Develop brings you a game industry professional to explain what their job involves and key advice to help you follow in their footsteps.
Dave Shillito, audio programmer at Supermassive Games, talks about his creative and technical role in sound design and what aspiring sound designer should do to follow his path.
How would someone become an audio programmer?
Today specialisations are the norm, and while getting into the industry as a gameplay programmer, for example, then switching specialisation is still very much possible, you will often find jobs advertising specifically for audio programmers.
What qualifications and/or experience do you need?
As with most jobs these days a good degree will often be needed to get you to interview. But the games industry is still one of the areas where experience can still get you through the door. A good demo or game written at home can still get you an interview, and after that it’s down to you.
That said, the degree route is still the most common and there are many good degree courses, which will teach games programming. There are also Sound Design degree courses, which allow you to specialise in the more technical side of sound, including programming.
What do you look for when recruiting a new audio programmer?
Good technical knowledge is obviously a must, but I really want someone who is passionate about games and audio in general. If you were to ask me what my favourite audio moment was in a film or game and why; sit back and wait for me to pause for breath. That’s what I want to hear.
What opportunities are there for career progression?
Games these days can be vast, and most programmers often only see a small section of the code. However, audio touches so many areas you learn a very systematic approach to programming which is a very transferable skill.
Why choose to follow a career in your field?
The games industry in general is such a creative and enjoyable field in which to work, and as an audio programmer I get to sit squarely between the technical challenges of a programmer and the creative world of the sound designer.