Video Game Sound Designer

Sound Designers make everything you hear in a game except for dialog and music. They will use a DAW to create the sound effects.  They can pull sounds from sound effects libraries or make the sounds from scratch.  They will record sounds in the field or in a foley studio.  Then they can take those raw sounds and mix them together and use effects to make the game world come alive.  Designers will be asked to make all kinds of sounds depending on the game.  They can make anything from huge dragons to car engine or machine guns and tanks. Part of the job is also making every single sound in the game.  This includes every footstep and cloth rustle you hear as the game character moves around the world.

Technical Sound Designers are responsible for integrating all the sounds in the game.  They work with the game engine and audio middleware such as Wwise or Fmod  to put all the sounds in.  This is a very important position since they control where sounds are placed, what volume the sounds are played at and how far away you can hear the sound in the game world. This is where the games mix takes place.

Audio Directors  are responsible for for making sure all of the audio in a game fits together.  They will interact with all of the other teams making the game to figure out what sounds are needed.  They will review all of the sound designers work and oversee the sound implementation. They lead the audio team.

Composers write all the music you hear in the game.  This is different than other composers because a lot of game audio is interactive.  This means the music is created so that it can switch from loud, thunderous battle music to quiet exploration music in the same song at any time.  Game scores can be all live musicians or all samplers and synths.  It depends on how big the game is and what feel the game needs.

Dialog Producers direct the talent in the voice over sessions.  They will help format the scripts so they are easy to read in sessions.

There are different ways this can all be set up.  All of these jobs could be done by one person on a smaller team.  Sometimes there are multiple sound designers and technical sound designers if it’s a bigger title.  Sometimes you can have one person who works at a game company who hires outside contractors to all of this work.  Outside contractors can either work for themselves or they are part of a bigger company that does sounds for a bunch of different games.

How to get started
Try to intern at a game company or work on an indie project.  This will give you experience so you can get your foot in the door at a game company.  Learning the tools will help you as well.  Fmod, Wwise, Unreal and Unity all have free downloads of their software so you can learn how everything works together,  Play a lot of games and listen how everything works together.  A lot of games will let you adjust the volume on music and sound effects.  Turn each one off and listen how just the music works, then listen to how the sound effects all work.


Courtesy of: Tom Smurdon

Copyright SoundGirls.Org 2015