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Best Practices: How To Work With an External Audio Team

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All video game developers are familiar with the following challenges in producing high quality audio for games… Whether you're working with in-house or external sound designers, audio production tends to come late in the development cycle, often leaving little time to make sure that the video <a href=">game sound effects</a> are perfect. The sound designers will often need to work with finished animations so that they can get the sync right, and understand the full scope of the sound design needs. It's not always completely clear what all of the audio needs will be until the game is playable and decisions can be made about how often certain sounds will be heard, and at what level of intensity they should be mixed. Because of this, some audio design elements will inherently need to be moved later in the game development cycle.


Now with that being said, there are certainly ways to get your external <a href=">video game audio</a> designers moving in parallel with the rest of the development team early on. For the video game composers, conversations about music direction can start as soon as the game gets into production and some concept art is ready. If you have ideas for how you want the music to sound, no matter how vague, that's a good time to start telling the audio lead. The audio lead can then provide you with sample ideas for music direction, and work with you to focus in on the right music style and get that started. Sound design can start as soon as some animations or GUI elements are functional. You don't necessarily have to wait until it's all implemented, the sound design can start as soon as you can send .swf files or video of individual events. Getting the audio team involved early also gives them time to anticipate implementation needs. From our own experience, we've been brought in on a few games after the code was locked, and were not able to suggest simple changes that could make the experience better, such as ducking or fading music out for stings and bonus reward sounds to play. Getting your external audio team involved as early as possible will alleviate these concerns and will allow for as much time as possible to focus on the creation of a brilliant, immersive soundtrack.


While working with any external creative team has it's unique benefits and challenges to consider, getting the results that you want when outsourcing audio doesn't have to be any more difficult than working with in-house sound designers and composers. Getting the audio lead involved with the development team early on in the process, and maintaining good communication throughout, will go a long way towards having your finished product sounding great.

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