Video Game Sound Design: What it Entails

You can’t deny the importance of quality sound design within any media production and, in video games, this is all the more true. Though it’s in many ways similar to that of TV and film, video game design possesses a few key differences. Recently, we discussed sound design in general: what it is, what’s good sound, and its importance. This week, let’s take a more behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to achieve the perfect sound in video games—there’s much more to consider than you might think.

Key Differences of Video Game Sound Design

Sound design, in general, requires skill, diligence, and creativity—there’s no doubt about it. But when it comes to video game sound design, as mentioned, additional factors need to be considered. Video games are an interactive medium. Those playing them become part of what they are seeing, and sound designers need to take this into account in the studio.

For instance, video games often require vast libraries of custom sound effects as a means to create a sense of reality within the game. You may think the same sound of a gun firing could be used across the board, but to get that sense of reality, the sounds need to vary. Think about it this way: in any game, the player will repeat certain actions throughout play, and if those sounds don’t vary, that repetition won’t seem real.

An In-Depth Look

Of course, creating different versions of every sound in a game would require far too much work and time. With this, video game sound design calls for a few tricks. Sound designers often use the same components and create different combinations to attain varying sounds. To get an idea of what else goes into video game sound design, take a look at the list of common practices below:

  • Sound designers will work with the animation team early on in production to better collaborate and bounce ideas and inspiration off each other.

  • While sound libraries provide a plethora of effects, unique sounds require creating and recording them on their own.

  • Sound designers must create multiple layers of sound to sync with the player’s game choices and movement. A few steps to the right in a game needs to sound different than walking another direction.

  • Video game sound design even needs to work in unison with background music, ensuring it fits within the game.

Video Game Sound Design: Reaching for Reality

In short, video game sound design is often aimed toward creating a sense of reality for the players. Sounds need to vary, sync with game movements, and provide a realistic feel. Next time you sit down to play your favorite game, take note of the various sounds and changes in such throughout game play.

To learn more about sound design, and even find sound design for your own production, check out Creative Media Design! We offer a variety of audio post production services for a range of disciplines. If you’d like to reach out to us, you can contact us here.

CMD