Game Audio: Video Game Sound Design

No matter the type of production, audio is always one of the more important components of the finished product. Within video games, game audio serves to immerse the player in the game through dialogue, thematic music, and, of course, sound effects. Game audio sound design needs to make an impact and draw in the player; and it may also need to be realistic if the game calls for it. Even something slightly off as an odd-sounding gunshot won’t go unnoticed by the player.

With this, designing sound for video games can be a real challenge. To truly grab the player and keep them immersed within the game, the game audio must sound great on its own but it must also fit into the overall creative scope of the game developer. Take a moment to learn just how this is achieved with specific components of sound design, as well as its role in the production. First, let’s take a closer look at just what game audio sound design involves.

What is Video Game Sound Design?

Video game sound design involves creating and manipulating audio elements to make the game experience entertaining and interactive. As mentioned above, these elements can be dialogue, sound effects (both within the game and from the player), music, and ambiences/atmospheres—and most every game includes all of these elements.

Furthermore, video game sound design must accomplish a few goals, as alluded to above. Each element works together to ultimately accomplish the following:

In this regard, game audio clearly serves numerous purposes. Sounds may indicate to the player the setting and circumstances of a specific level, the overall feeling or mood of a game, and even how each of their actions affect gameplay.

Importance of Game Audio

To express how important game audio truly is, think back to the earliest video games like Pong or something a bit more recent, such as Tetris. Though these games don’t have storylines, characters, or anything of the sort, they still incorporate distinctive sound effects or music that have become synonymous with the game title.

In short, creating game audio and sound design comes down to the player’s experience. From matching the sounds of a character’s footsteps to emulating (or exaggerating) real life sounds, every move and action within a game requires an accompanying sound, and quality sound for that matter.

Creating and Developing Game Audio: Key Roles and Components

In creating game audio, numerous roles are involved who must work together to achieve the common goal: immersing the player within the game. The sound designer works closely with the animation team to ensure the audio matches the experience, and within, the designer must develop multiple layers of audio, as different actions require different sounds. Additionally, the sound designers needs to also work with the music composer to keep the game’s music on par with the look of the game and feel of the audio. As far as the components of game audio go, key elements are those mentioned previously, though we’ve provided them in the list below:

  • Dialogue

  • Sound effects (both within the game and from the player)

  • Music

  • Ambiences/Atmospheres

Achieving Optimal Game Audio

Clearly, game audio requires in-depth developing to achieve optimal sound that both immerses players and provides an interactive experience. From its earliest stages to the final product, a video game’s sound design is one of the most important factors, alongside the actual visuals and gameplay.

If you’re working on a video game, or any project requiring sound design, Creative Media Design can help. If you’re interested in working with us, you can contact us here or give us a call at 212-213-9420. For more information, you can also view our services page.