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Game audio a different mindset, says Minkus

Tue 01 Apr 2008 7:00am GMT / 3:00am EDT / 12:00am PDT
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Although the two industries use many of the same audio tools, there is still a different mindset between films and videogames

Despite the use of similar technologies, there is still a gap between the film and videogame industries says Somatone's Kane Minkus.

"If you are going to bring an actor to a studio and record him, it is not like it is a whole different world completely," he told GamesIndustry.biz.

"But there are mindsets, there are nuances, and there are a lot of production choices that we find make a huge difference between films and videogames..."

Minkus found that the different mindset makes it difficult for some to cross over.

"When we take on new composers, film composers who are really extraordinary in film, it really takes them 6 to 8 months to get their heads around games," he said.

"Same thing with sound effects. If we take a post-production guy from the film world and put him into games, it takes months of training his ear and getting him to notice what subtleties really make the difference between the character in those sounds and the audio in the game world."

Despite using a lot of the same tools - sequencers and computer software, the same conceptual starting blocks - the palette for game audio is much wider than for films.

"Movies, for the most part, are based upon real content," said Nick Thomas, a partner at Somatone.

"You're talking about humans interacting with organic materials. You aren't talking about such a wide variation of possibilities."

Science fiction films, showcasing fictional technology and imaginary species, are the closest motion picture analogy to videogames - but they are not nearly as prevalent as fictional game worlds.

"You have to then think about what all those sounds sound like," Thomas said.

"They are based upon sounds that we are familiar with, but you can't just go and record a photon laser."

The complete interview with Somatone's Kane Minkus and Nick Thomas can be read here

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