Mobile Audio Blues

November 23rd, 2008 by Arjan Olsder Posted in Analysis & Editorial | No Comments »

Noise-buffetI am noticing a trend among mobile game
developers today. Many of the commercial games out there offer
screenshots as well as a sample video of the gameplay. The problem
is that these videos usually have the sound completely removed!
Sometimes there will be higher resolution music placed in the demo to
promote the game, but it usually is thrown in at the last minute and
has no relevance to the movement on the screen.

The best way to
avoid this is by planning for audio very early in development,
instead of the last minute. This gives your audio guy more time to
be creative and refine the audio assets. It can also actually
inspire the rest of the team!

How can great audio be attained? ?? By
planning out your audio very early in the development stage.
Communicate every tiny detail about file type and size limitations as
well as constant feeback on the sound. Do your best to get the audio
contracter their own dev version of the game to audition their own
sounds. This alone will ensure that they become more creatively
involved. Creating mobile audio is a monumental task that involves
extra QA/Testing well before the files ever get delivered. There are
some great new innovations involving mobile audio engines, but they
are far from being standardized.

As a composer and musician, I work on
everything from giant arcade games with surround speaker systems to
mobile games with tiny speakers. Bigger isn’t always better and
these extreme limitations can bring out some great music. I
challenge developers to put a bit more attention and planning into
the audio. Mobile games need great audio if this industry intends to
receive proper respect. If you must mute the in-game audio, then at
least spend some time and get your demo video properly scored.
People are watching and listening!

This editorial was sent in by Ben Long, a composer of in-game music for both consoles and mobile.

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    Arjan Olsder is the Vice President of Pixalon Studios. Opinions expressed on this publication do not have to represent those of Pixalon Studios.


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