MUSONIC 2720 - Sound Design for Games
North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2015
General Course Information
Course Code MUSONIC 2720 Course Sound Design for Games Coordinating Unit Elder Conservatorium of Music Term Semester 2 Level Undergraduate Location/s North Terrace Campus Units 3 Contact Up to 4 hours per week Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N Prerequisites MUSONIC 1000, MUSONIC 1220 Assumed Knowledge Comprehensive understanding of music technology and sound design fundamentals Course Description Sound Design for Games involves the artistic and technical application of sound to computer games. This course will develop an understanding of sound design for games and its associated components such as: music, dialogue and voice, ambience and effects. This will be achieved by theoretically and practically exploring the concept of game sound design through lectures, tutorials and workshops. In particular students will examine a range of topics, technologies and techniques such as: history of sound in games, game sound interaction, asset creation, sonic iconography, game engines, audio engines, middleware, mixing, production, sourcing and clearance, delivery, management and quality assurance; complete readings and listenings; and perform practical exercises that promote investigative learning and research. The course has the following learning objectives: facilitate new understandings and exploratory approaches in sonic arts practice; extend knowledge and develop new artistic and technical skills in sound creation and design; and promote a learning process and reflexive skill set with regard to future practice, thus enabling students to adapt to the ever expanding and rapidly changing area of sonic arts and related areas of sound design.
Course Coordinator: Mr Christian Haines
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
Course Learning Outcomes
- To provide students with new understandings and exploratory approaches in sonic arts practice and sound design.
- To equip students with knowledge and develop new artistic and technical skills in sound creation and design in the field of computer games.
- To develop students research processes and a reflexive skill set with regard to future practice, thus enabling students to adapt to the ever expanding and rapidly changing area of sonic arts and related areas of sound design for games.
University Graduate Attributes
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:
University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s) Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1,2,3 The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 1,2,3 An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 2 A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 1,2,3 A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 3
- USB Stick or portable hard drive with enough capacity to store files associated with the course and formatted as Apple OSX HFS+.
- Stereo headphones with a 6.5mm male adaptor.
- Note – students must bring both their USB storage and Headphones (with adaptor) to university, as they are required for various classes and for using laboratories and studios.
Sound Levels & Hearing Protection
This course may require using spaces where a dB meter has been installed. If you exceed the set dB limit for the space, the lights will flash. Students found exceeding these levels will have their booking privileges revoked for two weeks, and repeat offenders may have their booking privileges revoked for the remainder of the academic year.
In order to minimise risk in noise-prone situations, the Conservatorium makes both reusable gel ear-plugs and disposable foam ear-plugs available to students and staff free of charge at all times. Students and staff are also urged to consider purchase of customised personal hearing protection.
For more information regarding sound levels, hearing and hearing loss please refer both to the full content of the O'Brien Report and to the excellent publication by Canadian audiologist/academic Marshall Chasin, entitled Hear the Music: Hearing Loss Prevention for Musicians both available here: http://music.adelaide.edu.au/hsw/documents/
HistoryMcDonald, Glenn. 2002, A brief timeline of Video Game Music, 2007, <http://www.gamespot.com/gamespot/features/video/vg_music/>.
Film Sound - Game Audio, 2007, <http://filmsound.org/game-audio/>.
Unreal Engine, 2007, 2006, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unreal_3_engine>.
Game engine, 2007, 2007, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_engine>.
Directory of Game Middleware Solutions, 2007, <http://www.gamemiddleware.org/>.
fmod - music and sound effects system, 2006, 2006, <http://www.fmod.org/>.
GarageGames, 2007, 2006, <http://www.garagegames.com/>.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, 2007, 2006, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Elder_Scrolls_IV:_Oblivion>.
Torque Game Engine, 2007, 2006, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torque_Game_Engine>.
Video game music, 2007, 2007, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_music>.
List of video game musicians, Wikipedia, 2006, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_video_game_musicians>.
Game Audio Portals
Game Audio Network Guild, 2007, <http://www.audiogang.org/>.
Interactive Audio Special Interest Group, 2007, <http://www.iasig.org/>.
Game Sound, 2007, <http://www.gamesound.org/>.
Gamasutra - Features / Audio, 2007, <http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/article_display.php?category=1>.
Gamesssound.com, 2007, 2007, <http://www.gamessound.com/>.
Game Developer's Conference - Audio Track, 2007, <http://www.gdconf.com/audio/index.htm>.
Game Developer Magazine, 2007, <http://www.gdmag.com/homepage.htm>.
Game Programmers Interviews
Hague, James. 2002, Halcyon Days, 2007, <http://www.dadgum.com/halcyon/index.html>.
BooksBoer, James. 2002, Game Audio Programming (Advances in Computer Graphics and Game Development Series), Charles River Media.
Brandon, Alexander. 2005, Audio for games: planning, process, and production, New Riders Games, Berkeley, Calif.
Bridgett, R. "From the Shadows of Film Sound: Cinematic Production and Creative Process in Video Game Audio." collected publications 2000-2010, 2010.
Carter, Ben. 2004, The Game Asset Pipeline, Charles River Media.
Childs, G. W. 2006, Creating Music and Sound for Games, Thomson Course Technology.
Chion, Michel, Murch, Walter & Gorbman, Claudia. 1994, [Audio-vision. English] Audio-vision: sound on screen, Columbia University Press, New York.
Collins, Karen. From Pac-Man to Pop Music: Interactive Audio in Games and New Media (Ebk). Ashgate Publishing, 2011.
Collins, Karen. Game Sound: An Introduction to the History, Theory, and Practice of Video Game Music and Sound Design. The MIT Press, 2008.
Collins, Karen. Playing with Sound: A Theory of Interacting with Sound and Music in Video Games. The MIT Press, 2013. *
Irish, Dan. 2005, The Game Producer's Handbook, Course Technology PTR.
Marks, Aaron. 2001, The Complete Guide to Game Audio: For Composers, Musicians, Sound Designers, and Game Developers CMP Books; Pap/Cdr edition.
McCuskey, Mason. 2003, Beginning Game Audio Programming, Muska & Lipman/Premier-Trade; 1 edition.
Mott, Robert L. 1990, Sound effects : radio, TV, and film, Focal Press, Boston.
Sanger, George Alistair. 2004, The Fat Man on game audio : tasty morsels of sonic goodness, New Riders, Indianapolis, Ind. ; London.
Sonnenschein, David. 2001, Sound design : the expressive power of music, voice, and sound effects in cinema, Michael Wiese Productions, Seattle, Wash.
Students can listen to musical works through the library's Naxos subscription (see library catalogue, search using Naxos as the title and limit search to ‘electronic resources’. You will be prompted to enter your uni ID number and password to access the Naxos catalogue). There is a wealth of material available for listening (but not downloading). The link to the Naxos catalogue is as follows:
The Music Library located in the Hartley building is an excellent source for music, literature and recordings: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/library/branch/eml/
Bibliography and references are to be cited according to the Music Referencing Guide: http://libguides.adelaide.edu.au/musicreferencing
MyUni is a crucial part of this course and will provide students with access to assessment and learning materials, such as quizzes, discussion boards, slide presentations, readings, links, sound and video. Materials will be provided on a topic-by-topic basis over the semester: http://myuni.adelaide.edu.au.
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching Modes
The course structure and content is delivered through a range of classes and materials. The classes in this course consist of lectures, tutorials and workshops.
- Lectures will deliver a specific topic each week. The topic will consist of ideas and concepts; technologies; and creative practitioners in the field.
- Tutorials provide an opportunity to discuss and ask questions about the weekly lecture and topic for the course; reinforce concepts and ideas from the lecture and explore new territory.
- Students are required to complete the weekly reading before their tutorial; come to the tutorial with questions and thoughts on the reading; and be prepared to actively engage in discussion on the weekly topic and reading.
- Workshops will explore a wide range of practical aspects of the course and its associated topics and concepts.
- Students will be set regular practical tasks as part of their portfolio assessment and be required to present their work during the workshop.
- Although workshops will from time to time contain presentations from the instructor, the workshop will largely be an opportunity for students to obtain assistance with their practical and creative development and practice. Students need to actively and on a week-by-week basis maintain their practical and creative development, using the workshop to raise issues and solve problems.
- Finally, the workshops provide a forum by which students can begin to explore their own ideas and practice using lecture and tutorial materials as inspiration and points of departure.
The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.
This course consists of up to 48 hours of direct contact or structured non-contact - 4 hours per week over 12 weeks for the seminars and workshops, where students will play an active role in the practice, refinement, consolidation and extension of their knowledge and understanding. In addition students will spend a minimum of 108 non-contact hours over the duration of the course on self-initiated learning and research, reading, writing, practice and assessment in order to pass the course, making the minimum workload 156 hours.
Learning Activities SummaryIn order to be relevant, contemporary and up-to-date, this course uses a reflexive ‘just-in-time’ organisation that adjusts its structure and delivery according to the most current changes in the field, research practice and peer-student interest. The structure of the course is broken down into a range of topics and more specific sub-topics that vary according to changes in the field. Each of the topics is supported by theory and practice through lectures, tutorials and workshops. More information about the format of the classes can be found in the section “LEARNING AND TEACHING MODES”.
Topics will vary and may include:
- History of Game Sound
- Game Sound Analysis
- Logistics, Process and Planning
- Game Technology Overview
- Game Sound Technology including Sound Engines, Middleware and Formats
- Sound Design and Creation
- Asset Management and Production
- Game Sound Types - Ambience, Music, Voice, Effects
- Mixing and Integration
Specific Course Requirements
EMU Facilities Access Provisions
This course will involve using the resources of the Electronic Music Unit (EMU). This includes facilities such as studios, recording spaces and digital audio workstations. For more information about these facilities and how to make bookings go to the EMU website: http://www.emu.adelaide.edu.au/
In order for students to complete the course they must gain ongoing and permanent access to EMU. Access and use of EMU is based upon the following:
- Users must complete and pass the EMU Guide Assessment (EGA). In order to pass the EGA users must receive a 90% or above grade. Users will have a maximum of 3 attempts at passing the EGA before being prohibited from taking the EGA further. If a user fails to pass the EGA after 3 attempts, or doesn’t pass by the end of week 4 of the course (which ever comes first), they will not be permitted to continue the course, or any other courses requiring access to EMU, and won’t be provided access or permission to use any of the EMU facilities.
- Users agree to and sign the EMU User Agreement (EUA). Users found in breach of the EUA will automatically have access penalties imposed:
- First breach: students will have all booking privileges removed and have after-hours access suspended for a period of 4-weeks.
- Second breach: students will have all booking privileges removed and have after-hours access suspended for until start of the next academic semester.
- Third breach: students will have all booking privileges removed and all access suspended until the start of the next academic year
Information is available on the EMU website: https://www.emu.adelaide.edu.au/intranet/emu_guide/
Except where otherwise indicated by the lecturer, tutor or workshop instructor – mobile phones, laptops, PDAs, recording devices and other similar technology must be switched off before lessons or classes begin, and kept off for the duration.
The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:
- Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
- Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
- Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Name Description Due %
Type Portfolio Over the course of the semester students will complete assignments as part of a portfolio. Each assignment will examine the student’s creative, practical and theoretical understanding and will be assessed during the workshops and/or tutorials. Note - No Late Submissions. During
35 1, 2, 3, 4 Summative Name Description Due %
Type Paper Students will complete an essay examining an area or topic in the field of game sound. Weekly tutorial readings and materials will form the basis of the paper topics. The topics will be made available mid-semester.. Note - Late submissions permitted (refer to “5.4 SUBMISSION – Late Submission” for information on penalties)
35 1, 2 Summative Name Description Due %
Type Project Students will complete a major project in the field of Game Sound. The major project will represent a synthesis of creative, technical and theoretical concepts presented during the course. Note - No Late Submissions. Week 15 30 2, 3, 4 Summative
Formative Assessment: Classes will contain embedded formative assessment tasks that may include student presentations, discussions, practical exercises, demonstrations and out-of-class work that will enable students to engage with the practical and theoretical concepts presented in order to complete their summative assessments.
Assessment Related Requirements
All students must complete the requirements under “SPECIFIC COURSE REQUIREMENTS ‘EMU Facilities Access Provisions’”. Students who fail complete these items have failed the course.
All students must complete and submit all assessments. If a student fails to complete and submit all assessments by the due date and fails to produce the appropriate medical or compassionate certificates, the student may be deemed to have failed that course, irrespective of assignments previously completed. Further, the student will be deemed ineligible for supplementary assessments. Students should consult their respective lecturer, tutor or demonstrator for further information.
Attendance Expectation & Penalty
Students are expected to attend all classes. If a student fails to attend at least 75% of tutorials or workshops in a course and fails to produce the appropriate medical or compassionate certificates, the student is deemed to have failed that course, irrespective of assignments previously completed. Students who arrive 20 minutes or later after the start of a class will be marked as absent.
Extenuating circumstances may occasionally affect a student’s ability to participate in a rehearsal, workshop, class, lecture, tutorial or performance. In such cases leave may, upon application using the leave form (available from the Music Office), be approved by the relevant staff member (this could be the Head of Studies, teacher, conductor, lecturer or course coordinator as appropriate). Types of leave include: sick leave; compassionate leave; and professional development leave.
Refer to “ASSESSMENT SUMMARY”
Assessments and Exams
Students must be available during the identified University teaching, academic and examination periods. Students are not entitled to sit an examination or submit an assessment at another time, nor are they entitled to any other concessions if an examination or assessment conflicts with a planned vacation or special event. Results from assessments and examinations are usually sent to students via email and/or myUni.
Assignments where late submissions are permitted and that are submitted after the due date and time will incur a 5% penalty (from the assignment total of 100%) per day (24 hour period) for a maximum of 4 days (weekend days included). After this time the assignment will not be marked for assessment or feedback. Note – typically this does not apply to assessments where the assessment is conducted at a fixed time and location, such as an exam, workshop, practical test, performance or presentation – please refer to the individual assessments for further information.
Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:
M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme) Grade Mark Description FNS Fail No Submission F 1-49 Fail P 50-64 Pass C 65-74 Credit D 75-84 Distinction HD 85-100 High Distinction CN Continuing NFE No Formal Examination RP Result Pending
Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.
Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.
Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.
The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.
SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.
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This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.
- Academic Credit Arrangement Policy
- Academic Honesty Policy
- Academic Progress by Coursework Students Policy
- Assessment for Coursework Programs
- Copyright Compliance Policy
- Coursework Academic Programs Policy
- Elder Conservatorium of Music Noise Management Plan
- Intellectual Property Policy
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- Modified Arrangements for Coursework Assessment
- Student Experience of Learning and Teaching Policy
- Student Grievance Resolution Process
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