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Published on July 26th, 2011 | by PSE

3 Keys to Success for Interactive Sound Design and Mobile Sound Effects

Inter­ac­tive and mobile tech­nol­ogy is paving the way for the future, both in terms of how infor­ma­tion is con­sumed, and how the prod­ucts that we use to con­sume infor­ma­tion are pro­duced.  And in order to make cut­ting edge apps, whether it’s for iPad, iPhone, Android, or one of the var­i­ous tablet devices that will soon be part of our world,  you’re going to need cut­ting edge sound effects.

Enter our heroes, the oft-revered, award-winning sound design solu­tion wiz­ards known only as the Soundrangers.  Soundrangers co-founders Kevin Tone and Barry Dowsett have pro­vided sound design and sound effects solu­tions for a some of the biggest media com­pa­nies on the planet (hey there, Google, Microsoft, and Dis­ney!).  You can already buy the Soundrangers Sound Effects Library from the Pro Sound Effects store.

So now, from the horses’ mouths to your rss feed, here is a list of the  three keys to con­sider when design­ing and using mobile sound effects for use in inter­ac­tive sound design.

1.  Loopable sound effects are a must.

One of the things that makes the Soundrangers Library a lot dif­fer­ent from oth­ers is that they have built the sounds to fit the require­ments of a game audio or inter­ac­tive media devel­oper. And what that means is that they have sharp loop­ing files.  So, for instance, if you’re build­ing a rac­ing game and you need the sound of a race car engine loop­ing, they’ve have gone out and recorded a race car.  And they recorded the engine in a man­ner that would allow users to loop it cor­rectly – so all you need to do is drop it into your build and it’ll loop seamlessly.

The thought process: If you know you’re going to have to have five dif­fer­ent engine loops of a par­tic­u­lar car, you have to go out and record it for the car and know that you’re going to have to pull five loops out of it. So, you bet­ter make sure that whoever’s step­ping on the accel­er­a­tor holds it steady so it’s not waver­ing around because once you go back and loop it, it will be nearly impos­si­ble to loop it with­out hear­ing the other engines waver­ing back and forth. It’s a lot of work.

2.  Have sev­eral vari­a­tions of the same sound effect.

These days if you use the same story line over and over and over and over, it gets really repet­i­tive. So, one of the things you have to do from an imple­men­ta­tion stand­point is you have to have mul­ti­ple vari­a­tions of that sound. So, it sounds like the same sound, but it’s been altered timing-wise and pitch-wise and it’s just the lit­tle slight adjust­ments that are made across dif­fer­ent vari­a­tions really make it come to life. So, you can have five sword clangs that all kind of sound the same, but each and every one is slightly dif­fer­ent.  It just sounds more realistic.

3.  Sound effects designed for inter­ac­tive media can be applied to ANY media.

When­ever Soundrangers are cre­at­ing new con­tent for the library, whether it’s out doing field record­ing, or in the stu­dio doing foley or sound design, they approach it with an “inter­ac­tive design aes­thetic.” They always make sure to record enough source mate­r­ial to make qual­ity and con­sis­tent vari­a­tions of each sound. Instead of just try­ing to cap­ture that one per­fect take of some­thing, they don’t stop until they have enough to choose from for a nice batch of sounds. So when they get back to the stu­dio they have plenty of mate­r­ial to cre­ate mul­ti­ple vari­a­tions. Hav­ing mul­ti­ple vari­a­tions of sounds is some­thing that can be very use­ful when doing sound design for games or inter­ac­tive media. In tra­di­tional sound libraries it’s tough to find match­ing ‘sets’ of sounds that can be ran­dom­ized by a game engine and sound natural.

Some­thing Soundrangers has found over the years is that inter­ac­tive media is a much stricter envi­ron­ment for sound than most other forms of media. So by cre­at­ing sounds to work in video games and inter­ac­tive appli­ca­tions, they will also work in tra­di­tional, lin­ear media, whereas it’s not always the case that sounds devel­oped for tra­di­tional media will work in games.  Another exam­ple – in a film you will usu­ally hear a sound once then it’s gone.  But in a game you might get stuck on a level and hear a par­tic­u­lar sound 20 times, so it needs to be right. You may not notice the dis­tract­ing back­ground sounds, noise or some­thing that unnat­u­rally jumps out at you when hear a sound effect once, but after 20th time it may start to bug you. That’s one rea­son a sound devel­oped for inter­ac­tive media will work well in all media whereas a sound that might work in a film won’t nec­es­sar­ily work in a game.

Want to hear more?  Down­load the FREE Guide to Inter­ac­tive Sound Design and Mobile Sound Effects, which includes a PDF Guide plus .wav files of 80 FREE sound effects from the Soundrangers Library!

Click for more infor­ma­tion on the Soundrangers Sound Effects Hard Drive Library.

For more licens­ing inquires please con­tact <div class=“addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style addthis_32x32_style” addthis:url=‘” addthis:title=‘3 Keys to Suc­cess for Inter­ac­tive Sound Design and Mobile Sound Effects ’ >

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