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Audio for Games: FMOD and Unity

Game Audio is a broad subject area which covers a range of different aspects to audio, including music, sound effects and dialogue. Unlike film and TV, games require sound to adapt in real time depending on the scenario. The right audio, in the right places, with the right triggers can make or break a game and people with these skills are in high demand.

Delivered exclusively online, this course aims to develop students through practical examples, exercises and coursework and is designed for people with some basic DAW experience. If you can record, route and edit audio, you already have the necessary skills to get started.

Unlike many audio for games courses, our online course covers all the skills that you need to become highly proficient in computer games audio. You’ll not just learn how create interactive sounds, but you’ll actually be making your own games, and integrating your audio into them.

Equipped with a new portfolio of work to show the game industry what you’re now capable of doing, let our audio for games course start your journey into the world of audio for video games from the comfort of your own surroundings.

TOPICS:
  • Game engines and audio middleware
  • The design of interactive audio
  • Integration of interactive audio in a computer game
  • Dynamic interactive audio mixing techniques
  • The construction of a game level



Course Content
Although some aspects of actual game design are covered, the main focus in this brand new online course is upon creating interactive audio elements (music and sound design). After completing this module, you will be able to produce a portfolio of work that demonstrates your sound design and interactive audio skills.

This course not a computer coding course, but there is inevitably some coding involved in game audio.

A sound designer does not necessarily need to be able to write their own code – for this there are dedicated programmers who specialise. However, they should understand how sound interacts with the game engine, and a basic background in scripting will be invaluable.
All necessary code for your assignments is provided in the module resources (and you are welcome to use this in your own work), and we'll be examining how it can be used to create interactive audio.

Delivery will be through the online VLE.
Teaching and learning will occur through:
  • Delivery of theory through videos
  • Learning consolidation through practical exercises and VLE tests
  • Self-directed research and learning to advance knowledge and skills acquired
  • VLE discussion boards to exchange and compare work with other students
INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES (ILO)
Upon completion of the module, you should be able to:

ILO 1
Design and construct interactive audio artefacts
ILO 2
Integrate interactive audio elements within a game engine
ILO 3
Implement interactive music within a game
ILO 4
Implement audio elements that use randomisation to avoid repetition
ILO 5
Construct a simple 3D game environment

ILO 1
Design and construct interactive audio artefacts

METHODOLOGY
  • Discuss the need for interactive audio elements within Game Audio.
  • Discuss the need for efficiency in game sound design.
  • Use a series of examples and exercises using FMOD to introduce and demonstrate the software features to achieve the desired results, e.g.
  • 3D vs 2D sound
  • Sound that is controlled by game parameters (e.g. acceleration of a car, distance from a game object)
  • Dynamic sound mixing (e.g. reverb) within a game
ASSESSMENT METHODS

Design
  • You are given hypothetical situations where sound design is needed.
  • You must design audio events with the specified interactive audio capabilities.
Criteria for achievement

You have shown that you have identified the requirements for the sound design, and demonstrated the logic behind your approach.

Construction
  • You are given situation briefs where sound design is needed.
  • You will submit FMOD projects and/or built games that demonstrate your ability to design and construct interactive audio elements as specified in the brief
Criteria for achievement

The submission demonstrates a competency in sound design and interactivity. Your interactive audio artefact achieves the specifications of the brief.

ILO 2
Integrate interactive audio elements within a game engine

METHODOLOGY
  • Complete projects in class using a series of examples and exercises using FMOD and Unity
Examples include:
- creating footsteps for a FPS level
- adding 3D sound objects (emitters) within a level
- using triggered sounds (e.g. on Enter/Event)
  • Use a series of examples and exercises to create simple game levels in Unity, and integrate these with FMOD. 
ASSESSMENT METHODS
  • You will create your own Unity project that requires interactive audio elements.
  • You will integrate FMOD audio artefacts within these projects.
Criteria for achievement:

The submission successfully implements interactive audio artefacts within the Unity project.

ILO 3
Implement interactive music within a game

METHODOLOGY
  • Using a series of examples and exercises, implement interactive music in FMOD.
  • Discuss how music should be composed and edited for best implementation.
  • Use ready-to-go Unity projects to allow you to implement your interactive music.
Examples include:
- music that is controlled by a point system
- music that is controlled by distance from an object

ASSESSMENT METHODS
  • You are given situations where interactive music is needed, along with a brief of the interactive requirements.
  • You will submit a built game that includes interactive music elements.
Criteria for achievement:
  • The submitted interactive music artefact achieves the specifications of the brief.
  • The audio artefact achieves the specifications of the brief.
ILO 4
Implement audio elements that use randomisation to avoid repetition

METHODOLOGY
  • Use a series of examples and exercises to learn how to implement randomisation in audio elements.
  • Use a series of examples and exercises to learn how to implement probability weighting in audio elements to control the randomisation within audio artefacts.
ASSESSMENT METHODS
  • You are given situation briefs where randomisation is necessary (music and/or sound effects and dialogue).
  • You will construct built games that demonstrate randomisation of music and sound design.
Criteria for achievement:
  • The submission demonstrates that various randomisation and probability weighting techniques have been achieved to a competent level.
  • The interactive audio artefact achieves the specifications of the brief.
ILO 5
Construct a simple 3D game environment

METHODOLOGY

Use a series of examples and exercises to teach students to create a simple 3D level in Unity.
  • Creating and editing Terrain
  • Applying textures
  • Creating simple 3D objects (spheres, boxes)
  • Using colliders
  • Using triggers
  • Adding prefab objects (e.g. FPS characters)
  • Very basic coding (e.g. adding FMOD footsteps code) building the game
ASSESSMENT METHODS
  • You are given a design brief for a simple 3D level.
  • Your will submit a built game that meets the given specifications.
Criteria for achievement:

The submission achieves all requirements specified in the brief.

There are two Summative assignments for this module.

SUMMATIVE ASSIGNMENT 1 (40%)
  • You are provided with a Unity project and a Sound Design brief.
  • The Unity project is already integrated with FMOD, and a placeholder FMOD project is included.
  • You must construct all sound elements specified within the brief, and integrate these within the Unity project
ILOS ADDRESSED
  • ILO 1 (Design and construct interactive audio artefacts)
  • ILO 2 (Integrate interactive audio elements within a game engine)
  • ILO 4 (Implement audio elements that use randomisation to avoid repetition)
SUMMATIVE ASSIGNMENT 2 (60%)
  • You are given a Unity level design brief. This includes audio specifications, which includes interactive music.
  • You are to construct a Unity level, and to integrate this with FMOD to achieve the design brief specifications.
  • The design brief is very open, and you are encouraged to add their own interactive elements (this gives an opportunity for you to demonstrate excellence beyond the remit of the assessment brief).
ILOS ADDRESSED:
  • ILO 3 (Implement interactive music within a game)
  • ILO 5 (Construct a simple 3D game environment)
There are also a number of Formative assignments, which should be completed each week.

Key information

RESOURCES
  • Mac or PC computer capable of running FMOD 1.08 and Unity 5.3.4
  • FMOD Studio
  • FMOD Studio Unity plugin
  • Unity
  • DAW software (e.g. Pro Tools First, Audacity)
  • MonoDevelop
  • Internet access
  • Headphones or audio monitors
TIME COMMITMENT

Study is self-paced, but there are weekly assignments and coursework to be completed. A course lecturer will monitor the discussion boards and give feedback to submissions, and will be available for one-to-one assistance upon request.

The module is run over an 8 week period. At the start of each week, lessons, assignments and resources are released in the form of a Session on the VLE.

A Session is made up of several Sections, each of which relates to a different Learning Outcome.
  • There are between 1 and 4 video lessons in each Section.
  • A video lesson can range from one to six minutes long.
  • Each section has an assignment to be completed.


Qualification – SSR Certificate
Duration – 8 Weeks
Mode of Study – Part Time Online
Time of Study – Flexible
Hours of Study – A minimum of 1-2 hours per week
Start Date – Friday 29th December 2017
Entry Requirements
  • Basic DAW experience: the ability to record and edit audio
  • Some computer gaming experience will be useful (but not essential)
Tuition Fees – £545.00
Apply Now


Course Information

Subject Area
Games Development
Music Production
Course Modules –

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