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Perhaps this should be a somewhat obvious question, but I'm wondering if anyone has any advice regarding footsteps for game audio. Trying to come up with nice-sounding steps for a number of different surface types (stone, dirt, water, grass, wood, and leaves) and a number of foot types (shoes, barefoot, armoured, spider, hooves, rock creature, etc.)

What I'm wondering is: how many variations of each should I have? do I need to have different sounds for walk/run (besides volume and pacing, what's the difference b/w walking & running footsteps)...? What sorts of things should I be looking for when I'm sorting through my library for sounds (I don't have access to a foley room for this stuff)?

To be honest, I figured this should be fairly easy but once I've got the sounds in the game I'm finding I'm not quite satisfied with the sounds, and I've been redoing it over and over again trying to get the right footstep sounds.

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What I'm wondering is: how many variations of each should I have?

3-8 variations (or as a rule of thumb, 5 variations) depending on the speed of movement (at faster speeds you tend to pick up repetition more easily). The pitch variation (and volume) that you can enable in game engines or audio middleware tools often does the rest.

do I need to have different sounds for walk/run (besides volume and pacing, what's the difference b/w walking & running footsteps)...?

Depends on the level of realism you're aiming for (of course it depends on the style of the game). If there are different movement modes and you want there to be corresponding movement sounds, then you'll likely do all possible variations (possibly including all surfaces as well) separately.

For the differences between different modes of movement, read some physiology or listen to what sounds you make yourself (and what parts of your feet or body makes those sounds) when moving in a certain way and use that as a reference point (remembering the level of realism that you're aiming for and the style of the game).

What sorts of things should I be looking for when I'm sorting through my library for sounds (I don't have access to a foley room for this stuff)?

Just that they are fit for the use either without modification or after editing (layering, pitching, cutting, equalizing...). You need to test that the files can be played in any possible order (because they will be played in random order in-game for a more natural feel).

And as always: if it sounds good, it's good. No need to get scientific here.

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