The vast majority of developers are skilled at programming, but considerably fewer are trained in the art of audio creation. So what happens when you need to make your game’s soundscape pop quickly, and don’t have access to an artist?
One option is to go trawling through sound libraries, spending hours seeking out the perfect ready-made asset that’s both high-quality enough and the ideal fit for your title. Hardly the best choice when trying to rapidly prototype ideas, or for solo coders lacking the budget for an audio expert.
In steps Firelight Technologies, best known for its Fmod Studio audio editing suite. The tools firm has launched Fmod.io, a full sound library comprised of assets sourced from Soundrangers and Sound Ideas that is built into its namesake.
“Fmod.io gives developers immediate access to an extensive sound library from within Fmod Studio, making game audio implementation easier than it’s ever been before,” CEO Brett Paterson explains.
“Instead of bulk sound packs, we give developers the ability to buy just what they need, when they need it, at a good price. For many indies, small devs and students it is not always practical to have access to an expert sound designer. With Fmod.io and Fmod Studio, anyone can make games that sound great.”
Firelight claims Fmod.io is the first such library to be included within an audio tools suite. Existing users just load up the search box, find the royalty-free sound they need, drag-and-drop it straight into Fmod Studio for any editing and then insert it into their game engine of choice, including Fmod-integrated platforms such as Unreal and Unity.
“There are many ways to access sound libraries today but we think that developers will benefit from having Fmod.io so well integrated into the content creation tool,” Paterson praises. “Being able to drag and drop from Fmod.io straight into the project is unique and so is having all the sounds stored in the cloud – accessible at anytime, for any project, from anywhere. The ability to hear a full preview and buy individually at this price point are key benefits, as well.”
"It’s easy to waste a lot of time and effort searching online for free sounds."
Fmod Studio – and, therefore, Fmod.io – is free for indies and small teams with budgets under $100,000 to use.
From there, each sound file is 99 cents – and can be used on as many projects as the dev desires.
“We wanted the pricing to be simple and straightforward,” explains Paterson. “It’s easy to waste a lot of time and effort searching online for free sounds, or by buying several bulk packs of sounds that you hope contain the sounds you need.
“We wanted developers to be able to focus on being creative. Now they can find the sounds they want and get them into their game as quickly as possible.”
Obviously, the resource isn’t limited to shoestring creators. Among the bigger names to have utilised Fmod Studio are Telltale, Harmonix, Avalanche Studios and Turn 10, in games including The Walking Dead, Rock Band 4, Just Cause 3 and Forza 6.
“Double Fine used Fmod Studio for Day of The Tentacle, specifically to port iMuse – a pioneering interactive music system for games,” Paterson recalls.
“We know of some triple-A creators using different tools and engines for fast prototyping. Fmod.io is a great solution for teams like these, developing concepts on a tight schedule.”
"Fmod.io is a great solution for teams developing concepts on a tight schedule."
The way that interactive audio is being implemented by developers is evolving.
Key among this change is the increasing influence of virtual reality on game design. Fmod.io embraces the extra immersion of VR by ensuring all of its sounds are ready for the spatial audio requirements of virtual reality experiences.
“One of the main developments in this latest release is the support for an object-based workflow ideal for immersive 3D experiences such as VR,” Paterson adds.
“Fmod Studio 1.08 now features an object panner which gives developers the ability to design 3D experiences.
“The solution currently supports Playstation VR and Dolby Atmos but also forms the basis for potential future integration into all VR platforms. By using an object-based approach developers can author for various platforms with a common workflow.”
DEVELOPER: Firelight Technologies
PRICE: Free to access by indies, 99¢ per sound
- Royalty-free high-quality sounds sourced from Soundrangers and Sound Ideas
- Drag-and-drop straight into Fmod Studio
- Unlimited use for 99¢ per asset
- All sounds are game- and VR-ready
All this week, Develop is taking a deeper look into sound and music in video games through our Audio Special.