7.2) Mixing Desks
The Mixing Desk is a flexible and powerful Mixing Console that groups a variety of Properties into one View, allowing you to fine-tune the audio mix of your game. You can populate the Mixing Desk with the specific Objects you want to work with and then define Object Routing, apply Effects and Attenuation Curves, edit State Properties and modify the Properties of individual Objects and Busses. To get acquainted, you first have to create a custom Mixing Desk.
The Mixing Desk View can be opened as a View, like most other windows in Wwise; however, it really comes to life when it works in conjunction with a Soundcaster Session, like the one you created in the last exercise. For this reason, a default Layout called Mixer can quickly be recalled, which provides a Soundcaster and Mixing Desk View as well as a Project Explorer and Event Viewer.
In the Main Menu choose Layouts > Mixer or click F8.
The Mixer Layout opens. You see the Soundcaster View you configured in the last chapter, with an empty Mixing Desk View just above. Just as with Soundcaster, you can create Mixing Sessions that act much like presets for Objects you want to have mixing channels for. You are going to create a session that will complement the Soundcaster Session.
Click the Selector in the upper left corner and choose New. (Pic01 Create a Mixing Desk)
The New Mixing Session dialog box opens. Mixing Desks are stored in Work Units found in the Mixing Sessions folder. You can view the Mixing Sessions folder in the Sessions Tab.
Select the Default Work Unit, type Level1 in the name field and click OK. (Pic02 New Mixing Session)
A new Mixing Desk appears that currently only displays a list of available Properties that will be displayed for any Objects you add into the Mixing Desk. This is a big advantage over the limited number of Properties in the Soundcaster’s modules.
Now let’s add some Objects to the Mixing Desk. (Pic03 Add Objects to Mixing Desk)
Objects are added to the Mixing Desk in the same way they are added to the Soundcaster, by dragging them in from the Project Explorer. Because the Mixing Desk only displays Properties from Objects that directly affect how a sound is played, it is not possible to add Event Objects. The Objects are added to the Mixing Desk and are represented by vertical mixer strips, similar to channel strips found on a conventional mixing console.
Scroll down to see all of the available Properties.
You can customize which Parameters you want to view by using the View Settings button in the upper right corner of the window. You can add Audio Bus Objects to the Mixing Desk allowing you to control all aspects of the signal flow.
In the Project Explorer’s Master-Mixer Hierarchy, choose the five main Audio Busses (Master, Cinematic, Music, Sfx, Voice) and drag them into the Mixing Desk.
Typically the final output of a mixing console appears at the far right of a mixing console. The order of the mixer strips can easily be rearranged to achieve this.
Drag the Master Audio Bus header to the right of the other Busses. (Pic04 Add Busses to Mixing Desk)
Play an Object in the Soundcaster and see how the Meter on the Master Audio Bus responds.
If you start a Capture Session, you have a better visual feedback including indicators to show which Objects are currently active, or which Busses are being ducked.
Click Start Capture.
In the Soundcaster window, play the Object one more time. (Pic05 Mixer Activity)
You can see the Activity icon (headphones) turn blue when the Object is being utilized. This can be extremely useful when trying to troubleshoot why a sound is not playing, as you can quickly see what Objects are controlling the sound in its path to the Master Audio Bus.
Take a moment to experiment with manipulating various Properties displayed in the Mixing Desk.
When multiple Objects are selected, modifying a Property (slider or fader) affects the whole selection and sets the Object's value to all other Objects in the selection. However, when holding the Alt key and dragging a slider or fader, the selected Objects’ values are offsets and not absolute values.
A very useful feature of the Mixing Desk is that it can quickly allow you to create different mixes based on the status of Game States. You’ll now see how a State can be used to modify an Audio Bus Object and how the process of configuring and testing the State can be done entirely from the Mixing Desk View. The goal is to further mix together all the elements of the game in a dense, exciting way to further the intensify the gameplay.
Before you start, take note that there is an Editing States area at the top of the mixer and there are all State Groups you created earlier contained within the corresponding box. The reason for this is because some of the Objects in the Mixer currently already have dependencies to Objects controlled by a State change. (Pic06 Editing States)
Double-click the Atmo Actor-Mixer’s strip header. A floating Actor-Mixer Property Editor opens. (Pic07 Strip Head)
You can see that there are already all three State Groups added to this Object. With any Object in the Mixing Desk, you can add further State Groups anytime, giving you ultimate control over the Properties of this Object depending on the Game States. (Pic08 Property Editor)
Close the Property Editor window.
Now, change the Music State to Middle and then scroll down to see the Atmo Actor-Mixer’s Properties for the Music State Group. Let’s say you want to turn down the volume of the environmental sounds as soon as the Player Character has passed the half-way mark and the Music State Middle is being called. (Pic09 State dependent Mixing)
You just changed the Properties of the Atmo Actor-Mixer for the State Middle. If you pick another State of the Music State Group, let’s say the State Start, you see that the Parameter’s value goes back to the designated value of its State.
Now, what does this mean, or why is this so useful? Imagine using State Groups throughout the game with dependencies on your most important Wwise Objects, like Busses and/or other Actor-Mixers. You can mix your whole Soundscape depending on these Game States. Every value you change is only being changed for a particular State. Even more so, image doing this at runtime as another member of your development team is actively playing the game, while you can quickly adjust sound Properties during runtime.
Now have a look at the Follow States and Push States Buttons, right next to the Editing States box.
The Follow States button can be used when you connect to the game and start a Capture Session to automatically switch the States according to the current State value of the game while it’s played. The Push States button can be activated to allow Wwise to tell the game what State to enter, for example to force the game to behave as if the Player Character has already passed the finish line. This can be useful when testing mixes without having to go through the gameplay necessary to achieve a particular State within the game.