Meeting Topic: PLAYTEST, DEBUG, PLAYTEST, PLAY: The State of GAME AUDIO in the GTA
Moderator Name: Mike Romaniak — Sound Designer, Interactive Programmer, and University of Toronto Sessional Lecturer for Interactive Music and Sound for Video Games in the Music Technology & Digital Media program.
Speaker Name: Panelists Second Half: George Spanos, Audio Director and Composer, Digital Extremes; Eduardo Vaisman, Audio Director, Ubisoft Toronto; Jen Costa, Senior Producer, Uken Games; Richie Nieto, Audio Director, Ubisoft Toronto; Jake Butineau, Toronto-based Video Game Composer, The Breakfast Game Audio Club (Host)
Other business or activities at the meeting: Toronto Chair Alan Clayton welcomed everyone. He provided a brief background on this meeting. He then thanked the sponsors and Ryerson University for the use of the facilities. He announced upcoming meetings including The Art of the Mix in April; and 3D Immersive Audio in May.
Meeting Location: Ryerson University, Eaton Theatre, Toronto, CANADA
Alan introduced Mike Romaniak to the audience and provided a bit of his background. Mike thanked the AES for holding this event.
He began by giving an overview of the session. The first half would be an introductory presentation on the state of game audio. A networking/socializing break would follow and would close out with a panel discussion and Q&A with audience members.
The goal of the presentation was to acquaint those new to game audio to achieve a common ground between everyone attending to prepare for the following panel discussion.
The presentation included a list of Who's Who in game audio in general. Mike then outlined the stages of the production cycle. He noted some points of what's different about game audio; those being Real-time Audio Streaming dealing with Time Ranges as opposed to Time Codes, and Seamless Loops. Another is combating listener fatigue by developing ideas and themes, and applying automation to modulate audio parameters.
One theme coming up frequently in the evening was open communication and sharing within the Game Audio community: "Game development is only successful when a number of specialized skills are coordinated and make the healthy compromises that they need to make, in order to finish the project."
He played a short demonstration video showing how real time convolution reverb has to respond to often quick and unpredictable changes.
He discussed the Game Audio Pipeline which included audio content production, audio implementation, audio programming and quality assurance.
He listed learning resources noting that game audio is not yet a formalized process and closed noting some of the community networks and associations in the industry.
After the break, executive committee member Earl McCluskie introduced the second half of the evening. He provided a background about the AES for new guests and encouraged membership. He then handed things back to Mike who introduced and moderated the panel discussion.
The panelists included: George Spanos, Eduardo Vaisman, Jen Costa, Richie Nieto, and Jake Butineau.
Some brief highlights of the discussion: the services of external production houses in general are used in creation of audio; passion, adaptability, willingness to learn matter more than background, while, of course being a gaming fan; the game audio community is very open and sharing of knowledge and definitely not as guarded as old school audio and film/video counterparts.
During the final audience Q&A, some points brought out were: "don't be a jerk. It's s close knit community and you'll will be found out"; really good audio programmers are hard to find.
At the close Alan thanked everyone for participating. Mike and all the panelists were given a Toronto AES Certificate of Appreciation, mug, and notebooks.
This presentation was streamed and recorded.
Written By: Karl Machat