Sound and Music for Games

Description

This module introduces students to the theory and practice of sound and music for games. Drawing on examples from film and animation as well as games, the module will explore how sound design for screen media has developed over time, and how the demands of interactivity pose game sound designers a unique set of challenges. The module will explore the production approaches and workflows that underpin interactive audio design and the tools and technologies that enable its implementation in a game environment.

Aims

This module aims to develop an understanding and working knowledge of the production techniques and workflows that underpin sound and music design for games.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Develop an applied understanding of the key theories, concepts, and practices pertinent to the design and production of sound and music for games

2.  Define and produce an audio design document, taking into account audience, platform, and technical constraints

3.  Demonstrate the creative and technical skills necessary to produce libraries of sound and music assets for implementation in a game

Indicative Content

1 Introduction

An overview of the history of sound and music in video games, from early 8-bit soundtracks generated by Programmable Sound Generators, through streaming Red-Book audio on CD to the latest multi-channel sample-based adaptive soundtracks.

2 Background

Modern soundtracks combine ideas from gaming, but also draw heavily on film soundtracks. We will examine the similarities and differences between the two, drawing conclusions on the roles and functions that sound and music play in a computer game.

3 Recording practice

We will introduce students to recording and production theory and practice, including microphone design, application and technique; digital recording theory and practice, and sound editing.

4 Adaptive sound

Students will explore the particular characteristics of adaptive sound design for interactive media, and how nuance and adaptability factors into the design and production process.

5 Application

What are the technologies and middleware systems that support dynamic audio effects for stereo, binaural and surround gaming systems and how do these affect the production process?

6 Technical constraints

What file formats and data compression techniques are available and what are the pros and cons of each? How do these impact on the end user experience?

7 Professional planning

Students will be encouraged to take a professional approach to project planning and management, including designing an audio design document, which details both the conceptual use of sound in a game, and its specific implementation and mechanics, and a complete sound asset list, that details all of the sound elements that will be used.

8 Professional practice

We will investigate the how sound production practice aligns with professional collaboration and development pipelines, including version control, file naming conventions and metadata, particularly with regard to automated processes for implementation and regionalisation, and identifying and protecting intellectual property.

9 Case studies and exemplars

Throughout the module, students will review and discuss case study examples that demonstrate how sound and music have been used in games across a range of different formats and platforms and at different periods in history.

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

In Weeks 1-6 and 8-13, students will participate in 1-hour lectures that focus on the core concepts as outlined in the indicative content, and 2-hour supervised practicals during which they will gain experience of designing, recording, editing, synthesising, and finalising banks of audio files that could be deployed within an interactive audio project. Students will be set additional development exercises for completion outside of scheduled class time. There will be no scheduled activities in Week 7. For assessment, students will be set the task of developing an audio design document, and specifying and creating a complete set of sound assets.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 12
Tutorial/Seminar 0
Supervised Practical Activity 24
Unsupervised Practical Activity 24
Assessment 100
Independent 40



Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


Disclaimer

We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2019/10 , and may be subject to change for future years.