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Old 02-24-2014, 11:26 PM   #1
CouchardT
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Default Audio Programming

Hello everyone,

So I'm here to ask for advices about audio programming, I don't really know if I should put this in "audio" instead but it seemed to be the right move since my questions are mostly about programming.

So, I'm a sound designer and I have this goal to become good at audio programming to be more valuable to the market to be some kind of 2 in 1 guy. It's not a "it has to be done in one month" kind of project but a more long term one.

My master's degree is actually not about sound design (I take classes outside for this) but about "computer music" which basically means we do a lot of programming related to audio and I know quite a bit about DSP and synthesis.
The big problem is we do it from an "artist" point of view with mostly high level languages like Max/Msp, Csound, Pure Data and just a bit of C.

I think I mostly need to improve my C/C++ knowledge to get them on my DSP knowledge level so I got this book "audio programming book" but I wonder if there is something I can do on my own? Like build something with OpenAL? I actually have little information about the things an audio programmer actually does in a company.
Most of the time I just see : "work with the audio team to develop the audio pipeline".

Note that I do lack math and a bit of physics knowledge too, but I'm not completely terrible at programming even if I'm not at a pro level.

I can't do a programming degree too, I need to learn it alone.
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Old 02-25-2014, 02:01 AM   #2
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It's rare for the audio engineer to actually work on the engine side of things. It's usually one or the other in industry and larger teams. ie. You have a programmer who is working no the implementation of the audio tools, engine API and the such and you have an audio engineer creating the audio itself.
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Old 02-25-2014, 02:31 AM   #3
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Yes but I'd like to learn the programming part of it and I'm asking for tips on this, I know the engineer part of it.

It's more for my own fun and because I like to learn stuff around audio, and then I guess it couldn't hurt a resume.
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:11 AM   #4
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Default Re: Audio Programming

The audio programmer on a development team could be doing either/and these things:

- Implementing a existing library (FMOD, wWise, OpenAL) to the engine and exposing it in tools and game code
- Creating the tools to that allow content creators to hook/tag their content to events in the game

It's difficult to suggest a starting point for a beginner to do either of the above as it requires something to be created already to build on top of.

What could be useful for an audio engineer know is how to implement their effects in to the game so knowledge on scripting languages or other commonly used languages would be advantageous.

Maybe taking a sample game/project from somewhere that is missing audio and implementing it yourself? Perhaps a Unity project?
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:35 AM   #5
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I am not a complete beginner at coding, I'm just a complete beginner at coding audio related stuff.

I'm actually programming a game (from the ground up, I do everything so far) right now using Unity with C# so I guess I could use this project. It is already playable.

I'm really interested in the "implementing Wwise into an engine" thing tho.

Would it be an audio programmer job to do the implementing of Wwise but for Unity? Because I know Unity kinda has a lot of shortcuts to make it easier for everyone to make a game and I think there is already a Wwise implementation available for download on the Wwise page.
I never looked really hard into it, to find what it is exactly about (my bad).

But that would be my end goal : to be able to do everything from the recording of the sound in the real world to the final result in game, by myself (on a small enough project obviously, like the one I'm doing right now).

Last edited by CouchardT : 02-25-2014 at 08:39 AM.
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Old 02-26-2014, 02:07 AM   #6
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Default Re: Audio Programming

Unity already has an audio API built into the editor and engine itself. TBH if a team is using Unity, chances are that the team is small and therefore doesn't have a dedicated audio programmer (Unity doesn't scale well with large teams).

Knowing how to use the audio tools in Unity is useful to know, especially if you know the in and outs of it.

wWise does already exist for Unity as a plugin though so you can download the evaluation package and play around with that. wWise is fairly common in the industry so knowing how it works would be great. Effectively it puts more control in the hands of the audio engineer.

Ultimately, someone on the team has to integrate an audio library into the game, manage the channels/layers of music, manage the resources and expose a workflow for content creators to hook audio effects into events.

Using Unity as an example, it can be simply a matter of exposing an attribute in a component for an audio asset and having it play at a certain time (eg beginning of an animation). Whereas in another project I was on, they had to develop an audio plugin (as it didn't exist before), add it to both the game and the tool chain that the content creators used, made sure it was played on the right layer etc.

There was another project I was on that did exactly what you learning to do now and wrote his own tools for vehicle sounds that exported into a format that could be built by games tool chain. I'm not sure if he wrote the code on the engine side or whether it was a collaborative job with someone else on the time.

Last edited by yaustar : 02-26-2014 at 02:10 AM.
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:30 AM   #7
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"Ultimately, someone on the team has to integrate an audio library into the game, manage the channels/layers of music, manage the resources and expose a workflow for content creators to hook audio effects into events."

Exactly so this is it, this is the part I'd like to learn. I'd like to be able to be that person at some point.

The rest I'm fine with it, not saying I'm the absolute pro, but I already saw it and I use it as much as I can.
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:21 AM   #8
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You can try getting an existing open-source game and ripping out the current audio pipeline and replacing it with something like FMOD, wWise and the such. That will at least give you a starting point.
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:50 AM   #9
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Ok, I will do this. Thank you very much fr all the answers.
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