I was reading this thread about sound design in the film/TV industry and I thought I'd apply the same question to video games. Do you guys suffer from a lack of time, budget, or respect? Thanks.

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This is an area I've been actively exploring for a few years -- it's actually the reason I got into sound design in the first place.

I feel like the future of video game sound design is overall positive. With the easy availability of development kits for PC and Xbox in XNA, and Flash -- not to mention every other coding language out there that can be used to make games -- more and more people are making games every day. More games means more assets, right?

The downside is that most of the new games on the market are casual games. Facebook and sites like Kongregate are booming in plays-per-day compared to any single console, and that means more demand on single sound effects as opposed to soundscapes. I've done a handful of games where all they wanted were one or two sound effects, total.

As far as suffering from a lack of anything, it's been budget, but that's because I'm working with indies.

Finally, I feel I need to point out that, if you intend to design for anything bigger than casual gaming, you NEED to learn the basics of film sound design. Cut scenes ARE films, and need to be scored and designed just the same as any movie that crosses your desk. Also, it's not uncommon for me to develop my video game sounds to a gameplay video, so I can get a feel of how everything sits together.

I guess what I'm saying is that, just like in film, there will always be work available for those who are willing to find it, but it's less likely you'll be working on a big-budget ANYTHING and more likely you'll be working on something tiny. Learn how much you'll be charging for a single sound effect, because you'll get those requests a lot.


In my limited experience I have found the budgets to be far more generous than film, although it's really difficult to compare the two. Video games require sound design from the earliest stages, while film usually doesn't start the sound department until after the first picture edit has been completed. This can be the difference between 3 years vs. 5 months, respectively. And regarding respect, well, I suppose that all depends on your experience level, attitude, and how talented you are!


Yesterday the CEO of Activision said that within a few years he expects to be selling 'films' for $20-30. Developers of big budget modern games often put a lot of resources into making cutscene fmvs which he apparently thinks gamers will be want to purchase without the actual game!

So for some sound designers the future of game sound may be getting closer to sound for film.

On the other hand, technology that allows the playback/synthesis of sound to change in response to user input will become more elaborate, that's different to film sound because a game's soundtrack can be very different every time you play it.

There is a company called AudioKinetic which makes tools for game audio development, they have software called Soundseed Air & Impact which use synthesis techniques to give sound effects different characteristics depending on the context (e.g. a weapon impact sound could be changed to sound bigger or smaller depending on the size of the character using it)

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