While much of the attention surrounding games today may go towards visuals, it’s important not to neglect the audio.
This is something proved by UK studio Mad Fellows’ sci-fi themed SineWave. Developed with Marmalade, the title adapts the music to fit the player’s movements – something the studio is confident makes the title stand out.
“Games, as an industry, have pushed the boundaries of interactive sound design to a mind-boggling degree,” says creative director Paul Norris.
“But the old cliché that sound designers are under appreciated is definitely justified. I think it’s because the subtleties of the job are lost on most people.”
Norris adds that he discovered sound design later on in his career and to him, the discipline “was a huge revelation”.
“I’ve found audio can be much more powerful than visuals when communicating emotion and mood, and even physical concepts like a sense of scale, material, distance or even texture,” he says.
“If you’re in any doubt as to the power of audio, try watching a horror film on mute, then put on a blindfold and listen to just the sound.”
Fortunately, Marmalade not only offers its own built-in audio tools, but also integrations with leading specialist software such as Wwise and Dolby.
“Marmalade is one of the best frameworks for mobile devs, so we felt it was natural to include our solution to maximise our audience reach,” says Dolby’s senior manager for developer programs Eric Ang.
“Mixing and editing the audio is only half of the equation – the content also needs to play back optimally. By using the Dolby Audio Plugin, end-users will receive the full audio benefit.”
Mike Drummelsmith, developer relations director at Wwise creator Audiokinetic adds: “Integrating Wwise into an SDK like Marmalade allows devs to use industry-standard tools and a high-performance audio engine with relative ease.
“When a developer chooses to use Marmalade, they’ll first seek out technologies that already support the platform to upgrade their experience with it. If we’re not there, more likely than not the devs would not think to seek us out.”
The Wwise plugin was actually built by Double Stallion Games, the studio behind Big Action Mega Fight, which won best audio award at Casual Connect 2014.
Co-founder and CEO Dan Menard says: “We make use of a lot of Wwise features in BAMF. The music is entirely dynamic and made up of layered loops and melody sections, which prevents the music from getting repetitive. The randomisation features allow us to add voice-over lines without making them too overwhelming.
“We also wanted to keep BAMF under 50MB, and Wwise’s compression features enabled us to do this. All the audio and music weighs in at only 20MB.
“Ultimately it is the creativity of your audio team that will ensure the game sounds great. Wwise just gets out of the way of that creativity. Our extension allows Wwise to work with Marmalade and unlock that creativity.”
In that regard, Menard heartily recommends Marmalade users explore plugins for multiple aspects of games development. There’s a rich ecosystem of integrations available and, being a
low-level framework, Marmalade’s flexible architecture means it’s easier for devs to use these add-ons.
“Using existing libraries and middleware is important to keep development costs down, and we don’t mind sharing these extensions with everyone,” he says.
“It’s important that the Marmalade community continues to share and improve these extensions to give devs more options.” ′