Codemasters’ Peter Ward discusses the key skills needed for his role in sound design
Every working day this month, as part of our New Year, New Job 2014 special, Develop brings you a game industry professional to explain what their job involves and key advice to help you follow in their footsteps.
Sound is crucial for grounding every game world and conveying a sense of life to the player. Peter Ward, principal audio designer at Codemasters, describes what it takes to bring realism to games through sound.
What is your job role?
I’m a principal audio designer, and project audio lead on one of Codemasters’ upcoming racing titles. I’m responsible for making the game sound as good as possible on the platforms we release on, working with a small team of audio designers responsible for different elements of the game.
How would someone become an audio designer?
I’d start with some kind of audio and/or music qualification, then look for a junior role in the games industry while working with as many different projects needing sound as you can find. You might get lucky and find a role really quickly, or it might take a little while. But the more experience you have, the better.
What qualifications and/or experience do you need?
You don’t need a degree to do the job, but you do need to know an awful lot about how sound works from first principles, and how we experience it, in order to be able to make the right creative and technical decisions. Most sound designers are also musically very talented, which helps when choosing, commissioning, editing and mixing music interactively. Programming ability isn’t a requirement but is a big plus in a highly technical industry.
If you’re interviewing someone to join your team, what do you look for?
A combination of experience, willingness to learn, an adaptability to new tools and technology, an ear for quality and the ability to respond quickly to feedback.
What opportunities are there for career progression?
There are relatively few audio jobs compared with other disciplines like art or programming, but they do crop up from time to time. Career progression comes with experience, ability and luck to some extent – sometimes you just need to be in the right place at the right time.
Why choose to follow a career in your field?
Because working with sound all day is fun. Knowing you’ve helped shape the audio experience in a product played by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide can be very rewarding.
This feature is part of New Year, New Job 2014, Develop’s month-long guide to games recruitment. You can read more at www.develop-online.net/jobs2014.