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Sound Design in Games

The deck of cards (since version v1.0)

An approach based on Design Patterns and assisted by a Deck of Cards

An approach to Sound Design in Games based on Design Patterns and assisted by a Deck of Cards, strongly influenced by Acoustic Ecology and subject to the principle that Sound Design in Games benefits from being embedded in the overall Game Design.

Version 2.0 of the deck consists of 77 cards, each representing an homonymous design pattern from the collection:

Achievement , Acoustic Ecology , Address Others , Aesthetics , Affected Hearing , Ambiance , Anticipation , Awareness , Beacon Locator , Breath , Character Soundprint , Chitchat , Consequent Sound , Contextual Music , Cutscenes , Death , Decay , Dialogue , Diegetic Music , Directionality , Dubbing , Eavesdropping , Echolocation , Emotional Script , Engagement , Entrainment , Failure , Foley , Foley Music , Footsteps , Grunts , Heartbeat , Helper Voice , Hurry Up! , Identification , Imminent Death , In-game Feedback , Levelled Performance , Make Sound not War , Menus , Music , Musical Outcome , Narrative , Narrator , No Can Do , Noise , Ouch! , Pitch Gameplay , R-A-E-D Iterations , Radio , Recordings , Relaxation , Revelation , Rhythm Gameplay , Say that Again , Seeking for PC , Shout and Yell , Signature , Silence , Sing to Act , Sonic Weapon , Sound Decoys , Sound Design in Games , Sound Effects , Sound Input , Sound Suppressing , Sound Visualization , Stealth , Subtitles and Captions , Suspicious NPC , Thoughts , Time Twist , Title Screens , Trance , Unaware NPC , Variety , Voice Acting , Window of Opportunity .

Thumbnails [hide]

Achievement-front-v20.png AcousticEcology-front-v20.png AddressOthers-front-v20.png Aesthetics-front-v20.png AffectedHearing-front-v20.png Ambiance-front-v20.png Anticipation-front-v20.png Awareness-front-v20.png BeaconLocator-front-v20.png Breath-front-v20.png CharacterSoundprint-front-v20.png Chitchat-front-v20.png ConsequentSound-front-v20.png ContextualMusic-front-v20.png Cutscenes-front-v20.png Death-front-v20.png Decay-front-v20.png Dialogue-front-v20.png DiegeticMusic-front-v20.png Directionality-front-v20.png Dubbing-front-v20.png Eavesdropping-front-v20.png Echolocation-front-v20.png EmotionalScript-front-v20.png Engagement-front-v20.png Entrainment-front-v20.png Failure-front-v20.png Foley-front-v20.png FoleyMusic-front-v20.png Footsteps-front-v20.png Grunts-front-v20.png Heartbeat-front-v20.png HelperVoice-front-v20.png HurryUp-front-v20.png Identification-front-v20.png ImminentDeath-front-v20.png In-gameFeedback-front-v20.png LevelledPerformance-front-v20.png MakeSoundNotWar-front-v20.png Menus-front-v20.png Music-front-v20.png MusicalOutcome-front-v20.png Narrative-front-v20.png Narrator-front-v20.png NoCanDo-front-v20.png Noise-front-v20.png Ouch-front-v20.png PitchGameplay-front-v20.png Radio-front-v20.png R-A-E-DIterations-front-v20.png Recordings-front-v20.png Relaxation-front-v20.png Revelation-front-v20.png RhythmGameplay-front-v20.png SayThatAgain-front-v20.png SeekingForPC-front-v20.png ShoutAndYell-front-v20.png Signature-front-v20.png Silence-front-v20.png SingToAct-front-v20.png SonicWeapon-front-v20.png SoundDecoys-front-v20.png SoundDesignInGames-front-v20.png SoundEffects-front-v20.png SoundInput-front-v20.png SoundSuppressing-front-v20.png SoundVisualization-front-v20.png Stealth-front-v20.png SubtitlesAndCaptions-front-v20.png SuspiciousNPC-front-v20.png Thoughts-front-v20.png TimeTwist-front-v20.png TitleScreens-front-v20.png Trance-front-v20.png UnawareNPC-front-v20.png Variety-front-v20.png VoiceActing-front-v20.png WindowOfOpportunity-front-v20.png

Empowering small game developers to perform sound design

Expertise in sound design for games is mainly a privilege of senior designers. The broad community of independent game developers remains mostly challenged by small budgets and scarce know how, while trying to integrate sound in their games. The empowerment of a broader community of developers could unleash a massive creative potential, with results in the form of innovative sound design ideas and further development of the body of knowledge.

A pattern language has the potential to contribute to such an emancipatory movement as it has proven to be a format addressable by experts and non-experts alike. Patterns are collectively authored through the inventory, translation and re-synthesis of current practice and know-how. This methodology has been successfully adopted in other domains where similar concerns were observed, including in game design and auditory displays.

Patterns and Cards

We are proposing a debuting collection of patterns for sound design in games. The patterns were harvested and synthesized under the influence of a set of guidelines, which in turn build upon an interdisciplinary interpretation for sound design. This is also in harmony with an holistic perspective on game design which implies, for instance, that sound design in games is in fact integral to game design. Game design sensitive to sound design opportunities has several benefits: the space of possibilities is enlarged, sound becomes fitted rather then superimposed, and the game product may provide a richer experience with this integration.

While refining and growing the pattern collection, we found the interest in conceiving instruments that could be effective in expediting and sustaining the interfacing between the practitioners and the pattern language, beyond the customary referential support in text forms. This deck of physical cards aims at such purposes. Practitioners may appreciate a presentation of potential sound explorations in a format that is literally handy, with no need to be familiar with the formalism of design patterns.