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Development Update - Breaking the sound barrier

The time has come to start adding sound effects. Initially I was excited by this prospect. Once you add sounds to a game it really comes to life. To start down this journey I purchased a couple of thousand dollars of sound effects libraries. These sound effects for the most part are fantastic. I do however find myself stuck for sounds very specific to the situation I'm applying effects to. Like needing the sound of a circular saw for instance. I'm sure there are libraries out there with these sounds in them but the practice of purchasing libraries gets expensive quickly.

I decided to do some research in to recording my own effects. The equipment I landed on was a Zoom H5 with shotgun mic module. Once the equipment arrived I was surprised at how easy this stuff is to use. So now I have everything I've been running around recording everything. Its become a little ridiculous. I never know what sounds I'm going to need so I'm recording everything I can. If my wife drags me to the local shopping center, there I am walking around with a mic recording the ambience.

Next comes sorting and editing. Adobe Audition CC is my weapon of choice here. Its farily easy to use and if I don't know how to do something, Google is my best friend. Once I have all my sounds sorted into specific files and folders, they sit there until I need them. If a sound is to be added to the game, it first needs to be edited to suit the timing and length of the sequence it's being used in. Once that's been done I import to the engine and test. Often I'm unhappy with the first sound I add so back and forth I go until I'm happy. It can take several hours to get a single effect the way I want it.

To think at the start, my timeline had "Add SFX" with only a 3 day allowance. You could do this with purchased sounds(maybe). But, if you're after anything specific, much more effort is required. Whilst I enjoy editing audio and the recording process, it does take time away from developing the actual game. At the end of the day my sound effects are now a combination of pro sound libraries and my own recordings. It's working well but it really takes time.

Would I do it any other way? Short of hiring an audio engineer. No, I wouldn't.

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