Game Audio Project | Parole - Part 2

Hey returning reader, time to take a break and reflect on this project. I've been at the FMOD rabbit hole desk all week just getting to know the middleware in a completely new way. The work i've undertaken on this project has pushed me to troubleshoot once again, but more importantly made me think about 3D sounds. 3D sounds you say? Let's talk about that. 

Working with 3D Sounds

As I arrived at my desk today I was like a rubber band wound up by a litre of coffee just waiting to finish this project, I set up shop in front of something I don't use too often, a PC. My FMOD session was complete and I had made all my finishing touches the night before, or so I thought.

This was my first project working with 3D sound events in FMOD and I had a good team that were relying on me, not that there should be anything to be afraid of or increased pressure. In fact, I was more excited than anything. Although, as soon as I started with the session, I ran into a myriad of issues that I still can't understand. It seemed at some point, when I transferred all of my work from my mac to the PC it didn't like it. This could have been avoided if I had started the implementation earlier. The correct process that I should have followed would be to create a duplicate scene in Unity, then begin to implement my work a week out from the completion using only one computer the whole time. Either Mac or PC, but not both.

The unfortunate answer to not getting the FMOD session working in time, is I will need to complete the project next week or over the weekend and settle for sounds that have been placed in with Unity. This is a hard bullet to bite, because I had spent a good part of my creative output attempting to create real environments with convolution reverbs and adaptive fades in my mix. Good news is, I am going to use this opportunity to discuss convolution reverbs and try to get to the bottom of why they are so handy. 

What Are Convolution Reverbs and How do They Work?

A convolution reverb uses things called impulse responses to simulate the reverb time of a real space. I used this technique in Parole to simulate a space that had hard surfaces and a shorter early reflection. Although I had never stood in a prison cell (thankfully), it was what I imagined the space to be like. Now, back on track. This type of reverb is widely used in film and games post-production as a way to give realistic feedback to the listener of the experience. 

How is an impulse response made?

An impulse response or IR as it is more commonly referred as, is made with the sharpest transient of something like a starter gun or even sometimes a sweep tone to get the maximum effect and reverb time out of the space. It is then recorded at a high sample rate, then put into special convolution reverb plugins where the IR is recreated by algorithms to reproduce the space of the original source. In the video below, the audio practitioners are attempting to record IR in quite a large space, but the issue they have is the high signal to noise ratio. This can be an issue with any recording, but in the case of getting quality IR's it is worth noting that low noise floor is ideal 100% of the time. 

How did I get my IR?

As my time was limited, it wasn't in my scope to record anything this complex, however I may do so in the future. I simply jumped onto Google and typed in free 'impulse responses' and I got lucky to find some royalty free samples. The pack I downloaded had everything I needed for this project and it has once agin opened my eyes up to a new corner of the audio world. If you're at all interested in visiting this site, simply click this link for an eye opening experience. 

What I hope to get out of this game?

I am still hoping to implement the sounds I have mixed in FMOD for this session, but most of all as an audio collaborator, I need to be there from the get go. My mistake was to let life take hold of me and leave things to the last minute. This could have been a chance to keep honing my skills, and it still is. I'm even more committed to learning new skills that can make me a better sound designer and would like to keep working on games and post-production as I think it may have been the niche I was looking for. Next week I will be giving my post-mortem of this production and I'm really looking forward to bringing some positive news and awesome content to show off. Until next time. Bye.

 

References

(2018). Retrieved from https://www.bhphotovideo.com/find/newsLetter/Convolution-Reverb.jsp/

Free Reverb Impulse Responses | Voxengo. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.voxengo.com/impulses/

Impulse Record - Recording Impulse Response NASA Kennedy Space Center. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aldlR1vBejc

 

 

Stephen Rumph