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Egedai 11th April 2018 09:25 PM

If you were aiming to work in the game audio business
 
What would you start doing today?

I’ve been hearing a lot about Wwise and Unity for audio implementation so I guess I’ll start going into them; but every gaming company also asks you to be able to code and I don’t know anything about it really... and most of them want C++ which as far as I’ve heard is one of the hardest languages to learn.

It seems big gaming companies such as Blizzard, Bethesda, Ubisoft etc... all ask of you to have years of experience in the field and at least two AAA titles behind you in order to just consider you. Where should one start this journey? I’m a long time audio guy; but I’m too far behind on coding etc. What would you guys recommend someone to do step by step over the years of learning.

deftmovement 24th August 2018 05:16 AM

I second this message!

Donedeal0 24th August 2018 08:47 AM

I don't think Jesper Kyd knew how to code when he did Hitman' soundtracks. These companies program their games in C++ so it makes sense to know the rough basics (go on codecademy and follow a tutorial on openclassroom for that. In two weeks, you will still be sh*t but at least, you will understand what your colleagues are talking about). Read a things or two about Unity and Maya as well. Showing you understand the working environment will reassure your employer.

Regarding the AAA references, it's almost impossible to achieve the regular way if you havn't already work for an A-List company. (This is an age-old paradox. People want experience, but no one will offer you the chance to get this experience. It's a vicious circle).

So - in my opinion - there are three other paths to consider:
1- Place a song in an A-list movie or video game through classic publishing. It can be considered as a relevant experience.
2- Work for a small company that creates quality games. You won't have a huge reference, but you will have experience.
3- Network with the right people, be their pal and pull strings.

bschmidt 3rd September 2018 01:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Egedai (Post 13252586)
What would you start doing today?

I’ve been hearing a lot about Wwise and Unity for audio implementation so I guess I’ll start going into them; but every gaming company also asks you to be able to code and I don’t know anything about it really... and most of them want C++ which as far as I’ve heard is one of the hardest languages to learn.

It seems big gaming companies such as Blizzard, Bethesda, Ubisoft etc... all ask of you to have years of experience in the field and at least two AAA titles behind you in order to just consider you. Where should one start this journey? I’m a long time audio guy; but I’m too far behind on coding etc. What would you guys recommend someone to do step by step over the years of learning.

This can depend a lot on what it is that you do; there can be very different paths for composers vs sound designers.

For composers, Donedeal had a great answer. To his list of 3, I'd add "start attending game conferences, and try to meet some up and coming game developers. Conferences like GDC (Game Developers Conference, which is HUGE) is good as are smaller ones like indiecade or casual connect.
You can also make some very good game audio connections with composers and sound designers who work in games at GameSoundCon (Conference on Composing Video Game Music and Sound Design) [disclaimer: I run GameSoundCon, and GearSlutz is currently giving away a ticket to it on this thread that I'm doing an AMA on right now]:

Game Audio Guru Brian Schmidt Mini Q+A 2018

I'm going to duplicate this answer in that thread.

Regarding coding...

If you are a sound designer, there's good news and 'bad' news. The good news is that in the past 6-9 months, I've seen a good number of salaried game sound designer jobs at companies large and small. These are mostly not freelance gigs, but are full on, "Salary, benefits, 401(k), etc" jobs. The more good news is that not all of these jobs say "Must have shipped 2 AAA titles"..

The 'bad' news is that increasingly, they are listing "coding" in their list of either REQUIRED or PREFERRED skills on the job listings. However, for the most part, the coding they're looking for isn't usually C++ (which is a pretty hardcore programming language), but usually an easier to learn cousin called C# (C-Sharp).


I know personally of a sound designer, who was hired right out of school (DigiPen's Bachelor of Arts in game Music and Sound Design) [Disclosure: I teach part time at DigiPen]. The hiring manager for that job is a good friend of mine, and he said that one of the reasons this person got the gig was because he had taken some additional programming classes, on top of what was required for his degree (DigiPen requires 2 semesters of programming for their Music & Sound degree). In his mind, that not only showed skills, but also interest and a passionate curiosity in the topic.

The candidates who are competitive for these jobs can do cool sound design, know recording, etc. But they then can also put those sounds into a tool like Wwise (a game-specific audio tool). And the really good ones can go further and build a simple Unity 'demo' using C# from scratch to show of their sound design skills. Such a sound designer can tell a prospective employer "yes, I did all the interactive sound design in this app, which you can download from Google Play or the App Store. Oh, and I also wrote all the Unity code that drives the demo app."


For the jobs that are specifically requiring C++, those are pretty hard-core programming jobs, not sound design jobs. I.e. to get yourself to the level of coding to take one of those jobs will require more than just taking a couple classes.

If you are a composer, then the odds that you will get asked to code anything is probably fairly small. However, it is still a great skill to have, even if it is just a passing familiarity with it. Code is the DNA of a video game, and having an understanding of it can only make you more valuable to a potential client.
At an early GameSoundCon, Marty O'Donnell (Composer for the HALO series and Destiny) told the crowd "Oh, and everyone should take a programming class." His point wasn't that all game composers need to be programmers, but that taking a class will help you much better understand what it takes to put sound/music into the game.


Now I will put a disclaimer into all this. At the highest levels of game development, more specialization occurs. That's why, as Donedeal points out, Jesper Kyd didn't need to worry about coding when he wrote the Hitman score. At that level, for music, they very often use 2 people--a composer and a 'technical sound designer' whose job is to deal with the techie stuff. At that point, the composer really just composes.