Sound Effects 101

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  • Creator
  • #1838

    Hey, all!

    I’m currently working on my first game (woohoo!) and was hired as a composer, my area of specialty. The developer asked if I could do sound effects as well and of course I said yes. Now I’m just a little nervous about how to get started on it and wondered if anybody had any resources they’d recommend. I know I can do it, I just want as much help as possible. Questions I have include:

    What are some best practices people have for creating effects?
    What books/websites can you recommend?
    How do you make sounds for things that have no real life analogue (spell casting-like things)?
    What kind of equipment is required?

    My setup is an AT2035 condenser mic, Scarlett 2i4 digital interface, Tascam DR-40, Logic Pro X, monitors, controllers, etc.

    I’ve read The Sound Effects Bible, The Foley Grail, and The Complete Guide to Game Audio.

    Thanks, everyone! Music I can crank out with no problems, but sound design is just a brand new beast for me.

    Troy Strand
    Saint Paul, MN

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  • Author
  • #1854

    I would say that you have everything you need.

    I’m essentially in the same boat as you, except that I just finished my first game (music and sound design).

    I don’t know if I would call this “best practice”, but it worked for me:

    1) I created a Sound Design Project file in Logic
    2) Create as many tracks as you need to blend sounds to get what you are looking for. Some require a single track. Others required 4-5 tracks.
    3) Think about the frequency content and envelope of the sound that you want to create. (Or to use synth terms: Attack, Decay, etc.)
    I usually hear it in my head first, and I’ll start thinking of sounds that can get me in the ballpark.
    Don’t rely on sound libraries for everything…you can actually do some great things with a mic, a synth and some creativity.
    4) Record any audio at the highest possible quality. This will make manipulation easier (stretching, slowing down, etc.)
    5) Each finalized effect would have a group of component tracks that I would pack into folders upon completion.
    6) Accurately (and thoroughly) name each track and folder. I like to use “dummy proof” naming conventions, so that I can come back a year later and identify what it was.

    I found a lot of big picture inspiration from this video:

    Hope that helps!

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