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Functional Audio and Audio UX in video games
The plane with two axes: Ludic as X and Narrative as Y

I believe that game sound design is not about designing sound, but about designing the game via sound. Every sound has a function. Every sound needs a purpose. As Joel Beckerman and Tyler Gray write in The Sonic Boom, “Sound for sound’s sake is often a missed opportunity.” But game…

A photo of a cotton field
Photo by Amber Martin on Unsplash

In my two previous posts, I looked for a reliable technique to control the perceived unpleasantness of video game sound effects. Even though I couldn’t discover a 100% working method, there is evidence that it is not an impossible goal. …

Part 2: Practice

Witch from Left 4 Dead
The Witch from Left 4 Dead

In the previous post, I described several acoustic properties that, according to scientific literature, make sound unpleasant to hear. In the second part, I’m trying to apply that knowledge to analyze the actual sounds from videogames.

Let’s assume we can reduce the non-contextual unpleasantness of a sound to a set…

Part 1: Theory

An old claxon

After I wrote a post about disruptive audio in games, a few people asked why didn’t I mention any known acoustic features of annoying or unpleasant sound effects. Back then, I did it on purpose. I think it is a vast topic that deserves a separate, in-depth exploration.

There are…

A photo of the man showing his open hand to the camera. The word “Listen” is written on the hand.
Photo by B Rosen

Have you ever tried to follow two conversations at once? You probably know how difficult it is. In 1953 E. Colin Cherry conducted a series of experiments on speech recognition, addressing the phenomenon called “Cocktail Party Effect.” The results showed that people who listen to recorded speech fail to comprehend…

Abstract picture with red background and megaphone
Photo by Amanda Lins on Unsplash

How do we know that the sounds we create support the game design and improve the player experience? For many sound designers, the answer is “Intuitively.” Even though I don’t want to undervalue the power or professional intuition, I think it has its limits. In this post, I want to…

Denis Zlobin

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