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  • Finding Great Audio For Your Game

    [09.07.17]
    - Rob Miracle
  •  This feature was originally published on the Corona Labs developer's blog. Corona Labs produces Corona -- The 2D Game Engine, an excellent, easy to learn, API rich engine for making 2D games and apps.

    When it comes to making a game, whether it be for mobile, desktop, or console, we know how important art is, but for many people (in particular those with a limited budget), audio tends to take a back seat and many developers turn to the Internet to hunt for free sounds.

    Here are a few tips for making your game audio better:

    Audio types

    Games typically need several different types of audio, including:

    Sound effects - These are the most familiar: a "ding" when you pick up a coin or a "boom" when something explodes. These tend to be small, short sounds.

    Background music - These larger tracks set the mood for your game and they can build up excitement or provide a calming emotion for the game. These are among the most essential audio assets in any game.

    UI effects - Quality sounds for your UI (user interface) frequently get overlooked, but adding a subtle "click" sound to a button press can provide just enough feedback to the user that it's working.

    Voice-overs - These are generally sounds that augment the visuals, for instance a voice reading out "eleven o'clock" to help a child tell time in an educational game.

    Ambience - These are frequently forgotten, but they can include the sound of traffic in a city scene or song birds in a forest scene. Ambient sounds can be played randomly or whenever it makes sense.

    Look for consistency

    If you get your sounds from multiple audio sources (or sites), you may end up with a mix of sounds that don't really fit well together. Your coin sound may be louder than your jump sound, or your menu background music may be heavy on guitar while your game soundtrack is filled with piano notes. This might make your beautiful art and exquisite game design look amateur.

    What's the solution? One is to look for audio from the same artist. Generally speaking, audio artists tend to use similar volume levels and produce sound files in the same quality. That being said, it's usually fine to get your sound effects from a different source than your music, as these can be integrated more harmoniously.

    Understand licensing

    As you rummage around the Internet looking for audio, you will find all kinds of different licensing requirements. Many free audio tracks (and some paid) have some form of attribution requirement. This means that you need to give credit to the sound artist. Depending on the artist, they may require that you mention their name/studio on your website or even directly within the game.

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