Game Audio Jams [and FMOD Designer for Unity]

Posted February 26, 2012

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I suppose I really didn’t know what to post about before, but now I do! Today I’m writing about what NGAMA (NYU Game Audio and Music Association, updated website coming soon hopefully) did yesterday (that would be Saturday, February 25th 2012): a Game Audio Jam! Read on if you’re intrigued.

NGAMA started as a general “hey, if you’re a student and you like music and sound design and games and whatever come hang out and play Guitar Hero with us,” but recently has steered more toward focusing on people interested in music production, implementation, and audio programming for games. Last semester we tried out a “Game Audio Jam” concept. The idea is that people get together on a Saturday afternoon and make audio for games. The idea is that you can come, eat pizza, and make audio for games. Everyone could either bring a game you’re already working on, or there would be a bunch of games that are either open source or for which mechanisms exist for changing the audio assets it uses. For this first jam, I went and downloaded a bunch of open source PyGame games.

The reason we went with PyGame is because I had begun to teach the club members how to program with Python. Adding complex events to FMOD Designer can be fun, but it’s more fun if you can play a game and hear your audio inside of it, so this was an opportunity to do that. It was a lot of fun. Memorable moments include composer Michael Kropf turning these asteroid obstacles of one game into puppies, complete with whimpering sounds when you run into them as Superman.

Yesterday, we tried the same thing again. This time though, we put it in the context of Unity audio implementation. David Coss and Eric Bergen were working on their Game Development Studio projects, Seori Sachs was working through Unity and Blender tutorials. I was working on trying to update the SquareTangled FMOD for Unity plugin, and Kevin Salchert of 21 St Games came by and showed us Fabric, which is an awesome Unity plugin that effectively provides the FMOD Designer-like functionality, albeit just using Unity’s bundled version of FMOD.

For months, NGAMA members, Kevin, Stephen Harwood, and I have been trying to figure out a solution for being able to use something like FMOD in Unity. Yesterday I managed to get a sound event to play back inside of a Unity project. But it’s clear there’s a LONG way to go in making it a stable experience. After what Kevin showed us was possible with Fabric, I’m convinced that it’s the way to go for sophisticated audio solutions in Unity. I’ll be writing up a post later about some of the problems you get trying to mash another instance of FMOD inside Unity and how to work around them for the purposes of being able to prototype your FMOD projects in Unity.

Everyone had a great time. It’s kinda like a proper game jam where you are hanging out with people, working through challenges, and exchanging creative ideas. The only difference is it typically doesn’t last more than 6 or 7 hours, and it’s all about the audio.

So, local communities of people interested in game audio out there, I propose you try out a Game Audio Jam. You can make it as formal or informal as you want. Ours have been extremely informal and more about exploring the process, trying out fun nonsensical things, and learning/teaching the tech.

2 Responses to “Game Audio Jams [and FMOD Designer for Unity]”

  1. […] NYC Game Jam! […]

  2. Tyler:

    Thanks for posting about Fabric! I’ve enjoyed using that plugin over the last semester and I likely would not have found it were it not for this blog. The game audio jams sound like a lot of fun. Sadly game audio is a bit of a foreign concept in my university, although I’m working to fix that. If you have anytime to keep posting on this blog, then I’d enjoy hearing how your FMOD in Unity efforts are going (or how they went). I’m currently working on a separate battle of getting PureData to work in Unity.