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Job Roles: Audio

The game industry has matured over the last 30 years as the scope of games has rapidly expanded. Game teams can now number more than 50 people, and as such, job roles have begun to fragment into more specialised areas. Read through the job role descriptions to find out exactly what each one entails. If you are looking to enter the industry there are additional guidelines on where you need to concentrate your creative efforts to increase your chances of success in our Getting the Job section.

If you're interested in a work placement please click here to find out more.

Audio Overview

Audio for games has changed dramatically since the very early days of monophonic beeps in arcade machines. In a relatively short time the shift in possibility in terms of audio fidelity, interaction and content has been huge. Now game audio can offer the same or potentially an even better, more exhilarating experience that film audio can, presented in hi-fidelity, immersive surround sound.

So when you tell people you work in game audio and they say: "Oh, you make all the beeping sounds then?" rest assured it's not quite like that anymore!

Todays games frequently use A-list Hollywood actors for voice-overs, and some of the most influential sound designers and composers are starting to work within games.

Back in the day (as with many aspects of game production) one person, typically a Programmer, who had some musical inclination, undertook the entire audio creation and implementation of a project. This would include all the music, sound design, sound implementation and voice recording. With the size and production values we have now, this isn't possible or desirable any more, so audio work is generally split between sound design and music composition, with each of these disciplines having distinct areas of expertise. Furthermore, as the size of projects continues to increase, these areas are becoming even more specialised.

Junior Audio Designer

Junior Audio Designer This is the entry level position in the audio department. Junior Audio Designers are responsible for:

  • Voice editing
  • Sound editing
  • Music editing
  • Sound creation

The main tools are sound editing software, such as Soundforge or Wavelab, and Vegas and Acid for music editing. Typically, Junior Audio Designers will be assigned to a specific project and given tasks by the Audio Lead/Senior Audio Designer and Project Manager.

However, there are also audio department duties such as creating sounds for the audio library. A Junior Audio Designer will have experience in the area of general recording, microphone techniques, audio manipulation and editing, foley techniques/recording, field recording, dialogue recording and editing. They may have acquired this experience at university, outside the industry, or in their spare time. Although this is the first step on the ladder, there is plenty of opportunity for creative work and making new sounds.

Audio Designer

Audio Designer This is the next step up from the Junior role and will typically be someone who has had some previous industry experience. Key responsibilities include:

  • Sound creation
  • Sound implementation
  • Voice recording
  • Voice editing
  • Music composition
  • Music editing

The art of sound creation and implementation - actually putting the sounds into the game - go hand-in-hand for this role. The Audio Designer will be responsible for working with the Audio Lead/Senior Audio Designer, Level Designers, Animators and Programmers to create content and make sure it plays correctly in-game. It is therefore essential to be able to think creatively about audio and to communicate those ideas to other people. The main tools for implementation may be either in-house or third party tools. Typically this person will be assigned to a specific project and given tasks by the Audio Lead/Senior Audio Designer and Project Manager.

They will be experienced in audio production, recording, editing and microphone techniques, and experience in film sound or related areas is a bonus. They will be highly skilled with audio software, plug-ins, sound creation through location recording, foley and synthesis etc. The ability to compose music in a wide range of styles is also important for those wishing to move into music composition roles.

Senior Audio Designer

Senior Audio Designer Generally this is someone with several years' experience working for an in-house audio department. Duties include:

  • Recording, design and editing of sound effects.
  • Sound effect file management/organisation and documentation.
  • Managing the outsourcing, recording and editing of voice recordings.
  • Composing interactive music scores.
  • Music, sound and voice production for linear video sequences, such as cutscenes or promotional materials.
  • Testing and identifying any problems with the implementation of the audio assets into the game.
  • Improving the audio department's resources/documentation.
  • Management of multiple audio projects including effective communication with all project managers and senior management and maintaining audio manpower schedules.
  • Ensuring that all audio assets are delivered on schedule and to the highest possible quality.

Resources

For application advice and information please see the Getting the Job: Audio section.