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There have been many research studies that link listening to music to feeling emotional responses. This music can also build a stronger emotional connection between sound and a video game player.
This creates a more effective use of sounds in video games. The immersive sound design of a video game relies on a variety of elements. From audio branding to adaptive localization, each of these can help immerse gamers, drawing them further and further into your virtual world.
Keep reading to learn how to create the best video game sound design.
🎮 What Is Video Game Sound Design?
Creating and shaping sounds into an effect or song for a certain purpose is sound design. Sound designers design all kinds of sounds for modern media, from YouTube videos, marketing ads, movies and TV shows, and even video games.
Sound design helps to add an immersive effect, whether it's a soundtrack or an explosion. It's also important for making modern music. They also play a crucial role in video games.
The sound is what makes these video games immersive and brings the player into the world. These sound designers are responsible for every aspect, whether it's footsteps or a song.
Sound designers can typically do a little bit of everything, but this also brings on its own challenges. Designing sounds for video games can be extremely challenging.
Designing video game sounds is hard because it's unlike a traditional form of media. How the user interacts with the game will affect the audio as well. The sound effects also help to guide the player along the journey and control the interactive experience.
These challenges prevent problems from designers, but with a few key tricks, you can easily overcome this and have success with creating video game sounds.
💁♂️ Create from the Player's Perspective
Since video game music and sound effects are meant to draw the player in, you have to design the sounds from the player's perspective.
It can help to understand what's going on with the video game, along with the main storyline. Put yourself in the shoes of the player and start there. This will help guide you along the sound design process.
🧩 Understand What the Game Needs
In addition to understanding the game from the player's perspective, you also have to understand what the game itself calls for. For example, if the game takes place in a Medieval city, the sounds will be very different than they would be for a modern game.
You will also need to learn about the characters and any animals or creatures the player will encounter. Also, figure out what kind of emotions the player is supposed to feel while playing the game.
If you can construct a narrative around the game, you can help the music fit into telling that story.
For example, if you're making sound design for a detective game, then you may want to have some mysterious sounds and music. However, if you're going to be creating sound design for a horror game, you'll want to add in more eerie music and sound effects.
👾 Make It Immersive
You want the player to be fully drawn into the world that the video game is presenting, and the music and sound effects can actually help do it. It's one of the final touches that will really bring the universe to life.
The sound will make the game come alive, especially when you're incorporating off-screen sounds. These are sounds related to something that happens off the screen, which the player won't be able to see. For example, you could have a wolf howling in the background.
The soundscapes are also important in making the landscape come to life. For example, if your character is in a bamboo forest, you can add some sounds of creaking bamboo to make the player feel as if they're really there.
The video game music will also play a key role. The music of the video game will help guide the player along the journey and give them insights into what they need to do. It can also help guide their emotions during the game. For example, using eerie music in a horror game right before something scary happens can heighten the fear.
Lastly, reverberation is also an important aspect of the sound effects. It'll give an acoustic imprint, and it can be triggered depending on what the player's doing in the game.
🧬 Create Realism
If you want the player to be fully immersed in the video game, they need to believe that it's real. The sound helps create that realism, so you need to focus on what sounds you can incorporate that will make it seem real.
It needs to sound lifelike and have a lot of detail in it. It also needs to help convince the player to take the appropriate action.
🔊 Add Texture to Sounds
You also need to take time to add texture to the sounds in the video game. The sounds in video games will be different from the sounds in real life, so you can add texture to them to make them sound as realistic as possible.
Add texture to the tail or head of your sound to give it a natural rise and fall. You can do this when you're recording your own sounds or using an already-recorded pack.
These sounds can have built-in lead-ins and tails, and it'll be a nice subtle detail that will really enhance the gameplay. In real life, sound doesn't abruptly start or stop. Instead, it has small echoes, and it's drawn out.
You can add these effects to your video game. If you're still not sure how to make it sound as realistic as possible, listen to these cues in real life and then draw inspiration from them. You may find that the sound of glass breaking could be the perfect sound effect you've been searching for to add to the sci-fi video game that you've been working on.
➰ Avoid Short Sound Loops
While making every sound in your video game hyperrealistic sounds appealing, it may not be feasible, depending on how long you have to work on the project.
However, you should still avoid using short sound looks in quick succession of each other. The player will be able to pick up on this repetitive pattern, and it can actually make them grow tired of the game. Instead, you want to use sounds that keep the player engaged and interested in what is going to come next.
For example, if you're creating sounds for footsteps, then you might want to use different loops of footsteps to add some variety. You could have different walking cycles or vary them, especially if the footsteps are going to be on different terrain.
if you're limited creatively and have to design the same sound over and over, then you can do things to compensate for the uniformity. Instead, you can soften the edges or heighten the pitch of some of the steps.
You'll also want to look out for creating sounds for other repetitive motions, like reload sequences, artillery bursts, or picking up objects. When you play with the levels, textures, and pitches of these sounds, you can mask some of the same sounds and make them sound just a little bit different.
🎚️ Balance the Audio Levels
Another tip for creating an immersive environment for your players is to balance out the audio levels throughout the video game. For example, if you have the audio level too low, even a player with headphones may not be able to hear important sounds.
When they can't hear important sounds, it could throw the entire gameplay off. You'll also want to take different players into account while doing this. Some players will be playing with speakers, surround sound, or headphones, and the sounds need to be balanced for all of those options.
You also want to ensure that all of the dialogue in the video game is clear and easy to hear, even if you have background noises or music. There are some instances where you should have a higher audio level, like in a horror game, when you want to heighten the suspense.
Or you may want to have higher levels during an intense battle scene or a fight. If you also want to bring in some emotions, you can slowly raise the audio levels as well. The key is knowing when to balance them and how.
🌍 Discover More
These are only a few key tips on how to create immersive video game sound design, but it wouldn't be possible without the right production.
We know that it can be hard to find the right guidance and help in the music industry, which is why we're here to help.
If you're still unsure about how to create these realistic video game sounds, contact us today and we can help coach or mentor you!