Game Audio GDC 2019 Asbjoern Andersen


Did you miss GDC 2018 (or do you just want to relive it)? Good news: Colin Andrew Grant shares his detailed insights and experiences from this year's major game audio event right here:
Written by Colin Andrew Grant
Please share:
 

This year marked both my second GDC and my second year working in the game industry. Quite a bit has changed since I first walked the halls of Moscone: I graduated from a postgraduate program, moved to L.A, and tentatively began my career as a freelancer. Though still nervous about attending such a massive convention meant for interacting with others after a year of mostly talking (yelling) at my DAW, I was excited to make new connections, meet up with old friends, and reflect upon what has changed and what has stayed the same for both myself and the industry at large.

SUNDAY

Though the conference did not officially begin, Designing Sound hosted a meetup the night before. Meeting at the Broken Rack Bar, it was a low key hang to slide everyone into GDC mode. What was special about this meetup was that Designing Sound and UVI prepared tours of the Vintage Synth Museum. Being able to play around with a Wurlitzer 200A and Roland TR-808 among other synths, I can see why synthheads consider them addicting to collect. It was a fun time of making bleeps and bloops that ended fairly early. We all needed our rest for the lengthy week ahead.

MONDAY

Damian and Anton stand in a crowded coffee shop hosting their podcast.Bright and early Monday morning at 7AM, Game Audio descended on Sightglass Coffee for the Game Audio Podcast led by Anton Woldhek and Damian Kastbauer. From Monday to Saturday we all (tried) to wake up and talk about what we learned the previous days, what we wanted to learn the day of, and any other topic that crossed our minds. I then attended a small round table led by Power Up Audio. There they shared tips for how to work with a partner, interact with potential clients, and how to pitch a reel for a bid. You’ll notice a common thread here of members of the game audio community sharing information and their time for free. I then relaxed on the second floor of Moscone Center West, playing games at The Mild Rumpus. One game that really stood out was Small Talk by Pale Room. With stunning art and gentle music, It’s the kind of intimate game that made me want to explore the characters and their thoughts forever. Later that night, we met up at the Terroir Wine Bar for an informal game audio meet up. The bar was a quiet reprieve from the noise of GDC, though it was filled to the brim with bodies and overflowed into the cool streets of San Francisco. It was a relaxing way to start off GDC since the conference floor was yet to be open and there were no audio talks that day. Tuesday would mark the beginning of rooms packed with conference attendees, raring to learn more about how sound works in games.

TUESDAY

This year, I made the decision to expand the scope of the talks that I attended beyond just audio. Though last year it was great to get acquainted with the community, I was told by multiple GDC veterans that there’s more to life than just audio. Since we have to interact with other elements of the industry at work, it only makes sense to do the same with education. The first talk I attended on Tuesday was “Intensely Practical Tips for Growing an Indie Studio”. There were two main reasons for me attending this:

1. Understanding what it takes to run an indie house will help me understand what many of my clients are going through when we’re not talking about sound.

2. I would love to one day run my own audio service studio, so the lessons being taught were incredibly applicable to my long-term career plans.

Given by Alexis Kennedy of FailBetter Games and Weather Factory, he detailed the need for studios to write down mission statements and the core pillars that define them. Whether it’s making money, being heavily narrative, or relying on a core set of beliefs, knowing what you want to focus on and understanding that those pillars may shift as the company grows can give an aimless studio direction.

After that incredibly enlightening talk I strapped up my boots and attended Audio Bootcamp XVII. The first session that I attended was “Programming Composers and Composing Programmers” headed by Victoria Dorn of Sony Interactive Entertainment and “Adding Punch to Your Sounds” by Gina Zdanowicz of Serial Lab Studios. Like many of us, though I’ve dipped my toe into programming, the vast ocean of code that exists has the ability to fill me with existential dread. Dorn’s talk was incredibly informative and broke the basic building blocks into very digestible parts. The second half of her talk was geared towards programmers interested in working with music and sound. Though obvious in hindsight, it’s easy to forget that words such as transient and downbeat aren’t part of most people’s lexicon. It’s refreshing to see an effort made to have talks be interdisciplinary and bridge the gap in vocabulary.

Gina Zdanowicz’s talk was focused giving impact to our sounds, allowing them to cut through the mix. In this talk, Zdanowicz gave many tips and plugin suggestions such as making the transient sharper while lowering the rest of the sound in order to give impact while not raising the levels. Giving the sounds movement with tools such as Tremolator and UHBIK’s frequency shifting tool can give the sounds character and keep them interesting over time.
 


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

 

Latest releases:  
  • AUTOMATED BIRD NOISE REMOVAL

    DEBIRD automatically recognizes bird noises in your recordings and removes them with surgical precision.

    THE PROBLEM
    Meet the involuntary #1 enemy of recordists and editors alike: Birds.

    While their lively and delightful song is a true asset in nature ambiences, it ruins just about everything else.

    As a result, countless hours are spent on the rather tedious task of cleaning recordings before one can get back to the fun part and focus on the creative process.

    Meet DEBIRD – your simple but powerful tool that utilizes Deep Learning to do all the cleaning work for you.

    Sit back and relax while DEBIRD effortlessly extracts all the unwanted chatter from your audio file within seconds!

    HOW TO USE DEBIRD?

    1. Drag any sound into DEBIRD. It is analyzed automatically.

    2. Hit Play. Enjoy your de-birded recording! You can see the removed bird sounds in the lower spectrum display.

    3. Simply export the cleaned sound.

    THAT’S IT?
    Yes! It is really that simple. You need some more features? You can also do the following:

    Would you like to keep certain sounds that would otherwise be removed? No problem! Grab a boundary box or brush and show DEBIRD what to keep.

    Solo and export the extracted bird sounds if needed. DEBIRD can be used in the exact opposite way it was designed for.

    TIMESAVER
    DEBIRD turns hours of work into seconds.

    FAST PROCESSING
    No matter how fast you remove bird sounds, DEBIRD is faster.

    CUT THE SLACK
    No more need to plan recording sessions at night or use invasive methods such as scaring off birds.

    SMART
    DEBIRD‘s Machine Learning capabilities help the tool to improve over time.

    HELP US TO IMPROVE DEBIRD
    DEBIRD works with a neural network that further improves the more input it gets. We will continuously feed the deep learning algorithm with recordings of birds to improve the results and to better handle edge-cases.

    WHAT YOU CAN DO
    You have a file and DEBIRD struggles to properly remove the bird sounds? Contact us via debird@boomlibrary.com and send us your audio file. We will include it into the machine learning routine and DEBIRD will handle such cases better over time.

    REQUIREMENTS

    SOFTWARE
    DEBIRD works as a standalone application without a host DAW or NLE.

    SYSTEM
    Windows Windows 7 (64-bit), 8 GB RAM, Intel® Core i5
    Mac Mac OS X 10.11, 8 GB RAM, Intel® Core i5

    ILOK
    Available licensing options:
    Machine License activation and USB Dongle

    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1576882799
    Add to cart
  • Drones & Moods Boat Ride ">Play Track 100+ sounds included, 225 mins total $50 $30

    Also included in LT Underwater Bundle 2!

    The library has been recorded on small and medium-sized trip motorboats in Montenegro, Adriatic Sea. Rather than image of a specific boat model, this collection includes a set of universal elements with plenty of variations and perspectives, both realistic sources and stylized designs.

    Boat ride / overwater – engine roar with more or less rushing water hiss, mic onboard

    Boat ride / overwater – without the sounds of engine – universal rushing water around a fast moving object

    Boat ride / underwater – sounds of a fast movement underwater

    Waves splashing on a hull / underwater – boat is not moving, different wave intensities

    Designed underwater – adding more interesting variations and emotions to the previous categories – stylized / multi-layered / spacious / diffused / distant / deep / eerie

    Gear used:
    Ambient Sound Fish 1 MKII hydrophone – includes ultrasonics
    Aquarian H2A hydrophone
    Sound Devices Pre6 recorder
    Sony PCMD100 handheld recorder
    Rode SoundFiled NT-SF1

    Key features:
    • 94 files – 19 source overwater, 20 source underwater, 55 designed underwater
    • 24 Bit / 96 kHz native resolution mono/stereo
    • meta-tagged in Soundly
    • each filename includes the full tag line

    40 %
    OFF
    Ends 1576969199
    Add to cart
  • Foley CashMoney Play Track 105 sounds included $24 $14.40

    CashMoney is a detailed collection of 105 sounds created by recording stacks of fresh paper banknotes and metal coins.

    CashMoney includes a wide variety of money based activities, from counting and shuffling paper banknotes, to handling, counting and spinning various metal coins, on surfaces, in hands and in boxes. There is also a section of designed sounds, representing a fast bank note counting machine.

    This collection is divided into 3 folders, according to the type of cash:

    • Coins: 68
    • Banknotes: 23
    • Designed Note Counter: 14

    All sounds were recorded or designed, and edited at 24 Bit / 96 kHz, with embedded meta data and accompanying spreadsheets.

    40 %
    OFF
    Ends 1576796399
    Add to cart
  • Destruction & Impact Hardwork Play Track 237 sounds included, 26 mins total $28.99 $23.99

    Who doesn’t recognize the sounds of construction work and the toughest duties ever known to humankind. Drilling, hammering, building and constructing. (Swearing not included). Packed with 237 different sounds to immerse you audience in the true hardwork day to day

    Recorded with

    Sound Devices 633
    Rode NTG3
    Rode NT4
    Seymour Duncan SCR-1

    17 %
    OFF
    Ends 1576796399
    Add to cart
  • Weapons Weapon Mech & Reload Sounds Play Track 800+ sounds included $80

    Weapon Mech & Reload Sounds is a sfx library recorded for police / military related film or video games. Recorded at 24/96,(real guns and soft/air guns) with 3 microphones (omni, cardioid and shotgun), you can use one sound or mix the 3 layers together for more impact!

    Key Features:

    Library ships in 96kHz, 24bit
    408 files, more than 800 sounds
    Effective workflow: well-grounded Soundminer Metadata
    Add to cart


Need specific sound effects? Try a search below:
 

Thanks to everyone who set up the GDC ’18 Game Audio Mentoring, I along with many others, had the ability to meet with a veteran in game audio who donated their time at GDC for newer members to ask them questions. During lunch, I was able to meet with Adam Gubman of MoonWalk Audio to discuss topics such as branding, balancing multiple interests as a freelancer, and the importance of knowing oneself outside of their career.

After that insightful talk I jumped right back into the Bootcamp with Reel Talk talking about…well, reels! Matthew Marteinsson of Klei Entertainment and Kevin Regamey of Power Up Audio gave a hilarious yet insightful look into how and how not to make an appealing reel and website. Some specific takeaways: Label what you’ve done, showing some implementation work is now the standard, and make sure you’re spelling implementation correctly. After this talk was “Talking about Talking: Recording and Producing Well Crafted Dialogue” by Amanda Rose Smith. I’ve been doing increasingly more dialogue editorial so I was interested in hearing someone who’s involved in the whole dialogue pipeline. From file labeling techniques to warning us about the dangers of relying too much on LUFS (loudness units relative to full scale) in dialogue mastering, Smith gave a very concise talk about the recording and editorial process. This was the last presentation I was able to attend on Tuesday, since I had to prepare to table for a few games I worked on at the IDGA mixer. A frequent collaborator of mine, River Liu, was an IDGA scholar. Since we first met two Global Game Jams ago, I’ve always answered her call for more music and sound in her games. It was a fun event that focused on interacting with others, rather than loud music in dark places. I then headed over to the Game Audio Denizen Facebook group California Pizza Kitchen dinner, coordinated by the fabulous DB Cooper. After ending the night with Denny’s, it was time to call it night.

An 8-bit stylized map shows that attendees have traveled from around the world.

WEDNESDAY

One of my busiest days by far was Wednesday. I was able to attend part of the “What’s Next? A Game Audio MicroTalk Series”, a collection of ten short talks about varying experiences in the industry. Unfortunately, I had to leave for a meeting. I was actually able to attend GDC on a Conference and Summit pass thanks to XBox’s Jerry Lawson Grant for Career Development. Part of that grant included meeting other grant winners and members of the XBox team. I then went to the expo floor for a few minutes before it was time for the first day of CarouselCon! Organized by Matthew Marteinsson during lunch behind the Carousel, there are two mini-talks and then the floor is opened to anybody that wishes to talk. It’s a great time to learn about other points of view and maximize our learning during GDC.

The rest of the day was meetings until I attended the XBox Blacks in Gaming mixer. It’s important to build a community that fosters diversity in the game industry as well as spaces that allow those underrepresented to discuss successes and common problems. Following the BiG mixer, I went to the Unity Party. While incredibly impressive, it was also incredibly loud. I found that some of the most meaningful talks that I had there was outside the venue. With all of the parties and events happening, it can be difficult to remember that bigger and louder doesn’t always equal better.

THURSDAY

Thursday was an especially action-packed day for the game audio community. On top of the G.A.N.G (Game Audio Network Guild) Awards, an award show in which members of the community vote for the music, sound, and articles in game audio, A Shell in the Pit coordinated the second annual Game Audio Karaoke! But I’m getting ahead of myself. Thursday was another day on the expo floor for me. One of the first booths that I attended was Wwise’s. With the announcement of the Wwise 251 certification and the Wwise Adventure Game, there was quite a bit to learn about.

This year I was given the opportunity to volunteer at the G.A.N.G Awards. I wanted to be able to somehow give back to the community that offers so much, so I jumped at the chance to make the officers jobs a little easier. If you saw two people running up to Becky Allen and Bonnie Bogovich before the winners were announced and then scurrying away, then you probably caught a peak of me and Emily Pitts, a student at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (my alma mater). A highlight of the night was when Bonny and Becky lead the audience in arpeggiating on the word GANG, lead by a kazoo. The standout winner was Will Roget, the composer of Call of Duty, who won 5 awards.

I had already lost my voice twice in two weeks, so I decided to opt out of karaoke and just mingle with others who stayed after the show.

FRIDAY

People sit around the Day of the Devs boothFriday was a bit more subdued compared to the last few days. Much of the same happened. Sightglass in the morning, CarouselCon in the afternoon. I chose to spend most of the day walking the expo floor, since it closed at 3PM. I spent quite a bit of time at the Day of the Devs showcase. Some games that really stood out to me were Harold Handibut: A Handmade Adventure Tale by Slow Games, Mosaic by Krillbite Studio, Knights and Bikes by Foam Sword, and Dead Static Drive by Team Fanclub. Friday night was the School of Video Game Audio meetup at the California Pizza Kitchen. With the convention fading away, it was a night of goodbyes.

SATURDAY MORNING

While everyone else was sleeping in or catching flights, members of the audio community dutifully met up at Sightglass Coffee one more time to reflect upon the week and set goals for the year ahead. This was a bit different than the past few days though. We expanded the conversation to topics such as unionization, inclusivity, privilege, and how we as a community can always do better to respect each other. While it’s easy to talk about how everything is fantastic and ride the GDC high, it’s sobering to remember that there’s always room for improvement and acknowledge toxic elements that still persevere. To quote Damian Kastbauer himself from a must-read Twitter chain: “We need each other to foster an environment of continuous improvement in order to change the culture. It is bigger than #GameAudio but it’s where we live and can affect change.”

We have a habit of marking our development as human beings with large, annual events: Birthdays, Holidays, and for those fortunate enough to attend consecutive years, GDC. The ability to honestly reflect upon growth while surrounded by colleagues and friends is a special thing that I try not to take for granted. Though GDC may be over and I’m drowning in business cards, I think I can officially call my second GDC a success as I prepare to make my third one even better.

The busy entrance of the Moscone Center North Hall.

 

A big thanks to Colin Andrew Grant for sharing his insights and experiences from GDC! We hope to see you there next year!

 

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:
 
 
  • Electricity My Phone Is On Vibrate Play Track 17 sounds included $7 $6

    *BUZZZZ* Left your phone in your pocket? On the tile floor? Under a pile of your roommate's disgusting laundry? Locate it with these 17 audio files, recorded in various locations using a customized vibration pattern.

    14 %
    OFF
    Add to cart
  • Cars Hybrid Electric Car Play Track 100 sounds included $45

    The Hybrid Electric Car SFX library features a collection of exterior and interior sounds from a 2007 Toyota Prius. A majority of the recording was conducted at El Mirage Lake, a six mile long dry lake bed in the Mojave Desert, 90 miles north of Los Angeles.

    This barren landscape, unique for its miles of completely flat terrain, is a popular filming location for automobile commercials and feature films. The recording sessions took place late in the evening and early in the morning, when the surroundings were completely silent.

    An ample collection of exterior pass bys, starts, and stop recordings on pavement, gravel, and dry lake bed are included. Speeds range from 5MPH to 80MPH from only running on the electric motor/battery pack, to pushing the Prius’ gas engine towards its max. Other sounds such as washer/wipers, electric motor and gas engine idling complete the collection.

    Add to cart
  • Sci-Fi High Tech Interface Sounds Play Track 290 sounds included $30

    Looking for futuristic interface sounds? The High Tech Interface Sounds library is a targeted solution for just that. It features 280 sound effects in categories like Beeps, Buttons, Clicks, Data Processing, Micro High Tech and more – created by Sergey Eybog, who recently won an award for his user interface sound design.

    Add to cart
 
Explore the full, unique collection here

Latest sound effects libraries:
 
  • AUTOMATED BIRD NOISE REMOVAL

    DEBIRD automatically recognizes bird noises in your recordings and removes them with surgical precision.

    THE PROBLEM
    Meet the involuntary #1 enemy of recordists and editors alike: Birds.

    While their lively and delightful song is a true asset in nature ambiences, it ruins just about everything else.

    As a result, countless hours are spent on the rather tedious task of cleaning recordings before one can get back to the fun part and focus on the creative process.

    Meet DEBIRD – your simple but powerful tool that utilizes Deep Learning to do all the cleaning work for you.

    Sit back and relax while DEBIRD effortlessly extracts all the unwanted chatter from your audio file within seconds!

    HOW TO USE DEBIRD?

    1. Drag any sound into DEBIRD. It is analyzed automatically.

    2. Hit Play. Enjoy your de-birded recording! You can see the removed bird sounds in the lower spectrum display.

    3. Simply export the cleaned sound.

    THAT’S IT?
    Yes! It is really that simple. You need some more features? You can also do the following:

    Would you like to keep certain sounds that would otherwise be removed? No problem! Grab a boundary box or brush and show DEBIRD what to keep.

    Solo and export the extracted bird sounds if needed. DEBIRD can be used in the exact opposite way it was designed for.

    TIMESAVER
    DEBIRD turns hours of work into seconds.

    FAST PROCESSING
    No matter how fast you remove bird sounds, DEBIRD is faster.

    CUT THE SLACK
    No more need to plan recording sessions at night or use invasive methods such as scaring off birds.

    SMART
    DEBIRD‘s Machine Learning capabilities help the tool to improve over time.

    HELP US TO IMPROVE DEBIRD
    DEBIRD works with a neural network that further improves the more input it gets. We will continuously feed the deep learning algorithm with recordings of birds to improve the results and to better handle edge-cases.

    WHAT YOU CAN DO
    You have a file and DEBIRD struggles to properly remove the bird sounds? Contact us via debird@boomlibrary.com and send us your audio file. We will include it into the machine learning routine and DEBIRD will handle such cases better over time.

    REQUIREMENTS

    SOFTWARE
    DEBIRD works as a standalone application without a host DAW or NLE.

    SYSTEM
    Windows Windows 7 (64-bit), 8 GB RAM, Intel® Core i5
    Mac Mac OS X 10.11, 8 GB RAM, Intel® Core i5

    ILOK
    Available licensing options:
    Machine License activation and USB Dongle

    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1576882799
  • Drones & Moods Boat Ride ">Play Track 100+ sounds included, 225 mins total $50 $30

    Also included in LT Underwater Bundle 2!

    The library has been recorded on small and medium-sized trip motorboats in Montenegro, Adriatic Sea. Rather than image of a specific boat model, this collection includes a set of universal elements with plenty of variations and perspectives, both realistic sources and stylized designs.

    Boat ride / overwater – engine roar with more or less rushing water hiss, mic onboard

    Boat ride / overwater – without the sounds of engine – universal rushing water around a fast moving object

    Boat ride / underwater – sounds of a fast movement underwater

    Waves splashing on a hull / underwater – boat is not moving, different wave intensities

    Designed underwater – adding more interesting variations and emotions to the previous categories – stylized / multi-layered / spacious / diffused / distant / deep / eerie

    Gear used:
    Ambient Sound Fish 1 MKII hydrophone – includes ultrasonics
    Aquarian H2A hydrophone
    Sound Devices Pre6 recorder
    Sony PCMD100 handheld recorder
    Rode SoundFiled NT-SF1

    Key features:
    • 94 files – 19 source overwater, 20 source underwater, 55 designed underwater
    • 24 Bit / 96 kHz native resolution mono/stereo
    • meta-tagged in Soundly
    • each filename includes the full tag line

    40 %
    OFF
    Ends 1576969199
  • Foley CashMoney Play Track 105 sounds included $24 $14.40

    CashMoney is a detailed collection of 105 sounds created by recording stacks of fresh paper banknotes and metal coins.

    CashMoney includes a wide variety of money based activities, from counting and shuffling paper banknotes, to handling, counting and spinning various metal coins, on surfaces, in hands and in boxes. There is also a section of designed sounds, representing a fast bank note counting machine.

    This collection is divided into 3 folders, according to the type of cash:

    • Coins: 68
    • Banknotes: 23
    • Designed Note Counter: 14

    All sounds were recorded or designed, and edited at 24 Bit / 96 kHz, with embedded meta data and accompanying spreadsheets.

    40 %
    OFF
    Ends 1576796399
  • Destruction & Impact Hardwork Play Track 237 sounds included, 26 mins total $28.99 $23.99

    Who doesn’t recognize the sounds of construction work and the toughest duties ever known to humankind. Drilling, hammering, building and constructing. (Swearing not included). Packed with 237 different sounds to immerse you audience in the true hardwork day to day

    Recorded with

    Sound Devices 633
    Rode NTG3
    Rode NT4
    Seymour Duncan SCR-1

    17 %
    OFF
    Ends 1576796399
  • Weapons Weapon Mech & Reload Sounds Play Track 800+ sounds included $80

    Weapon Mech & Reload Sounds is a sfx library recorded for police / military related film or video games. Recorded at 24/96,(real guns and soft/air guns) with 3 microphones (omni, cardioid and shotgun), you can use one sound or mix the 3 layers together for more impact!

    Key Features:

    Library ships in 96kHz, 24bit
    408 files, more than 800 sounds
    Effective workflow: well-grounded Soundminer Metadata
 
FOLLOW OR SUBSCRIBE FOR THE LATEST IN FANTASTIC SOUND:
 
                              
 
GET THE MUCH-LOVED A SOUND EFFECT NEWSLETTER:
 
The A Sound Effect newsletter gets you a wealth of exclusive stories and insights
+ free sounds with every issue:
 
Subscribe here for free SFX with every issue

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.