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The Game Audio Tutorial: A Practical Guide to Sound and Music for Interactive Games [Paperback]

Richard Stevens , Dave Raybould
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £30.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

26 April 2011

Design and implement video game sound from beginning to end with this hands-on course in game audio. Music and sound effects speak to players on a deep level, and this book will show you how to design and implement powerful, interactive sound that measurably improves gameplay. If you are a sound designer or composer and want to do more than just create audio elements and hand them over to someone else for insertion into the game, this book is for you. You'll understand the game development process and implement vital audio experiences-not just create music loops or one-off sound effects.

The Game Audio Tutorial isn't just a book-you also get a powerful website (, which includes:

Frequently Bought Together

The Game Audio Tutorial: A Practical Guide to Sound and Music for Interactive Games + Game Sound: An Introduction to the History, Theory, and Practice of Video Game Music and Sound Design + The Complete Guide to Game Audio: For Composers, Musicians, Sound Designers, Game Developers (Gama Network)
Price For All Three: £68.02

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press (26 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240817265
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240817262
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 18.8 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 330,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


If you want to learn about game audio implementation, this is the book for you! Stevens and Raybould have written a thorough practical, hands-on guide to sound and music implementation in games and, by doing so, present the reader with an excellent introduction to the concepts of interactive game sound. Speckled with humour and written in an accessible style, this book is sure to find a home in many classrooms and homes of aspiring sound designers, composers and audio programmers.
-Karen Collins, Canada Research Chair in Interactive Audio, University of Waterloo, author of Game Sound (MIT Press)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the type of book that I have been looking for, for my entire career.
I used it as a quick reference and getting into UDK and how things worked there, but during the reading of the book I got hundreds of ideas for other engines and systems, because of the way everything is explained here.

this book is more than enough if working or getting into game audio, but more like this is needed. well done.
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5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLANT STUDY BOOK 15 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The course is well thought out and things are explained in a nice curve of difficulty and complexity. Where detailed in depth discussion is required the book offered plenty, where a quick example is needed it gets straight to the point. There are a lot of good references and the included UDK maps are very useful for your own experiments as well as following the tutorials in the book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much More Than A Follow-The-Dots Tutorial 25 July 2011
By frankp93 - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I enjoyed this combination of step by step exercises and in-depth discussion much more than I expected to, based on the title and blurb. I thought it might be some high-level, tweak-the-templates walkthrough but the book covers game audio in depth, from processing ambient and abstract sounds, to dialog as well as integrating actual music. There's even a section on music-based games, where audio drives the gameplay, rather than its more typical role of enhancing and adding realism to graphic action.

The authors use the open source Unreal Development Kit (UDK) to present a sample game level that you enhance by following the tutorials. In many cases, they've left markers for you or created game `actors' that you provide sound for. The tutorial steps are set up and elaborated upon with detailed discussion, rather than simply, 'Do this, then do that'. The goal is for you to understand concepts and apply the techniques in your own creations rather than just work through the book.

I really underestimated the content and capabilities of integrated game development environments such as UDK, which I hadn't used before. As a musician familiar with DAWs and graphics programs it's interesting to see how UDK incorporates elements of both, along with a kind of table-driven code generator. You get fine-grained access to details but you're working at the abstraction layer of the game, rather than in the low-level code. As someone who keyed in C and assembler game listings years ago for hours on end, praying they would compile, no less actually run, this is a revelation.

The opening tutorials demonstrate ambient room sound, the problem of walls and simulating natural attenuation to create realistic presence. This really set the stage and hammered home to me just how far game audio has come from the monophonic, predictably repetitive little tunes that graced the games I first played and experimented with coding.

There are tutorials demonstrating how to reuse audio samples by manipulating them with filters and even pitch shifting. Others show how to apply reverb and set up ambient zones that map to physical scenes. Some of these features may not be a parameter-rich as in a DAW that's dedicated to music production, but they're more than adequate for games where, let's face it, most of the time audio plays second fiddle to visual action. And you can always use your favorite DAW to generate material to import into UDK.

The first three chapters deal with ambient and abstract sound and the corresponding UDK tools. The book really hit its stride for me in chapter 4 with music and the techniques and tools for integrating it. Some of the track synchronization demonstrations will feel familiar to anyone who's coordinated video and sound inside a DAW.

What most interested me were the techniques of layering, randomizing and recombining musical and sound elements to keep the audio as dynamic and interesting as the graphical elements. A recurring theme is the authors' view that, in the non-linear narrative world of interactive games, there's a delicate balance between familiar and unfamiliar elements. It can really intrude on a player's sense of exploration to hear audio that repeats too predictably, especially when the visual context has clearly changed.

There are practicalities in the book as well: UDK targets game audio development for a variety of platforms, including phones and dedicated consoles with more restricted memory and storage. So there's a detailed discussion of file compression and the tradeoffs between streaming audio from disk as oppose to loading everything into RAM. As a reference, I'm running a desktop PC with 6GB of RAM and a 2.93 GHz i3 processor and the response is playable and the audio is clean.

The accompanying website and instructions for downloading and setting up your UDK environment are straightforward. There's a more recent UDK Beta available but I chose to stick with the version the authors used, based on my experiences with other books. If you're unfamiliar with UDK, as I was, the editor interface is pretty busy and it took a while for me to get my bearings. Way back in Appendix C the authors recommend checking out the UDK docs and online info for the basics. I would have appreciated being told that in the book's intro; it would have saved some frustration.

I'd recommend the book not just to composers and game developers but to anyone interested in sound design for music and media. Obviously it's tailored towards interactive games but many of the concepts and techniques can be applied elsewhere in, for example, film and TV scoring, experimental composition or multimedia art.

The `Game Audio Tutorial' is intelligent, well-written, and takes its subject seriously (It's also a lot of fun to work through, so don't be put off if fun is your main motivation).
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Game Audio Tutorial 1 Aug 2011
By smithl - Published on
This book is pretty clearly written, and well-organized. A qualm I have is that the software they use throughout the book (Unreal's Development Kit) is only PC compatible. So if you don't have a PC, you need an emulator on your mac so that you can do the examples that are prevalent throughout the book. I wish they would have used a multi-platform game design software, so that everyone could interact with the book the way they expect.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great audio education... 29 Jun 2011
By RPK - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is a wonderful tutorial starter for people wanting to brush up on their gaming development skills. With the expansive and easy to follow walkthrough that the author builds, readers will soon find themselves navigating and using music and whatever other sounds they may want to incorporate into their own creations. This tutorial is perfect for students and beginners and even certain advanced user developers who want to brush up and perfect their skills in sound creating.

The website companion featured with this manual is also incredibly useful. The free sound library will get you up and running through trial simulations easily and the updated bibliography that includes links to discussion boards,etc is a valuable resource as well.

Overall, very happy with this and highly recommend it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Adopted As Text for College Course 14 Feb 2014
By Arlen L. Card - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is so good at step-by-step explanation and exercises that I've adopted it as the text for my Audio for Video Games course at UVU. Recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars Sounds unleashed 3 Sep 2013
By Sheltdawg3 - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book gave me a feel for how audio works in video games. It allowed me to look at games in a different way.
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