Audio Special: Making custom audio for mobile

Audio Special: Making custom audio for mobile
Will Freeman

By Will Freeman

May 21st 2013 at 9:45AM

Develop talks to Soundrangers on providing sound for smartphone and tablet games

Soundrangers is a games business of two parts. It started out making custom audio for games, which it does to this day. That, in turn, led to the building of an immense sound library, which Soundrangers now shares as the second half of its operation.

And recently, on the custom audio side, Soundrangers co-founder Barry Dowsett (Pictured) has seen the company – and its clients – have to adapt to meet the new demands of mobile audio.

“What we’ve been seeing for a few years on the custom design side of our business is a lot more work with those making games for mobile and tablet, so we’re doing a lot more work for iPhone and iPad games,” confirms Dowsett.

“Specifically, where it used to be just iPhone, things are branching out from there to cross other games platforms and hardware.”

THE SPICE OF LIFE

What that means for Soundrangers is an increase in contributions to shorter projects, more time spent serving original IP, and, ultimately, greater volumes of varied work.

“It’s been fun for us because, with the triple-A stuff you’ve got a lot of content to deal with, a lot of voice overs, a lot music, a great deal of middleware to consider and lots of iteration,” says Dowsett.

“We’ve seen with the mobile work we’re doing that we can take a lot of what we know from the triple-A space and apply it to iOS devices, by making sure the quality control is really high.”

But it is important that mobile developers are educated as to the needs and expectations associated with mobile games audio. As such, Soundrangers now serves as both audio designer and consultant on mobile projects; a strategy other audio service providers may be wise to adopt.

“Not all of the iOS games developers fully understand some of the traditional facets of audio design for games, so they may not know the practicalities of some audio middleware and the associated techniques that allow us to make sounds more dynamic,” states Dowsett.

WORKING AS ONE

Developers, then should approach working with an audio partner with an open mind and a willingness to learn.

“We can get studios up to speed with how they can make their games more dynamic in that way, and we can help them with all the knowledge we’ve built up over the years," he says.

Once a developer has approached its sound design partner, Dowsett recommends it’s best to let the audio team come back to the developer with advice on context and reasonable use of technology, and treat the service provided as a partnership, so a studio can build a reasonable expectation of the best work approach and final aural goals for the project.

www.soundrangers.com