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An Analysis of Differences in Playback Levels Among In-Game Sound Levels, Game Start-up Sounds, and Reference Levels of Game Production Studios

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The audio experience can vary greatly when playing a video game. After establishing a playback level for a reproduction device, the game may still be too loud or too soft. Average reproduction levels can fluctuate from title to title and even within a game. It is important for game production studios to carefully consider how they configure their systems and the effects it may have on consistency in their games. In this paper, the authors survey; 1) the in-game recorded levels of 55 opening cut-scenes from video game titles, 2) the output levels of start-up sounds for four kinds of game consoles, and 3) the current reference levels of sound production facilities for video games. As a result, we conclude; 1) that -20.4dBFS is the average rms value per channel of in-game sound, so that -20dBFS is considered to be the useful reference level for video game production, 2) that -16.4dBFS is the average Leq(A) value from the summed output of in-game sound, and that it has a good relationship with the rms value, 3) that there is little difference among the average levels in games across genres and across game consoles, and that there are large differences among production companies, and 4) that the level of start-up sounds which are implemented into game consoles are approximately 10dB lower than the level of in-game sounds in opening cut-scenes.

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