5.1 Dynamic Audio

 

5.1) Dynamic Audio

 
 

 

Dynamic Audio is the way to go for Game Audio in this modern day. A simple playback of sounds is not sufficient and immersive any more, at least for most game genres and players’ expectations. It also dependents on game design and a tight integration via programming, to allow such dynamic behavior to happen and to shine.

As you’ve learned in the previous lessons, Game Calls are the messages between the game engine and the Wwise Audio Engine. So far, you’ve worked with simple Event Game Calls that signify when something like the Player Character jumping on an exploding car has occurred, however sometimes it’s necessary to communicate more details about particular conditions of the game. For example, what type of surface is the Player Character walking on, in what area of the level is he currently in, how much health does he have left and so on? All of these conditions can have an impact on the sounds you want players to hear. In the same way that Wwise uses Event Objects to receive Event-type Game Calls, you’ll need to create specialized Objects to receive messages that update Wwise about various conditions of the game. In Wwise the process of defining these conditions is accomplished via various types of Objects that fall within a category referred to as Game Syncs. These Game Sync Objects are the receptors for specialized Game Calls integrated typically by the Audio Programmer. There are four different types of Game Sync Objects, each with their own set of features for specific applications: States, Switches, Game Parameters (RTPCs) and Trigger. You’ll explore three of these in the chapters below. But first, lets look at some examples of great dynamic audio, some more subtle than others.

Example01 Uncharted4, Naughty Dog 2016

In this example, the foley sounds for the Player Character are dynamically implemented with thousands of variations to make the sounds behave as realistic as possible for various conditions. Footsteps change depending on the surface types and they are affected by the speed and kinetic energy of the Player Character. This can easily be spotted for every drop- or landing sound after a jump, and as the Player Character is handling and swinging the rope.

Example02 Nier Automata, Platinum Games 2017

The next example shows a creative way of changing the music dynamically, with the main theme continuing to play effortlessly, but in a different instrumental arrangement. Listen to the transition at 2:02. The Music Composer made two versions of the track with different instrumentation. At the start of the fight sequence both tracks start simultaneously, but only one can be heard. This allows a transition to the other track anytime, through a simple Volume change.

Example03 Destiny, Bungie 2014

Aside from different weapon mechanics having dynamic sounds, there is often a change in the overall mix as the player is in ironsight and looking through the scope. This should help the player to better focus on aiming, through blending out different aspects of the soundscape. In this example, there is not only that, but also a change in the overall mix as the player is low in health. Suddenly, different effects come into play like Low-pass Filters and reverberation.

Example04 From Software, Sekiro 2019

Dynamic Audio helps to make boss fights feel even more exciting. The detail is in the sword clashing. Sounds change depending on whether the player made a parry or was a bit off with timing, depending on the amount of successful consecutive parries and posture (stamina) of the Player Character or enemy. There is a rather drastic change in signal processing, as the sounds become more dynamically compressed when the posture is about to break.