Conference Content

Technical programme of the AES 49th International Conference on Audio for Games


Robin Rimbaud aka Scanner is an artist, writer, plasticien sonore and composer working in London, whose works traverses the experimental terrain between sound, space, image and form, connecting a bewilderingly diverse array of genres – a partial list would include sound design, film scores, computer music, digital avant-garde, contemporary composition, large-scale multimedia performances, product design, architecture, fashion design, rock music and jazz.

Since 1991 he has been intensely active in sonic art, producing concerts, installations and recordings, the albums Mass Observation (1994), Delivery (1997), and The Garden is Full of Metal (1998) hailed by critics as innovative and inspirational works of contemporary electronic music. He scored the hit musical comedy Kirikou & Karaba (2007), wrote Europa 25 a new National Anthem for Europe in 2005, premiered his six-hour show Of Air and Ear (2008) at the Royal Opera House in London, designed the sound for the new Philips Wake-Up Light (2009), and national cinema campaign for Sprint USA (2012) Chanel’s Fall-Winter collection (2012) and music for the Olympic Ceremony in London in 2012.


Crossing the Streams
Scott Selfon, Sr. Development Lead, Microsoft
It’s often easy to lock into the mindset of churning out the hundreds (or thousands) of sound assets that a game needs. But what happens when we step beyond audio as a reactive force, and instead inject audio into the title’s game design? Scott will show and discuss specific examples from a number of shipped titles of situations where audio has moved beyond the “event to wave file” archetype to more uniquely interact with and drive gameplay, both technically and creatively.

Myths, Facts and Techniques behind HDR Audio
Xavier Buffoni, Software Engineer, Audiokinetic
Due to the non-linearity and unpredictability of game audio, much thought has been given to automatic and intelligent mixing tools in the last years. HDR (High Dynamic Range) audio has received a lot of attention after the huge success of a well known franchise used HDR to improve the quality of their in-game audio mix.

The lecture will explain in details what HDR audio consists of in theory and how game developers really use it in practice. Concrete examples will be presented for two different approaches. The first operates at the audio level using a combination of dynamic effects such as compression and limiting. The second operates at the logical level where all volume attenuations are computed before mixing.

Benefiting from real world audio examples, attendees will gain a better understanding of the concepts and mechanisms behind HDR audio and how to implement such a system in their own sound engines.

A (Fairly) Brief History of 3-D Audio in Games
Martin Walsh, R&D Director, DTS
3D audio has been a integral part of the gaming experience since the mid 1990′s. However, the use of 3D audio API’s has significantly decreased in the past decade or so. This tutorial presents a technical overview of how we hear and why we care about 3D audio in games. The history of the use of 3D audio in games is also discussed, from the early A3D / EAX wars to techniques used in today’s latest first person shooters. Once we are up to speed on the history of 3D audio in games we venture into the future with next generation technologies that could bring 3D audio once more to the forefront of the gamers minds.

How Sound Affects Realities: Enhancing Narrative with Audio
Stephan Schütze, Director, Sound Librarian
The world we perceive defines what is real for each of us. The ability to influence or change the way an audience perceives the world is a powerful storytelling tool.

Of all the perceptive senses, sound is one of the most effective tools with which you can influence the perceptions of others. Each person will interpret the same sound in a different way, and the context in which the sound is played can further alter the experience and interpretation.

This session will introduce a range of concepts that deal with how people think when they listen and how creative teams can utilise the emotional triggers and instinctual behaviour that sound exposes in a gaming audience.

Going Old School: Chiptunes and Trackers in Games
Leonard Paul, Interactive Audio Specialist, Lotus Audio Corp.
This presentation will detail in-depth how all of the sound design and music was created for the multi-award winning indie game Retro City Rampage. Trackers and chiptunes have been around since the golden age of video games and there’s a reason why they’re still a very effective method of creating high-quality audio content for downloadable, mobile and online games. All tools and code presented are open source, so audience members can easily apply the same techniques in their own games and projects.


Measuring Loudness in Interactive Entertainment
Garry Taylor, Audio Director, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Due to it’s non-linearity, measuring loudness in interactive entertainment is an inexact science. Recently, Sony’s Audio Standards Working Group (ASWG) released loudness recommendations for their first party titles. Garry Taylor, Audio Director at Sony Computer Entertainment looks at the work of the ASWG, the data they collected, and how that data influenced their recommendations. He looks at their first loudness paper and how their titles are measured and tested at Quality Assurance.

Theoretical, Technical & Practical Frameworks for Interactive Mixing: A Moderated Panel Discussion
John Broomhall, (BPL) AES 41 Keynote Speaker, Game Audio Creator/Producer, Music Writer & Commentator
Tom Colvin, Audio Lead, Ninja Theory
Garry Taylor, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Jon Olive, Assoc of Motion Picture Sound
Xavier Buffoni, Audiokinetic
Stephan Schütze, Sound Librarian
Mixing in video games is a huge area for potential discussion. It is also an increasingly important topic in the interactive audio landscape and is gaining much wider attention in the field. This panel has been assembled to take a step back and assess the field of game audio mixing in some new contexts, examining some of the many facets of the mix from style, philosophy, and approach, to technology, loudness, planning and implementation.

In this moderated panel discussion, several of the leading practitioners and technologists in the field of interactive mixing come together to discuss the emerging theoretical, artistic and technical frameworks for game mixing over the next few years.

New Standards for Web Audio
Olivier Thereaux, BBC and W3C Audio Chair
Jory Prum, and HTML5 Audio blog
This session will explore the capabilities of the modern web browser as the next exciting platform for gaming and audio. Olivier Thereaux from the BBC and chair of the Audio Working Group at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and Jory Prum from, publisher of the HTML5 Audio blog (, will give an interactive overview of the emerging standards for audio on the web: the Web Audio API for audio processing, event-driven playback, and synthesis within the browser, and the Web MIDI API, bridging the browser and the multitude of MIDI devices for music creation and device control. The session will include many demos hinting at the great potential of bringing audio to the web, and the web to audio, and will conclude with a questions and answers session exploring the opportunities and challenges of building games on the Open Web Platform.

Future of Game Audio – a retrospective
Adele Cutting, Director, Soundcuts
John Broomhall, Game Audio Specialist, Music, Writer & Journalist, BPL
Nicky Birch, Head of Products, Somethin’ Else
Ciaran Rooney, Technical Director and Co-Founder, Pitch and Yaw
Jason Page, Senior Manager, Audio Department R&D, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Revisiting the predictions of the ‘Future of Games Audio’ panel in 2009  – What came true and what is the focus of tomorrow?- a discussion on changes in creative and technical boundaries, developments in story-telling using audio plus interactive mixing, manipulation of user data, real-time synthesis, the importance of content and much more. Our previous thoughts were informed by AAA titles, but the UK games industry now has many smaller teams working on iOS, download and mobile platforms with lower budgets and shorter development cycles. What does this mean for game audio and what advancements are needed…?”

How Can a Background in Feature Film Help Design Audio for Games?
Vanesa Lorena Tate, Franchise Audio Director, Electronic Arts / Founder & Creative Director, Tate Post
Doug Cooper, Re-Recording Mixer, Electronic Arts
David Steptoe, Audio Lead Engineer, Electronic Arts

Planes, Trains & Automobiles: Creating & implementing vehicle sound systems for games
Mike Caviezel, Audio Director, Microsoft
This session will discuss some of the basic Vehicle Audio design concepts commonly found in games today. We’ll talk about system design, recording & sound design methodology, and various implementation techniques & tricks for making Vehicles sound great in games.

Global game audio production: Where are we going?
Francesco Zambon, Audio Technical Manager, Binari Sonori
Roberto Pomoni, Audio Project Lead, Binari Sonori
The constant demand for tighter loops in sound design, music composing, and multilanguage speech production is driving a change in the global game development models.  Such evolution is becoming possible thanks to the usage of more effective, standardized middleware audio engines, that nowadays are modifying traditional DAW-based production flows.  This speech draws a possible trajectory of the production methods from the point of view of global game audio creators.

Midi vs. the Real Thing: Does It Still Make $ense To Record an Orchestra?
Laura Karpman, Composer
Now that the sample libraries are getting very convincing, is there still a place for the orchestra in game music?

Composer Laura Karpman weighs in on the “big” question, when is recording real orchestra necessary? What alternative recording solutions are there to fit various budgets? Laura will take us through the scoring and recording processes. She will look at games she has scored with diverse instrumental ensembles, from large orchestra with chorus to solo instruments from around the world. Midi demos and their recorded orchestral counterparts will be contrasted, and she will look at scores where small sweetening sessions were enough. Laura will discuss the benefit of varied scoring approaches for specific games and for the field at large.

Behind the mix: An in-depth look at the audio engine in Hitman: Absolution
Mikkel Christiansen, Sound Designer, IO Interactive
Frans Galschiøt Quaade, Lead Soun
d Designer, IO Interactivee

By introducing the proprietary engine G2, IO Interactive allows the artist to freely work by using high-level graphical programming environment, known from programs like MAX/MSP and PD. Using this approach allows the artist to create interdisciplinary workflows and thereby secure consistency between all game elements such as gameplay, VFX, and sound design. G2 allows the sound designer to freely do adaptive and interactive mixing and sound setups, which is the foundation in our attempt to create the living, breathing world.

The main takeaway is the advantages for the game development at IO Interactive, given by the shift in paradigm, going from code depended setup to a design driven approach. Through in-game examples the talk will explain how the enhanced cross-disciplinary workflow is used to create the audio experience in Hitman: Absolution.

AES - Audio Engineering Society