Miniblog #6: Define a Shared Language to Discuss Game Audio with your Dev

A quick note about a great idea from Nick Thomas, CEO of Somatone Interactive, taken from a video presentation that he gave.


Have you also had a similar experience to me? Your dev tells you to go ahead and make whatever sound you like for a given asset/event. They have no preference. You hand in your SFX, something that you’re really happy with, but it turns out your dev DID have a sound in their mind – and it’s completely different to what you came up with. Awkward friction occurs. Who will back down first?

I find those moments shit. And now I do my best to avoid them.

Non-audio people (and highly experienced audio people too) have trouble using words to describe sound. The suggestion above from Nick is that perhaps you can introduce a simple language/definition system on day one with your dev team. The ability to have shared terms with fixed reference points helps the collaboration process no end.

In fact, rather than create an environment where your dev is now contributing their thoughts on every single sound (perhaps not ideal in the indie environment – do you have time to wait for multiple feedback steps on every asset?), it will likely swing the other way. After a few repetitions of this shared language communication your dev will feel completely comfortable that their sound designer shares the collective vision of the game and will just leave you to get on with your job.