This week I decided to investigate a sound designer and gain some insight as to how they ended up where they are and hopefully pick up on any skills that will be needed for the future.
After reading an article about Ben Minto a renowned sound designer it all seemed straight forward until getting to the part where he talks about all the different aspects that fall under the umbrella term "sound designer." With many AAA titles under Minto's belt he breaks down all the positions needed on big releases such as “ sound recording, Foley recording, sound editing, sound design, implementation, linear track laying for cinematics, mixing, VO (voiceover) recording, dialogue editing, music editing, mastering, debugging, and so on. We can also step outside of the purely audio role and get involved with design and implementation of animation or particle effects, or even camera shake and pad vibration, for example, thereby delivering a tighter synergy between the audio and visual components.” (Minto, 2011)
Minto goes on to talk about one example of implementation named MaxMSP. I didn’t think I needed to understand this term until reading the pre-requisites for an audio position at Electronic Arts.
So what is MaxMSP? Max refers to patching with streams of numbers like MIDI to create events and user interfaces. MSP refers to Max Signal Processing which is creating patches with audio signals. In a more descriptive term MaxMSP is “a visual programming language that helps you build complex, interactive programs without any prior experience writing code. MaxMSP is especially useful for building audio, MIDI, video and graphics applications where user interaction is needed.” (Amandaghassaei. n.d.)
What does this mean for me? Well I believe in having knowledge and skills about lots of different aspects in order to communicate effectively with other creators and making the best product you can. There’s no point creating a sound if it can’t be implemented into the games engine or creating a sound they doesn’t gel with the other audio components. Without the basic understanding of various programs and methods used in the game industry the chances of getting a career in sound design will be limited.
I have already started using programs like FMOD studio and the Unreal engine but sound implementation is an area I am not too familiar with. After reading Minto’s article it has inspired me to broaden my horizons and start learning MaxMSP.
Within 20 minutes of following the beginner lessons for Max I had successfully completed 3 tutorials one of which was constructing an audio clip to trigger a MIDI module via amplitude and timbre. This MIDI module then sends a randomised sequence of numbers to a video module where the choice of 10 shapes are constantly being changed respective to the MIDI data. What your left with is a video that reacts to the amplitude and timbre of an audio clip.
Here is the Max workspace and tutorial finished.
Amandaghassaei. (n.d.) Intro to MaxMSP Retrieved from http://www.instructables.com/id/Intro-to-MaxMSP/
Minto, Ben. (2011, March 11). Ben Minto On Game Sound Design. Retrieved from