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Effective: Summer 2015

Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Non-GE Transferable: CSU
3 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (72 hours total per quarter)

Description -
Designing and implementing sound effects for games and interactive media. Recording custom sound effects and working with commercial sound effects libraries. Advanced techniques for designing hard effects, foley sounds, and ambient backgrounds. Industry-standard workflows for sound effects implementation with audio middleware solutions. Hands-on experience with professional examples of game audio sound design on desktop, console, and mobile platforms.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. Understand professional game audio workflows.
  2. Create complex, multi-layered sound effects.
  3. Design sophisticated sound effects playback systems using audio middleware.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
  1. When taught on campus:
    1. Classroom with appropriate number of digital audio workstations and appropriate software.
    2. Computers running appropriate operating system.
    3. Projection system for video and multimedia content.
    4. Loudspeaker system to accurately reproduce audio examples.
  2. When taught via Foothill Global Access:
    1. On-going access to computer with email software and capabilities.
    2. Email address.
    3. Java-script enabled internet browsing software.
    4. Digital audio workstation with appropriate software.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Study and analysis of game audio sound design techniques and middleware audio implementation workflow.
    1. Understanding game audio workflows. (Lec, Lab)
    2. Assessing game audio requirements. (Lec, Lab)
    3. Acquiring sound assets using studio and field recording. (Lec, Lab)
    4. Processing game audio with plug-ins. (Lec, Lab)
    5. Applying appropriate limiting and dither algorithms for resolution optimization. (Lec, Lab)
    6. Exporting digital audio file formats. (Lec, Lab)
    7. Implementing finished sound elements using audio middleware. (Lec, Lab)
    8. Playtesting game levels to assess effectiveness of sound effects implementation. (Lec, Lab)
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Written assignments that analyze sound design techniques.
  2. Tests on designing, processing, mixing, mastering, and implementing sound effects as presented in the course materials.
  3. Multiple projects delivering completed sound design elements demonstrating understanding of class material and assignments.
Representative Text(s) -
Schütze, Stephan. FMOD Studio 101. Victoria, Australia: Sound Librarian Pty. Ltd., 2013.

Disciplines -
Commercial Music
Method of Instruction -
  1. Lecture presentations and classroom discussion of the techniques for designing sound effects for games.
  2. In-class viewing of historically significant video games followed by instructor-guided interpretation and analysis.
  3. Presentations of major sound design projects followed by in-class discussion and evaluation.
  4. Demonstration of techniques for interactive implementation using audio middleware.
Lab Content -
Lab content includes topics such as recording techniques, sound design techniques, plug-in processing, mixing and mastering, printing audio to stems, exporting file types, and implementation with audio middleware. Other topics may include subjects such as field recorder, sound library selection, and advanced asset management.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Written critiques and analysis of sound design projects in film, television, video games and interactive media.
  2. Written summaries documenting technical and artistic elements for corresponding submitted sound design projects.
  3. Hands-on exercises and guided tutorials to practice sound design and implementation concepts and techniques.