PARALLEL REALITY
Summit Speaker: Keiichi Matsuda (Leap Motion)
Location: Room 2001, West Hall
Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits

When I first saw this video I felt it could be one of the not-so-distant futures we are rapidly iterating towards as a human species. The visionary director of this short film has now signed on as Creative Director at Leap Motion and I think he just might have the best perspective on how to subvert the downfall of civilization. I’m looking forward to hearing his perspective. For real.

2:10pm – 2:40pm | ACCESSIBILITY IN VR: HOW IT CAN BE BETTER
Speakers: Andrew Eiche (Owlchemy Labs), Cy Wise (Owlchemy Labs)
Location: Room 25, North Hall
Pass Type: All Access, VRDC@GDC Add On

Accessibility from the folks at Owlchemy Labs? Have you even played Job Simulator? These folks know what they’re talking about! While I’ll miss Audio Director Daniel Perry‘s perspective on this, the knowledge brought back from experiments in VR are likely to be steeped in first-hand experience and full of lessons learned.

4:40pm – 5:10pm | AAA GAMING WHILE BLIND
Summit Speaker: Karen Stevens (EA SPORTS)
Location: Room 2001, West Hall
Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits

Y’all can get a head-start on Karen Stevens presentation by reading this article…then show up to let her fill in the gaps with her first-hand experience as the EA Sports Accessibility Lead, on how she’s working to push for greater inclusion and accessibility. You might as well follow it all up with this talk from Adriane Kuzminski about Breaking the Sound Barrier: How Game Audio Can Improve Accessibility. The tools are in our hands to reach an audience of passionate players if you know how to use them. Come learn how!

 

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

 

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    car interiors library is a great supplement for all the car engine sounds that you already own. That way the action on the inside of the car is not stale at all. Dashboard buttons, seatbelts, automatic windows, switches, switching gears, brake, clutch and gas pedals, vents, turning signals. They’re all here!

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  • Destruction & Impact Implosion Play Track 42 sounds included $100 $70

    Implosion is a sound effects collection of buildings being destroyed with explosives. It features 10 unique building implosions recorded across the country.

    Each implosion was recorded with 4 to 14 channels of audio. To offer multiple perspectives, mics were placed as close as 150ft (~50m) and as far away as 2000ft (~600m) from the various explosive demolitions.

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  • Drones & Moods Audible Silence Play Track 105 sounds included, 170 mins total $80 $64

    The eerie sound of wind resonating through wires, fences and abandoned buildings.

    Recorded using the JrF C-Series contact microphone, these recordings capture the metallic resonance of wind with natural ebbs and flows.

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    A large collection of authentic B-25 flybys, takeoffs, landings, taxis, startups, and shutdowns with both internal and external perspectives – for a total of 71 minutes of recordings.

    This library was over 8 years in the making, and is the refined result of more than 30 field recording expeditions, including one recorded aboard a B-25 during flight. All sounds have been extensively quantified with metadata (action, event length, relative speed, perspective, microphone pattern, and much more) which will make it an ideal resource for those working in audio post production.

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    The Cars In Motion sound library gets you exterior sounds of cars driving at different speeds, slow/medium/fast/very fast pass-bys, reverse sounds, accelerations, braking sounds and a lot of additional files. You’ll find different engines, and cars with different character.

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    This bundle includes 4 different libraries.

    The Baltic Sea sound library is compilation of 56 WAV files recorded with Sound Devices 702, Rode NTG3, Sony PCM-M10, two Oktavas MK012 set in MS, XY and ORTF setup. All the sounds were recorded far away from the cities and roads. Since most of the sounds were recorded in late winter, there are no insects or birds in background. There are few files that includes the sound of birds, but I left them on purpose, because of the overall feel of the files. In this library you will find beautiful sound of waves crushing on the rocks and shore, recorded from different perspectives in different stereo configurations, during calm and windy days. In addition to those sounds, there’s foley like walking, running and swimming in the water.

    The Harbours Of Norway sound library features 25 files with ambients recorded in Myre, Sto and Nyksund, very small towns with direct access to the sea. Most of the sound effects were recorded at night, but since it’s a polar day time of the year, it was very pleasurable to walk and look for convenient places to set up my gear. Everything was recoded with ORTF setup built from two Sennheisers MKH 8040. Inside this library, you’ll find a lot of seagulls, waves crushing on the rocks and plants, windy ambients from the cliff, industrial sound from port in Myre with ship unloading the cargo, walla with steam engine boat and additional sounds from boat engine market and air cooling aggregates from food containers. Every file was recorded in 96kHz, edited (i removed any unintentional bumps, pops and unwanted sounds). I limited EQing to removing harsh frequencies, or enhancing a little bit the good sounding ones. At the end of the chain there is a small compression, for louder sounds.

    The Summer Ambients sound library contains 33 beautiful WAV files recorded with Sound Devices 702, Rode NTG3, two Oktavas MK012 in MS and stereo XY pattern. All sounds were gathered in different and beautiful places like forests, lakes, meadows or swamps. You can expect amazing ambients, textures, different birds, insects, forest during rain, calm and windy days. It’s a perfect library for designing background sounds. Everything was recorded in amazing Masuria in Poland.

    Summer ambients Update – library got 2x bigger and heavier than the original library. 59 additional files, 123 minutes of high quality audio recorded with Sennheiser MKH 8040 ORTF setup, Rode NTG3, Oktava MK012 XY setup plugged into SD702 and Sony PCM-10. It features ambients from the forests, ponds, swamps, meadows, lakes and suburbs recorded is very quiet locations, mostly just before the sunrise, during the day and before sunset far away from the cities.

    Water Flow sound library took me about six months to record, consumed about 15 thermoses of tea and 42 litres of gasoline to get to all locations. It offers 90 BWAV files recorded in different locations. Huge part of this library is based on the recording sessions on the rivers. Two completely different locations, recorded regularly for the last 5 months allowed me to create this unique sound library. Most of the recording sessions took place during winter just before the sun was rising to reduce the amount of unwanted sounds. Almost all recordings are completely clear and only few have birds in background, since it was my intention to record some location ambients with natural backgrounds.

    You can see the metadata and sound list below.

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  • Environments Rare Winds Play Track 102 sounds included, 233 mins total $149 $44.70

    From all 4 earth’s corners, air streamlines the environment and shapes our stories. Discover the cinematic world of rare winds!


    This sound library is the ultimate achievement of a really ambitious project of recording winds from very remote places across the world.

    Included are authentic recordings from the Boreal region (North hemisphere: in Canada and Iceland), from the Austral region (South hemisphere: Tierra del Fuego in Argentina and the Last Hope province in Chile), on Islands in Mediterranean region (Thira in Greece), in the Sahara desert (Marocco), Isle-aux-Grues (Canadian winter), and more (see file list for more details)


    These were recorded either in urban settings, countryside, or complete wilderness.

    Included is a set of useful synthesized, tonal, and designed winds.

    The sounds are categorized into 3 folders: Designed, Indoor & Outdoor.

    WHAT’S INSIDE:

    • 102 stereo files
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    • Urban area and Wild area
    • Useful Designed & Synthesized Wind Sounds
    • Recordings from the Boreal region (North) in Iceland & Canada
    • Recordings from the Austral region (South) in Argentina & Chile
    • Recordings from Islands in Greece & Canada
    • Recordings from the desert in Marocco
    • Abandonned houses and shelters
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Need specific sound effects? Try a search below:
 

A Saucerful of Secrets

Tuesday March 20th

It’s no secret that I’ve been lending Scott Selfon a hand with the Audio Bootcamp for a few years. Under his guidance and tutelage the first day of the audio track always serves as a soft-crossfade from daily life into the wild maelstrom of deep game audio thinking. Rounded-out by a full day’s worth of presentations across multiple specializations, the bootcamp offers opportunities for first time attendees as well as veterans of the industry looking for a fresh perspective from the point of view of a diverse cast of professionals. This year’s roster includes talks across the spectrum of game audio including: VR, Programming, Composition, Demo Reels, Sound Design, and Dialog. A great opportunity to get to know folks at the start of the conference and build relationships that will carry you through the weeks adventures.

A Composer’s Guide To The Galaxy : Elvira Björkman
Programming Composers and Composing Programmers : Victoria Dorn
Adding Punch to Your Sound : Gina Zdanowicz

Lunchtime Surgeries
An opportunity for deeper conversations with Audio Bootcamp speakers over lunch in a smaller scale setting. Grab some food and then come back to sit at tables in the round with the day’s speakers on the topics that are top of mind for you about the industry, the day’s topics, and the questions at the top of attendee minds.

Reel Talk : Kevin Regamey & Matthew Marteinsson
Talking about Talking : Recording and Producing Well Crafted Dialogue : Amanda Rose Smith
Design to Shine: Crafting a unique sonic pallet to enhance your game score : Brian Trifon & Brian Lee White
5D Audio : Aaron Brown
Zen and the Art of Game Audio Maintenance : Anton Woldhek

Tuesday Night

8:30 PM – 11:00 PM | Beards, Cats, And Indie Game Audio Podcast Live Party
by Matthew Marteinsson, Gordon McGladdery and Kimberley Hansen

Gather ‘round for a live recording of the premiere Indie Game Audio podcast and be sure to stick around for the no-music party afterwards! (whisper whisper)

monument.house
140 9th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
RSVP

 

Atom Heart Mother

Wednesday March 21st

9:30am – 10:30am | A MODERN TAKE ON HISTORICAL FICTION: MUSIC FOR ‘CALL OF DUTY WWII’
Speaker: Wilbert Roget (RogetMusic)
Location: Room 3002, West Hall
9:30am – 10:30am | WHAT’S NEXT? A GAME AUDIO MICROTALK SERIES
Speakers: Dren McDonald (nerdtracks gameaudio), Mike Morasky (Valve), Adele Cutting (Soundcuts, Ltd.), Sela Keating (Electronic Arts), Caron Weidner (Eight Ball Sound), Sally Kellaway (OSSIC), Daria Novo (nerdtracks gameaudio), Sarah Elmaleh (Independent), Scott Selfon (Oculus), Samantha Kalman (Timbre Interactive)
Location: Room 3006, West Hall

How do you choose between these two? On one hand you have the confident perspective of an accomplished composer lay-down his approach on composing for one of the biggest franchises in gaming and on the other hand you’ve got a rockstar lineup of microtalks from a diverse set of speakers on the topic of What’s Next. Is cloning a thing yet?

11:00am – 11:30am | THE DEMONIC SOUND OF ‘PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE LOST SOUL’
Speaker: Robert Rice (VRWERX)
Location: Room 3002, West Hall
12:00pm – 12:30pm | A MATTER OF MUSIC DESIGN: DRIVING GAMEPLAY WITH MUSIC
Speaker: Eric Hamel (Worthing & Moncrieff)
Location: Room 3002, West Hall
2:00pm – 3:00pm | ACCESSIBLE GAMING FOR THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED
Speakers: Mark Barlet (The AbleGamers Charity), Sam Joehl (Level Access)
Location: Room 3006, West Hall
3:30pm – 4:30pm | GAME AUDIO PROGRAMMING ROUNDTABLE DAY 1: FUNDAMENTALS
Speaker: Guy Somberg (Echtra Games, Inc.)
Location: Room 208, South Hall

You don’t have to learn to program to be in game audio (heck, I’m a technical sound designer and I’d much rather leave the heavy lifting to bonafide bitheads, no offense) but it sure does help if you can throw around terminology, concepts, and cursory understanding of what makes game audio tick under-the-hood. I have a feeling that Guy Somberg, author of Game Audio Programming: Principles and Practices, can deliver on the promise of fundamentals wrapped in an easy to grok format that is bound to level-up the way you think about what’s going on in-engine. Take the ride!

5:00pm – 6:00pm | DEMO DERBY: SOUND DESIGN
EMERGING COMPOSERS GUIDE TO PRODUCTIVITY AND WORK/LIFE BALANCE
THE VOICE-OVER ROUNDTABLE DAY 1: PRE AND POST PRODUCTION (OUTSIDE THE STUDIO)
WOMEN IN GAME AUDIO ROUNDTABLE DAY 1: WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE

This one is up for grabs, something for everyone, you seriously can’t go wrong! Whether you’re interested in feedback from professionals, work/ life balance, the intracticies of Voice Over, or an interactive conversational engagement on gender in game audio, it’s a choose-your-own adventure hour of possibility.

Wednesday Night

6:00pm – 9:00pm | IASIG Audio Mixer
Thirsty Bear Brewing Co
661 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94105

 

The Dark Side of the Moon

Thursday March 22nd

10:00am – 11:00am | GIVING A VOICE TO THE MACHINES OF ‘HORIZON ZERO DAWN’
Speaker: Pinar Temiz (Guerrilla Games)
Location: Room 3002, West Hall

One of the most detail-oriented sound design challenges arrived in the hands of Guerrilla Games in the form of the many & varied machine-creatures that populate the world of Horizon Zero Dawn. Pinar Temiz will outline how the audio team gave voice to these wildly technological beasts in a detailed overview of methodologies. If you’re lucky, you might also get a peek at the proprietary tools they use to integrate sound in-engine. Regardless, this presentation is bound to serve as a fountain of inspiration.

11:30am – 12:30pm | REINVENTING THE SOUND FOR ‘CALL OF DUTY: WWII’
Speaker: David Swenson (Sledgehammer Games)
Location: Room 3002, West Hall
2:00pm – 2:30pm | AUDIO ASSET MANAGEMENT TIPS AND TRICKS
Speaker: Richard Ludlow (Hexany Audio)
Location: Room 3006, West Hall

As someone who knows the value of rockin’ a spreadsheet on occasion, I can tell you that asset management and data management in general can be a sharp sword in the thick of game audio battle. Richard Ludlow has the background and experience at Hexany Audio, working across multiple remote projects simultaneously, to give this talk with his hands behind his back; which is to say, he’s an expert of what it takes to keep things straight. When it comes time to wade into resource management, you’re gonna want these tips and tricks on your side!

3:00pm – 3:30pm | HOW SOUND TELLS THE STORY OF ‘NIGHT IN THE WOODS’
Speaker: Em Halberstadt (A Shell in the Pit)
Location: Room 3006, West Hall

Having seen Em speak on multiple occasions, I can say with confidence that you’re in for a rare treat. Not only is she a tremendous presenter, but the work that she’s done for NITW is some of the craftiest, cleverest, and humorous around. I’m looking forward to hearing more about power lines, mouth sounds, and dynamic ambiences for this game that oozes with style…a style reflected in sound.

4:00pm – 5:00pm | THE CONFLICT OF THE NEW REALITIES: COMBINING BLEEDING EDGE TECHNOLOGY AND OLD-SCHOOL DESIGN TECHNIQUES FOR AUDIO IN VR/AR/MR
Speakers: Stephan Schutze (Sound Librarian), Sally Kellaway (Microsoft Mixed Reality Audio & AI)
Location: Room 3002, West Hall

Are you kidding me? These two sharing a stage in a presentation of VR/AR/MR? This must be some kind of dream? Not only did Stephan just publish a book on the topic at hand. Not only did Sally just transition from Ossic to Microsoft Mixed Reality Audio. But we get a chance to get their perspectives on this rapidly-shifting space and bask in the bright light of their experience. I couldn’t be more excited to drink from the fountain of knowledge during this presentation!

4:00pm – 5:00pm | WOMEN IN GAME AUDIO ROUNDTABLE DAY 2: NAVIGATING SUBTLETIES OF SEXISM IN THE WORKPLACE
Speakers: Amanda Rose Smith (Independent), Becky Allen (PopCap)
Location: Room 214, South Hall

Roundtables at GDC are the premier platform for interaction with the community. Guided by Amanda Rose Smith and Becky Allen, “Navigating the Subtleties of Sexism” is poised to be an eye opening discussion that would benefit everyone’s ears and voices. It is through interactions with people that we all navigate through each day on the job and we can only benefit from having a greater understanding, appreciation, and sensitivity in the way we act towards one another. The Women In Game Audio Roundtable, happening once each day during the conference with different topics, is a vital platform to engage in this discussion and increase visibility for issues that arise as part of discourse. See you there!

Bonus Round:

5:30pm – 6:30pm | ‘MASS EFFECT ANDROMEDA’ AUDIO RETROSPECTIVE
Speaker: Michael Kent (Bioware)
Location: Room 3002, West Hall

Thursday Night

7:30pm – 9:30pm | 16th Annual Game Audio Network Guild Awards
Moscone West Hall Room 2016

 

Wish You Were Here

Friday March 23rd

10:00am – 11:00am | DON’TS: HOW NOT TO WORK IN GAME AUDIO
Speakers: Ryan Ike (Independent), Akash Thakkar (Independent), Carlye Nyte (Camouflaj)
Location: Room 3002, West Hall

The cool kids might be headed off to hear about sound for Star Wars, and rightly so as DICE continues to provide a premium multi-player experience for the popcorn crowd, but just down the hall is the comedy troupe of Ike, Nyte, & Thakkar who are set to unfold the “DON’TS: HOW NOT TO WORK IN GAME AUDIO” complete with valuable insights, hard-won experience, and belly laughs ta-boot (if I can prejudge based on past presentations and personalities). These folks can be counted on for real-world (like the TV show) insights into game developments practices and obscure idiosyncrasies. I can’t wait to soak in their suggestions and sup from the table of their knowledge.

11:30am – 12:30pm | MENTORING ROUNDTABLE
Speakers: Ariel Gross (The Audio Mentoring Project), Stephan Schutze (Sound Librarian)
Location: Room 206, South Hall

Are you mentoring? WHY NOT? It can be said that we all have something to share; no matter what your experience or feelings of adequacy there is a value to the path you’ve walked. The potential that you could help lift someone up or help unblock the creative flow of a colleague, student, or someone just finding their way is just too great. Wondering how to make it happen or how to find some mentoring for yourself? The answer could be simply by showing up.

12:15pm – 1:15pm | IASIG TOWNHALL
Moscone West Hall Rm 3002
1:30pm – 2:30pm | MAKING GOOD TOOLS FOR MAKING GREAT AUDIO
Speakers: Guy Somberg (Echtra Games, Inc.), Tomas Neumann (Blizzard Entertainment)
Location: Room 3005, West Hall

If I wasn’t already sitting on a panel next door on the dance between freelance and in-house, you can bet I would be squarely planted in this talk from two outspoken advocates for great audio tools.

3:00pm – 4:00pm | AN INTERACTIVE SOUND DYSTOPIA: REAL-TIME AUDIO PROCESSING IN ‘NIER:AUTOMATA’
Speaker: Shuji Kohata (PlatinumGames, Inc.)
Location: Room 3006, West Hall

This is a great sounding game, like…wow, I really like it. Which makes me keenly interested in how they’re pulling off all the cool tricks a runtime. The last talk on the last day of a long week. Who’s with me?

Friday Night

5:00pm – 7:00pm | School of Video Game Audio Party
California Pizza Kitchen
3 Third Street @ 53 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94103

If you’re still around, this annual fall-out to a nearby establishment for eats, drinks, and premature goodbyes is absolutely the place you want to be in order to avoid the inevitable separation anxiety that ensues once your bags are packed and you’re on the long road home. The School of Video Game Audio has been coordinating the last few years of this and, while Leonard Paul won’t be making the trip down from Vancouver, it’s up to everyone to lift a glass in his honor and keep the spirit of education alive. Find the blob of game audio milling around in the audio hallway or desperately trying to make an escape at the bottom of the escalators and bounce to this party in celebration of a week of hardcore learning. YOU DESERVE IT!

Afterparty | Friday Night Foley

When the party starts winding down, find your friendly Friday Night Foley hosts Emily Meo & Cody Predum for another round of FNF; where wild adventurers (LIKE YOU) equipped with portable recorders (BYO) will let slip the noise the likes of which you can only imagine. Set off into the San Francisco evening with like-minded folks, bring anything that might be interesting to record…or just find some exotic sounds along the way to bring back to your lab. Promises of violin bows, windscreens, and cacophony implied.

Follow #FridayNightFoley hashtag for updates!

 

The Final Cut

Saturday March 24

7:00am – 9:00am | Game Audio (The Last) Podcast
Still with us? Swing on down for the final installment of the Game Audio Podcast, where Anton & I will wrap-down the week’s events with the skeleton crew that drags themselves in for this bedraggled send-off. Previous years have seen: Anton plagued by a flat bike tire, me overslept and slow to ambulate, as well as a bright-eyed bunch of warm hearts trying hard not to let the conference end.
 
What happens between the end and next year assumes the same cyclic ebb-and-flow alluded to at the beginning of this article. How will this years brain-trust sharpen your definition of self in the context of the game industry? Will you find what you’ve come seeking? What new questions will need to be answered? What new knowledge will you have to share?

For me, the day after GDC begins the countdown until the next one. But let’s just all take this one step at a time. See you in San Francisco!

 

A big thanks to Damian Kastbauer for sharing this extensive and insightful guide to getting the most out of GDC!

 

Please share this:


 


 
 
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:
 
 
  • Environments Rare Winds Play Track 102 sounds included, 233 mins total $149 $44.70

    From all 4 earth’s corners, air streamlines the environment and shapes our stories. Discover the cinematic world of rare winds!


    This sound library is the ultimate achievement of a really ambitious project of recording winds from very remote places across the world.

    Included are authentic recordings from the Boreal region (North hemisphere: in Canada and Iceland), from the Austral region (South hemisphere: Tierra del Fuego in Argentina and the Last Hope province in Chile), on Islands in Mediterranean region (Thira in Greece), in the Sahara desert (Marocco), Isle-aux-Grues (Canadian winter), and more (see file list for more details)


    These were recorded either in urban settings, countryside, or complete wilderness.

    Included is a set of useful synthesized, tonal, and designed winds.

    The sounds are categorized into 3 folders: Designed, Indoor & Outdoor.

    WHAT’S INSIDE:

    • 102 stereo files
    • Highly focused and meticulously edited sounds
    • Ready to use Loop
    • Urban area and Wild area
    • Useful Designed & Synthesized Wind Sounds
    • Recordings from the Boreal region (North) in Iceland & Canada
    • Recordings from the Austral region (South) in Argentina & Chile
    • Recordings from Islands in Greece & Canada
    • Recordings from the desert in Marocco
    • Abandonned houses and shelters
    • Marina, lake, forest, car, flags, arctic, metal pole, prairie, street, mountain, grass, …
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  • City Life Nature Ambients Bundle Play Track 263+ sounds included, 683 mins total $160 $48

    This bundle includes 4 different libraries.

    The Baltic Sea sound library is compilation of 56 WAV files recorded with Sound Devices 702, Rode NTG3, Sony PCM-M10, two Oktavas MK012 set in MS, XY and ORTF setup. All the sounds were recorded far away from the cities and roads. Since most of the sounds were recorded in late winter, there are no insects or birds in background. There are few files that includes the sound of birds, but I left them on purpose, because of the overall feel of the files. In this library you will find beautiful sound of waves crushing on the rocks and shore, recorded from different perspectives in different stereo configurations, during calm and windy days. In addition to those sounds, there’s foley like walking, running and swimming in the water.

    The Harbours Of Norway sound library features 25 files with ambients recorded in Myre, Sto and Nyksund, very small towns with direct access to the sea. Most of the sound effects were recorded at night, but since it’s a polar day time of the year, it was very pleasurable to walk and look for convenient places to set up my gear. Everything was recoded with ORTF setup built from two Sennheisers MKH 8040. Inside this library, you’ll find a lot of seagulls, waves crushing on the rocks and plants, windy ambients from the cliff, industrial sound from port in Myre with ship unloading the cargo, walla with steam engine boat and additional sounds from boat engine market and air cooling aggregates from food containers. Every file was recorded in 96kHz, edited (i removed any unintentional bumps, pops and unwanted sounds). I limited EQing to removing harsh frequencies, or enhancing a little bit the good sounding ones. At the end of the chain there is a small compression, for louder sounds.

    The Summer Ambients sound library contains 33 beautiful WAV files recorded with Sound Devices 702, Rode NTG3, two Oktavas MK012 in MS and stereo XY pattern. All sounds were gathered in different and beautiful places like forests, lakes, meadows or swamps. You can expect amazing ambients, textures, different birds, insects, forest during rain, calm and windy days. It’s a perfect library for designing background sounds. Everything was recorded in amazing Masuria in Poland.

    Summer ambients Update – library got 2x bigger and heavier than the original library. 59 additional files, 123 minutes of high quality audio recorded with Sennheiser MKH 8040 ORTF setup, Rode NTG3, Oktava MK012 XY setup plugged into SD702 and Sony PCM-10. It features ambients from the forests, ponds, swamps, meadows, lakes and suburbs recorded is very quiet locations, mostly just before the sunrise, during the day and before sunset far away from the cities.

    Water Flow sound library took me about six months to record, consumed about 15 thermoses of tea and 42 litres of gasoline to get to all locations. It offers 90 BWAV files recorded in different locations. Huge part of this library is based on the recording sessions on the rivers. Two completely different locations, recorded regularly for the last 5 months allowed me to create this unique sound library. Most of the recording sessions took place during winter just before the sun was rising to reduce the amount of unwanted sounds. Almost all recordings are completely clear and only few have birds in background, since it was my intention to record some location ambients with natural backgrounds.

    You can see the metadata and sound list below.

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  • Cars Cars In Motion Play Track 561+ sounds included, 340 mins total $150 $45

    The Cars In Motion sound library gets you exterior sounds of cars driving at different speeds, slow/medium/fast/very fast pass-bys, reverse sounds, accelerations, braking sounds and a lot of additional files. You’ll find different engines, and cars with different character.

    From a small BMW 114i through to a powerful Jeep Grand Cherokee 4.7 V8 with Magna Flow exhaust, up to a fast twin turbo BMW 640D F12. In addition to cars there are also files covering big machines like tractors and excavator.

    The library features 561 WAV files with total length of 340 minutes, recorded in 96kHz and 24 bits with a Sound Devices 702, two Sennheisers MKH 8040, Rode NTG3 and Sony PCM-M10.

    Here are the cars included in this library:

    • Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI – 73 files – 73 minutes
    • Audi A4 B8 2.0 TDI Avant – 11 files – 10 minutes
    • BMW 114i E87 – 20 files – 10 minutes
    • BMW 530D E60 – 55 files – 21 minutes
    • BMW F12 640D Gran Coupe – 87 files – 49 minutes
    • Excavator MF 860 – 30 files – 20 minutes
    • Jeep Grand Cherokee 4.7 V8 – 62 files – 51 minutes
    • Renault Kangoo 1.6 16V – 71 files – 32 minutes
    • Renault Master II 2.8 dTi – 21 files – 13 minutes
    • Renault Master F3500 dCi135 – 30 files – 12 minutes
    • Tractor Case II CX90 – 15 files – 10 minutes
    • Volkswagen Golf II – 26 files – 13 minutes
    • Other Cars – 60 files – 23 minutes

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Explore the full, unique collection here

Latest sound effects libraries:
 
  • Cars Hyundai Kona Electric Car Play Track 428 sounds included, 98 mins total $100

    An electric car sound library with a range of FX from the Hyundai SUV, Kona.

    The library includes numerous driving FX on both gravel and asphalt including pass-bys, take offs, corners, approaches and skids.

    It also contains a large range of interior recordings from driving at highway speed all the way to buttons and switches.

    Multiple FX on each track – recorded in Sydney, Australia

  • Cars Car Interiors Play Track 430 sounds included, 14 mins total $69 $38

    car interiors library is a great supplement for all the car engine sounds that you already own. That way the action on the inside of the car is not stale at all. Dashboard buttons, seatbelts, automatic windows, switches, switching gears, brake, clutch and gas pedals, vents, turning signals. They’re all here!

    Got a whole bunch of roaring car engine sounds but then realised that you’re not equipped with all of the boring stuff like:


    car door handles, seatbelts, turn signal, air vents, buttons and switches, seats, storage compartments, horns, windows, pedals (gas, brake, clutch), handbrakes wend

    and all other Car Interior sound effects? Well then.. look no further! This is just the pack for you.
    160 wav files with over 400 single sounds in total. Car Interiors will spice up that car interior scene with real, crisp sounds, recorded from over 6 cars in total!

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  • Destruction & Impact Cinematic Strikes Play Track Up to 4140 sounds included From: $119 From: $95.20

    ENORMOUS SOUNDING PERCUSSIVE HITS

    CINEMATIC STRIKES joins the BOOM Library Cinematic Series – and it focuses on big sounding drums. A whole world of cinematic percussive sound design lies a few clicks away: From devastating cracks and stomps over crisp swells and rolls to epic ensemble hits – you will be sure to find and build just what you are looking for.

    With the ultimate flexibility of different microphone positions, single and ensemble hits, flams and swells using various drums and beaters, you couldn’t be better equipped to design huge blockbuster and trailer hits – or simply place ready-to-use DESIGNED sounds into your timeline and feel the earth shake.

    CINEMATIC STRIKES – CONSTRUCTION KIT:

    FLEXIBLE SOUND DESIGN TOOLKIT

    The Construction Kit offers you one of the most comprehensive drum hit packages ever recorded. Carefully planned to satisfy and complement every spot in the frequency range, you will never run out of low end booms, aggressive cracks, mid-range body impacts, reverberant tails and excellent sweeteners to top it off.

    PERSPECTIVE & RHYTHM

    Not only are you able to produce impressive sounding hits, but also transition into, out of and between peaks. Control the attack and release of each sound, using rolls, flams, double hits and other meticulously performed techniques. Three coherent microphone positions make spatial adjustments a breeze.


    Files: 618 • Sounds: 3708 • Size: 13 GB


    CINEMATIC STRIKES – DESIGNED:

    MAXIMUM PUNCH – AND THEN SOME

    CINEMATIC STRIKES – Designed is what you get when layering and processing Construction Kit sounds BOOM Library style.

    From rumbling low-end BOOMS, soft and natural sounding WHOOSH HITS to aggressive, frontal CRACKS and PUNCHES, the Designed library showcases what’s possible, while saving precious time and budget on a tight schedule.

    This package is particularly useful for filmmakers and trailer sound designers.


    Files: 108 • Sounds: 432 • Size: 1.4 GB

    CINEMATIC STRIKES BUNDLE:

    THE BUNDLE – The best of both worlds at a discounted price.
    The Bundle gives you the full sound design power as it contains both – the DESIGNED and the CONSTRUCTION KIT edition at a discounted price.


    Files: 726 • Sounds: 4140 • Size: 14.6 GB
    Included sounds – keywords:

    BASS DRUM, BOOM, BOX, CAJON, CONCERT TOM, CRACK, CRASH, DAIKO, DOUBLE HIT, ENSEMBLE, FLAM, FOOT, GONG, HARD BEATER, HIT, JAM BLOCK, KICK, KODO, LOG, MALLET, BIN, PUNCH, ROLL, SINGLE, SNARE, SOFT BEATER, SPLASH, STICKS, STOMP, SWEETENER, SWELL, TABLA, TAIKO, TAMBORA, THUNDER SHEET, TOM, WHIP, WHOOSH HIT, WOOD PERCUSSION, WOODBLOCK
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  • Destruction & Impact Implosion Play Track 42 sounds included $100 $70

    Implosion is a sound effects collection of buildings being destroyed with explosives. It features 10 unique building implosions recorded across the country.

    Each implosion was recorded with 4 to 14 channels of audio. To offer multiple perspectives, mics were placed as close as 150ft (~50m) and as far away as 2000ft (~600m) from the various explosive demolitions.

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  • Drones & Moods Audible Silence Play Track 105 sounds included, 170 mins total $80 $64

    The eerie sound of wind resonating through wires, fences and abandoned buildings.

    Recorded using the JrF C-Series contact microphone, these recordings capture the metallic resonance of wind with natural ebbs and flows.

    All sounds were recorded using the JrF C-Series contact microphone stereo pair and Sound Devices Mix-Pre 6.

     

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