Asbjoern Andersen


GameSoundCon is one of the world’s most influential conferences on game audio, and this year’s event takes place at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in LA on Nov. 3-4. But what’s the story behind the event, what’s in store this year – and as a visitor, how do you make the most of the conference? I decided to get in touch with GameSoundCon founder Brian Schmidt to find out:
 

Hi Brian, please introduce yourself and GameSoundCon:

Thank you for the opportunity to talk with you! I’m Brian Schmidt, founder and Executive Director of GameSoundCon. I started in game audio in 1987, and have alternately been a freelancer and full employee working the whole time in game music and sound design. I’m just now finishing up the score for “Game of Thrones” pinball (the actual, physical pinball, not a simulator! :).

GameSoundCon is a conference dedicated to sharing knowledge about composing music for games and video game sound design. We have a combination of masterclasses, panel sessions as well as some hands-on training in game audio development tools and sessions for everyone from the rank rookie to the seasoned veteran.
 

Who is GameSoundCon aimed at?

GameSoundCon is for composers, sound designers and other audio professionals who work on games or would like to.

We have three main groups who come to GameSoundCon. The first is composers, sound designers, recording engineers, etc who mostly work in other media—most typically Film, TV, etc.—but haven’t had much or any experience in games and would like to know the lay of the land.

The second group is the seasoned game audio professionals. They know the business, having worked on anything from casual, mobile games to AAA blockbusters and want to keep their finger on the pulse of the industry.

We have a separate ‘session track’ for each: In Game Audio Essentials, we cover the nuts and bolts of game audio, from technical to creative to business. Think of it as a Game Audio 101 Cram Course in two days. The second track is Game Audio Pro. That’s where we have sessions about more advanced topics in game audio. Physical modelling, advanced interactive compositional techniques, the state of audio for Virtual Reality and so on

The final group attends our hands-on training sessions in FMOD or Wwise. This group generally is pretty well versed in game audio, but want to go through the sessions (presented by the people who create the tools) to quickly get up to speed on the latest in game audio design tools.

I’ve had some multi-decade veterans attend some of the “Essentials” sessions and say “wow, I didn’t know that”

People are free to go between all the different tracks, and I’ve had some multi-decade veterans attend some of the “Essentials” sessions and say “wow, I didn’t know that” or go to one or two specific hands-on sessions.

What’s the most fun is seeing all the groups get together and feed off each other. We host a big mixer/networking event after the first day, and the conversations during that are amazing.
 

How did GameSoundCon get started in the first place, and what have been some of the major milestones for the conference since then?

I started GameSoundCon in 2009, back when it was only the “Essentials” track; sort of a “Game Audio 101” masterclass. I started it because during my 10 years at Microsoft, I saw a lot of game titles being developed, and I also saw a lot of composers and sound designers coming from more traditional media doing their first games. And I started to see a pattern. While all extremely talented, they were all stumbling over the same issues; issues that have no counterpart in Film, TV or commercial music. Things like composing for interactivity, dealing with technical issues like streaming, memory limitations, compression, or not understanding how very fundamentally different games are from traditional media.

While all extremely talented, they were all stumbling over the same issues; issues that have no counterpart in Film, TV or commercial music

That’s what made me think a conference, where we teach everyone those very unique technical, creative and even business challenges of composing music for video games or doing video game sound design would be beneficial. So when someone new to the industry did their first game, they wouldn’t be blindsided by terms like “Ogg vorbis,” “perforce” or “vertical vs horizontal” interactive music.

A big milestone for us was 2013, where we expanded the format to include the “Game Audio Pro” track and adding the hands-on training. That meant more than quadrupling the space (the original GameSoundCon was a single room; this year we have 7 reserved at the venue) and reaching out to people experienced in games.
 

What sort of planning and preparation goes into organizing the conference? It must take a lot of effort to get all the panels, sessions and masterclasses in place?

It’s a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun. When I was program manager for audio at Xbox, I gave a LOT of talks and presentations (I think I counted around 150 or so), so I had a really good idea on how I wanted to organize the content in the early days. This year I had a record number of talk submissions, and it was really hard to choose. I try to round it out among specific topics I know I want to cover (business, technical, creative essentials), but then see where the submissions take me. I do try to balance the sessions out, so that we cover some production issues, some sound design issues, some music issues, a bit of VO, etc. Game Audio is very broad and even with 2 main tracks; it’s hard to cover everything.
For the hands-on FMOD and Wwise sessions, I generally let the people at FMOD and WWise figure out what they want to present; they are top notch and they pretty much take care of everything.
 

Aside from the sessions, what else does GameSoundCon have?

As mentioned, one of the highlights of GameSoundCon is our networking mixer. It’s a chance for attendees to unwind, talk and meet each other as well as our speakers and panelists. We also have a variety of companies demonstrating game audio technologies or other tools and products. The mixer immediately follows the keynote, so the room is fresh from being inspired. There’s something about bringing 250 composers and sound designers together in a room for two days and geeking out over game music and sound design.
 

Does this year’s conference have a specific theme?

Audio for VR’s going to be given some extra highlights. That is an area—like much in game audio—where the road ahead is largely unpaved. I also have a couple deliberate talks on making virtual orchestra sound real. Although a lot of game music is scored with live musicians, the bulk of game music is created by the composer alone with their DAW. Laura Karpman is giving a talk on how to best compose and sequence to make virtual instruments come to life, and the incredibly prolific film and game music mixer, John Rodd follows Laura’s talk with expert advice on mixing and mastering a virtual session.
 

And what are some of the highlights?

I’m thrilled to have Chance Thomas provide our keynote this year. Chance has been a leader in the game audio community for well over a decade—he was responsible for putting together a committee which successfully lobbied NARAS to make video game music eligible for a GRAMMY award. His work on games like Lord of the Rings and DOTA 2 are incredible, his passion for the industry shows in everything he does.

It always awe-inspiring to hear what literally a century’s (or more) worth of experience has on their collective minds

Chance is also the author of the forthcoming textbook, “Composing for Games” soon to be published by Focal Press.

I always love the roundtables. For the past several years, we have ended the conference bringing everyone together for the final 2 sessions: the Composer’s roundtable and the Audio Director’s roundtable. It always awe-inspiring to hear what literally a century’s (or more) worth of experience has on their collective minds..
 

When you look at the conference lineup this year – and game audio in general – what trends are you noticing?

As I mentioned, AR/VR will definitely be on peoples’ minds. Between simulated 3D sound, virtual music, there is such an open palette of possibilities. And frankly, that’s one of the best things about game audio. Although we are getting mature as an industry, there is so much yet out there that is uncharted.

It’s also clear that the casual/mobile industry isn’t going away anytime soon. According to a recent article in Gamasutra, last year the app store was seeing 500 new games per day. While that’s not the greatest news for developers trying to stand out, it’s actually pretty good news for composers, since a goodly portion of those games hires composers and sound designers.


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


Trending right now:

  • Cinematic & Trailer Sound Effects Abandoned Oil Tank Play Track 327 sounds included $50

    On a recording trip to the smaller Danish port town Struer, I came across an abandoned empty oil tank. Inside I found two giant wires attached to the floor and the ceiling of the tank, almost like a huge 2 stringed double bass. I’m telling you the reverb in there was longer than the Eiffel Tower on a cloudless day !

    On the outside this was just an empty abandoned building, but it turned out it was not empty at all because it was full of sound and a few dead birds. I’m glad I was curious enough to go inside for a closer investigation and not just pass by.

    After several hours of concentrated recording, it was nice to get my ears back out in dry air. I’m happy there are no open sends to Valhalla in real life but experiencing the eternal resonance on the low frequencies from the wires was absolutely amazing.

    Abandoned Oil Tank was recorded with a LOM basic Ucho stereo pair, a Zoom H6 and the LOM Geofon. All files are in 96 kHz/24 bit and contain the original recordings.

    The result is a unique sound effect library including balloon pop impulse responses from a truly unique location that very recently became even more unique since word says that the oil tank is no more and has abandoned this world.

    327 individual sounds – all tagged with Universal Category System (UCS) metadata.

    www.katrineamsler.com

  • The Rummage & Loot Sound Effects library contains 203 sound effects for looting and searching for items.

    Instances include:

    Search Backpack/Inventory
    Search through Drawers/Cupboards
    Search Trash/Rubbish Bins
    Search through Bushes/Foliage
    Search Toolbox/Metal Items
    Search Wallet/Coin Pile
    Search Corpses

    Other case uses include:

    Equip Clothing or Gear
    Inventory Sounds
    Item Collect/Pickup
    Handling various objects/items

    28 %
    OFF
  • Authentic Forest Footsteps 

    Explore a collection of genuine forest footsteps, recorded in various forests through different seasons. Our goal was to capture a wide range of textures, from the moisture-rich swampy forest to the distinct crunch of leaves in a dry, woodland setting.

    Each file is recorded using the Sennheiser MKH 8040 and Sound Devices mixers. Whether you’re working on a film, a game, or any multimedia project, these sound effects add a touch of realism to your audio landscape.

    13 %
    OFF
    Ends 1713477599
  • Vehicle Sound Effects Ford F-150 Truck Play Track 85+ sounds included, 52 mins total $99

    Get the sounds of a Ford F-150 2013 truck, captured by Watson Wu. Metadata is included with over 52 minutes of combined recording time split into 85 ready to use wave files. There are onboard, external, and foley sounds, all in high quality 24 bit resolution, 96khz sample rate. This is the right library when you need truck sounds for your film, TV, or game projects. Note that are no interior cab recordings in this package.

    Onboard multi-track recordings are in 4 separate mono wave files. Drag & drop or import each of the files into your audio editing software, then align them for creative mixing. There are also stereo mix versions of the OnBoard recordings. The External recordings are in stereo wave files. The download is a 1.5gb compressed .rar file (3.45gb Uncompressed).

    Text here:

    Onboard Settings:
    Channel 1 = Engine, Channel 2 = Near Air Intake, Channel 3 = Exhaust 1, Channel 4 = Exhaust 2

    External Settings:
    Stereo in Left and Right Channels


Latest releases:

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

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

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

    Behind the Scenes Video:


    Royal Cannon


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

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

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

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

     

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

    30 %
    OFF
  • Introducing “Presage – Boutique Horror Instrument,” our inaugural Kontakt Instrument designed to evoke spine-chilling terror and suspense. Featuring an array of meticulously crafted sounds including Dark Impacts, Slams, Attic Rumbles, Bowed Wood and Cymbals, Bells, Clock Ticks, Typewriter SFX, Drones and Atmospheres, Scrapes, Stingers, a Victrola Needle, and much more.

    Presage is a comprehensive toolkit for composers and sound designers seeking to immerse their audiences in a world of fear and unease. Every sound in this horror sample library is meticulously twisted and distorted, ensuring maximum impact in your compositions.

    The intuitive GUI boasts our signature “Trepid Knob,” a blend of compressors and transient designers that allows you to manipulate and distort sounds with ease. Additionally, our “Frenzy Knob” offers a choral effect tailored for maniacal delays of madness, while the “Fever Knob” adds saturation to further enhance the intensity of your creations. Unleash your creativity and unleash terror with Presage – your ultimate horror sound solution.

    Requires the full version of Kontakt 6.8.0 (or higher)

  • This is a remaster of our 1st library. Every sample has been reworked to punch harder and yet take less headroom. It now has 2243 unique sounds, 648 of these are brand new! That’s more than 2GB of content, running at 1:04:29.

    In this pack, you will find everything you need to create amazing Sci-fi impacts and whooshes. You have access to complex cinematic sounds, sources and FX to create your own unique stuff, a special folder of sub and transient heavy sounds to add oomph and punch to any sound, as well the star of the show: the Designed Weapons.
    Whether you are looking for a laser sword or an electric hammer, you will quickly find something ready to use in this pack. We have included 20 predesigned weapons complete with whooshes, hits and blocks variations. The 3 new weapons included also have more variations and some extra goodies such as parries or positive and negative blocks.

    Everything is in 24bit 96khz and uses the UCS naming convention.

    Have fun! :)

    AUDIO SUMMONERS

    20 %
    OFF
Need specific sound effects? Try a search below:


What has been one of your proudest moments with GameSoundCon?

I’ve felt proudest by the incredible support I’ve had for GameSoundCon from my friends and colleagues in the game audio community: the speakers, panelists have all been incredibly supportive and giving. Almost without exception the people in the game audio community love to give back, love to share their knowledge, passion and expertise in game music and sound design. It’s a community that doesn’t quite exist in other areas of game development.

I also love it when I run into someone who attended a GameSoundCon some years before and discover that they’re working at EA, or Sledgehammer, or have written some incredible game score, or speaking at GameSoundCon! It’s a great feeling.
 

For people who will be attending the conference for the first time this year, how do you recommend they prepare, and what do you think will surprise them the most?

Just arrive with an open mind and be well rested! We dish out a lot of content in just 2 days, and it can be a bit overwhelming. You will want to look at the agenda ahead of time so you can map out which sessions you want most to attend.
 

For those new to the industry, people almost always say they are stunned at how much information the presenters share

If you are going to partake in “speed mentoring” (6 minutes with selected GameSoundCon speakers and game audio professionals) you might want to bring a demo of your best stuff for critique (but we do limit demos to 60 seconds, please).

For those new to the industry, people almost always say they are stunned at how much information the presenters share. That how, in such a competitive environment, they are willing to share what they know and talk about what it is they do and give details on how they do it. I like to joke that there are so few people who understand what it is that we do, that once we find people willing to listen, we can’t shut up about it!
 

You still have early-bird tickets available – where can people find these?

Earlybird tickets, as well as a listing of our speakers and sessions are online at www.GameSoundCon.com (Register by Oct 2 to get the earlybird discount!)
Last year, the conference completely sold out, so it was pretty exciting.
 

A big thanks to Brian Schmidt for sharing the story behind GameSoundCon. Be sure to hop on over to the GameSoundCon website to read more about the event + secure some tickets.
 

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:

  • COMPATIBLE WITH ANY VIDEO SOFTWARE
    CRAFTED BY INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS
    INSTANT DIGITAL DOWNLOAD
    100% ROYALTY FREE

    Introducing the Ultimate Sound FX Bundle – your all-in-one solution to level up your audio game! Say goodbye to wasting countless hours searching for the perfect sound effects, and hello to a seamless editing process that enhances your creativity.

    This bundle includes sound effects from different genres and subjects, so you’ll have everything you need right at your fingertips. Whether you’re working on a film, game, podcast, or music project, this bundle has got you covered.

    With the Ultimate Sound FX Bundle, you can speed up your workflow and take your creativity to new heights. Imagine having access to a vast library of high-quality sound effects that perfectly match your project’s needs, all in one place. No more time wasted on sifting through endless sound effect libraries – this bundle has it all.

    Don’t let sound effects be a pain point in your creative process any longer. Invest in the Ultimate Sound FX Bundle today and experience a smoother, more efficient workflow that unleashes your full creative potential.

    Image
    78 %
    OFF
  • This library contains recordings of eleven different types of doors specifically chosen for their interesting sound. I performed all actions with a lot of detail covering “open/close”, “knocks”, “bangs and thuds”, “handle grab and rattle” and when possible also “crackles and squeaks” (all recorded at various intensities)

  • Footsteps Sound Effects Ultimate Footsteps Play Track 1176-3056+ sounds included From: $160

    Need footstep sound effects? Get 5 Shoes, 25+ surfaces, 15+ variations – created by Foley Supervisor Joshua Reinhardt and professional Foley walker Lara Dale.

    Deep heavy metal, crunchy snow, old boat wood, crisp grass, gritty dirt, clean tile – this library has it all. Not only does this library contain walking but it's got pretty much every performance you can think of, from scuffs to jumps and lands and scrapes. With this library you can cut Foley for pretty much any film or game that comes your way.

    Highlights:

    • 17 different Performances – From slow walk to RUN, 5 scrapes, bodyfall/land, stomps and more
    • Every file is labeled with a description of the shoe, surface and performance type.
    • Every folder has a picture of the shoe and surface plus a description of the distance of the mic from the Foley walker.
    • Combine wood creak sweeteners with Ultimate Interiors wood for scary creaky wood or add grit to a clean interior to give character.
    • Same recording studio mics and preamps used in over 50 major motion pictures
    • Same boots that were used for Sylvester Stallone in The Expendable
    • Mix and match shoes, surfaces and sweeteners to make your own custom characters
    • Can be used as a stereo or separated and mixed/matched as a mono depending which mic works best for your project

    Specs:

    Foot wear type:
    Boots, Dress Shoes, Flats, Heels, Sneakers.

    Performances:
    Extremely Slow Walk, Medium Slow Walk, Walk, Jog, Run, Stairs Slow, Stairs Fast, Stomp, Land, Scuff, Scrape 1, Scrape 2, Scrape 3, Scrape 4, Scrape 5.

    Surface Types:
    Asphalt, Carpet 1, Carpet 2, Concrete, Hardwood, Hardwood house, Hardwood deep, Hardwood parquet, Hardwood boat wood, Hardwood Dock, Lino, Marble, Tile, Dirt, Grass, Metal grate, Diamond plate Metal, Metal Slab, Wood Creak 1 old, Wood Creak 2, Gravel, Rocks, SNOW!!, Puddle, Water shallow, Water Deep.

Explore the full, unique collection here

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

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

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

    Behind the Scenes Video:


    Royal Cannon


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

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

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

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

     

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

    30 %
    OFF
  • Introducing “Presage – Boutique Horror Instrument,” our inaugural Kontakt Instrument designed to evoke spine-chilling terror and suspense. Featuring an array of meticulously crafted sounds including Dark Impacts, Slams, Attic Rumbles, Bowed Wood and Cymbals, Bells, Clock Ticks, Typewriter SFX, Drones and Atmospheres, Scrapes, Stingers, a Victrola Needle, and much more.

    Presage is a comprehensive toolkit for composers and sound designers seeking to immerse their audiences in a world of fear and unease. Every sound in this horror sample library is meticulously twisted and distorted, ensuring maximum impact in your compositions.

    The intuitive GUI boasts our signature “Trepid Knob,” a blend of compressors and transient designers that allows you to manipulate and distort sounds with ease. Additionally, our “Frenzy Knob” offers a choral effect tailored for maniacal delays of madness, while the “Fever Knob” adds saturation to further enhance the intensity of your creations. Unleash your creativity and unleash terror with Presage – your ultimate horror sound solution.

    Requires the full version of Kontakt 6.8.0 (or higher)

  • This is a remaster of our 1st library. Every sample has been reworked to punch harder and yet take less headroom. It now has 2243 unique sounds, 648 of these are brand new! That’s more than 2GB of content, running at 1:04:29.

    In this pack, you will find everything you need to create amazing Sci-fi impacts and whooshes. You have access to complex cinematic sounds, sources and FX to create your own unique stuff, a special folder of sub and transient heavy sounds to add oomph and punch to any sound, as well the star of the show: the Designed Weapons.
    Whether you are looking for a laser sword or an electric hammer, you will quickly find something ready to use in this pack. We have included 20 predesigned weapons complete with whooshes, hits and blocks variations. The 3 new weapons included also have more variations and some extra goodies such as parries or positive and negative blocks.

    Everything is in 24bit 96khz and uses the UCS naming convention.

    Have fun! :)

    AUDIO SUMMONERS

    20 %
    OFF

   

Leave a Reply

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

HTML tags are not allowed.