Module details for Audio Programming


An introduction to the theory and practice of digital audio and music for games programming students.


The aim of this Module is to provide the student with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills required to implement audio facilities as a games developer and to work with audio professionals as part of a development team.

Learning Outcomes

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

1.  Explain how audio and music are represented in digital form, and how this relates to human perception of sound.

2.  Understand and apply digital audio production and processing techniques used in games contexts.

3.  Implement and critically evaluate audio and music components within a games application.

Indicative Content

1 Introduction to Audio

How the ear works, frequency and pitch, amplitude, phase, sampling, aliasing, Nyquist, time vs. frequency representations, sinusoids, effects of basic operators.

2 Digital Audio

Digital representations, sample rate, bit depth, numerical computation concerns for audio ADCs and DACs, processing latency.

3 Audio Processing

Basic processing techniques and their implementations: normalisation, mixing, distortion, digital fillers, IIR/FIR, pitch and frequency shifting, ring modulation, reverb.

4 Audio Design for Games

Types of sounds used in games - sound effects, ambient sound, dialogue, music - sound editing, sound design in game environments, creating immersive environments.

5 Audio Compression

Lossless codecs, perception and masking, perception of quality, perceptual codecs, streaming audio, audio processing for real-time chat, producing audio assets for games.

6 Audio in Game Engines

Audio facilities in real-world game engines and middleware, linking sound to animation, configuring audio events and music, effective scene switching, comparing widely-used engines.

7 Digital Music

How music theory relates to audio basics, structure of music and basic compositional techniques, sequencing and MIDI, streams of notes, streams of control messages, synthesis vs. sample playback, waveforms, envelopes.

8 Spatial Audio

Perception of spatial audio, multichannel audio vs. binaural audio, environmental audio design, realistic reverb, characteristics of materials, reproducing an environment through interaction with a game engine, plugins for spatial audio.

9 Dynamic Audio

Uses of dynamic audio in games, case studies of complex dynamic effects, guiding the player, notifications, voices, dynamic audio middleware and integrating it with a game engine.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 12
Tutorial/Seminar 0
Practical Activity 36
Assessment 96
Independent 56
Total 200

Guidance notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

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.


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 2021/22 , and may be subject to change for future years.