How to make video game sound effects?

how to make video game sound effects

A video game sound effect is one for which the primary purpose is to generate an audio response from the user by means of their hearing. To make things simple, think about them as any other sounds in your game except they are usually shorter, more repetitive and less impactful than music or dialogue.

Video game sound effects are a sort of audio magic. They can be simple, powerful and convey a lot of information in just a few seconds of sound. At the same time, they can take minutes to make and be entirely unique. Let’s see how to make video game sound effects?

Steps to make video game sound effects:

how to make video game sound effects

Here are the steps you can follow to make your sound effects.

1) Keep your sounds short:

This is one of the biggest mistakes people make when making game effects. The thing is that players have extremely short attention spans so try to avoid anything longer than 1 or 2 seconds. You can use multiple sound files for a single action or just loop one sound.

2) Looping your sounds:

This is a very common technique for video game effects. It is simply playing a sound file repetitively until a certain event occurs or until its creator decides to stop it. When you make a loop, make sure the beginning and end of the part you plan to loop are almost indistinguishable from each other.

3) Use the same sound for the same action:

If you want to make a jump, make sure to use exactly the same sound effect every time your character jumps. This way you will avoid making your players confused and disoriented which inevitably leads them to getting lost or frustrated.

4) Add layers and mixes:

You can create more interesting and effective sound effects if you add layers to them. For instance, you can create a sudden layer of background noise for explosions or even mix the same jumping sound with an additional wind up effect.

5) Use filters:

Filters are one of the simplest ways you can alter your game sounds without needing any actual programming skills. You can use EQ filters, reverb or simply basic volume changes.

6) Test your sounds in game:

This is perhaps the most important step in our process. The only way you can truly tell if your sound effects are good enough to be used in your game is by playing them in it yourself. You have to test every single sound you make and every single alteration you make to it. If your sounds don’t work in game, they’re no good.

7) Give yourself constraints:

This is one of the best ways to learn and improve your sound design skills. Set yourself certain limitations that force you into making better effects or even force you into using better recording or processing techniques. For example, you can only use the same sound effect for every jump your character makes. Or, if your game is already finished and you want to make better sounds for it, limit yourself to using exactly the amount of memory your game requires.

8) Record your own effects:

It doesn’t matter what kind of game you are making or how big budget you have for it, 99% of the time you will want to record your own effects. It is definitely much better than using high quality sound packs which might be great but are never as good as sounds recorded by yourself.

9) Be aware of your audience:

This isn’t quite about making game sound effects (it can help though) but it is one of the most important things to keep in mind when making games. Know your audience, know who you are making your game for and make sure that they will enjoy it. If you want to be successful, you have to make a game that people love playing.

10) Mixing:

The last thing you absolutely need to know about game sound effects is that they must be properly mixed. Sounds can only impact your game to the max if you know how to mix them together properly and if you don’t, there are certain professionals out there who can do just that for you.

Knowing how to make video game sound effects will definitely help you get better at designing your games and if done right, it can even help you get a job in the industry.

Author: Jeffrey Bowman

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