Hello everyone,

I asked a question a week or so ago about audio programming and my interest in becoming a dedicated audio implementer; recently I was on FMODs site and read about the sweet new features in Studio 2011 such as live mixing, use of professional DSP, mixer snapshots, etc...

My question is...

How pivotal do you think these new sets of live mixing, modulating, mastering, and overall workflow enhancing features are to the game dev team, and, should this be one of the very first things I seek to conquer as a prospective audio implementer? Or should I focus on knowing the version that is current exceptionally well?


3 Answers 3


I had the same questions Dakota a few years back. I understood some things the hard way. So if i did them now I would go for:

  1. playing a lot of games in many different sound systems and try to understand "why and how they did it", mostly in the "directors way of thinking".

  2. learn some basic programming (C, Java, and Max/MSP). Cause you WILL need programming in game audio even to understand better the implementation process and "talk" with the programmers. If you know a little programming then you will not have a problem working as an implementor.

  3. Sound design / music / acoustics... if you want to make also the sounds you will implement.

tip: start with game MODs...

  • Wow, I had the same idea. I am a fan of the Command and Conquer series of games, and almost every release (post Westwood days) had some pretty fantastic mods. I am considering attending a traditional college to take some programming courses, but would like to skip on all the extras (core classes, especially math!) Since I just got done taking a two-year course at Tribeca Flashpoint in Chicago. What is your opinion on learning Max for Live? I use Ableton frequently and have a buddy/ teacher who builds his own Max plug-ins for use in Ableton. Is that something to consider as well? Jul 19, 2011 at 22:32
  • Thanks for the advice Nikos. I too want to learn game audio. Would like to learn some MAX/MSP but I don't have it available to me. I'm not sure what I should focus on in C/Java. Start from the beginning? It'll be tough to balance that with film school stuff and other audio stuff I believe?
    – Chris
    Jul 22, 2011 at 5:29
  • @Dakota well my opinion is that it is way better to start from Max/MSP and go to max for live. If you learn the first then the second is just an upgrade but not the other way around! @Chris check out www.cycling74.com the official page of Max/MSP, there are demo and free versions out there of Max, and some pretty good tutorials to get a good start with it, if you start on both max/msp and programming you will reach a point that you can use them both together. Cheers! Jul 22, 2011 at 10:09

Yes, the new tools will be very pivotal when they become available. They are closing the gap between sound designer & implementor. As I understand though, FMOD Studio 2011 is only available by license, while the current FMOD Designer is free to the public for testing. If you want to start learning FMOD implementation the Crysis 1&2 games have wonderful access to the FMOD system.

  • So if I wanted to touch Studio, I would have to purchase the license? Or find a studio who has it already? I have some experience in Designer and Sandbox and just downloaded the API, but I only had about a two week course in FMOD, and everything was just previewed in Sandbox, not actually put in game. Should I just start diving back into FMOD full scale and learn it in and out for now? Jul 19, 2011 at 22:35
  • Both Studio and Designer are available under very similar conditions: Roughly speaking, you can download it and use it for almost anything you want, provided you don't make any money out of it. Apr 8, 2013 at 7:06

Ah, @ChrisEngineAudio is mistaken about Studio's licencing. It's gonna be available for non-commercial purposes without paying a licence fee, just like Designer is currently.

EDIT: To clarify, when I last spoke to Brett, it sounded like his plan was for Studio to be available under the FMOD non-commercial licence, i.e.: free provided you're not making money off it. For money-making purposes, however, Studio would be sold under the FMOD Commercial Licence. Studio and the low-level FMOD API would be sold seperately, instead of them being in a package deal, as is the case with the FMOD API and Designer 2010 currently. Ah, but from Dakota's e-mail it sounds like Firelight might not have all the details hammered out just yet, so I guess this is subject to change.

  • Interesting, when I was at the FMOD demo at GDC this year they told me that Studio would only be available by license. I have searched out information otherwise, but unable to find anything. Do you have a link? Jul 22, 2011 at 18:42
  • Hi Dakota, Thanks for writing. Good question, studio is not released yet. We're still working on it, should be either at the end of this year or early next year. As a programmer you could quite easily use FMOD Designer 2010 and our programmer API. We have 2 APIs , one for low level sound manipulation (ie using sounds/channels/dsps/geometry) and another API for loading designer files and triggering events specified in designer. regards, Brett Paterson | CEO FMOD by Firelight Technologies Pty Ltd Interactive Audio Middleware | www.fmod.org Jul 22, 2011 at 20:42
  • I emailed FMOD, that was their response. Thanks all. Jul 22, 2011 at 20:42
  • Some people have the misconception that using something under licence means that you have to pay for it. That's not necessarily true. A licence imposes conditions that limit how a thing can be used, which may or may not include having to pay for it. Not all licences do - the Creative Commons licence, for example. This is relevant because using FMOD for free for non-commercial purposes is permitted under the FMOD non-commercial licence, meaning that even if Studio is only available 'under licence' it might still be usable for free. THat said, I don't yet know what Firelight's plans are. Oct 12, 2011 at 22:55
  • Now that Studio has been released, I should follow this up: FMOD Studio is available under similar licencing conditions to FMOD Designer, i.e.: you can download and use it for free so long as you don't make any money out of it. If you do want to make money out of it, licences are sold on a per-project basis. Apr 8, 2013 at 7:09

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