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New World Audio

Termite talks about the creation of sound effects in their first person shooter "New World Order"

While most of the attention and glory in computer games is focused on the graphics, the sound is just as important a part of the overall experience, and one which is often neglected. But have you ever wondered what goes into preparing the sounds for a game? No? Neither have we really, but thanks to the guys at Swedish developers Termite Games (formerly known as Insomnia Software) we now have some idea of what goes on behind the scenes as they develop their first person shooter "New World Order"...

"The recording will sometimes take me to various exciting places - like shooting ranges, factories and airports - but the bulk is recorded in our own unspectacular acoustically treated studio", admits Magnus Jansén. "The sounds are then transferred to the computer where I will catalogue them, categorize them, and try to do all sorts of things to bring order to the chaos that more than often exists inside a 500 Mb sound file."

After some editing and processing of the sounds, it's then time to slot them into the game. "Sooner or later someone will knock on my door and say "Hey, it's time to try out those sounds in game". This really is the best part of the job - hearing the sounds come alive inside the game. But the rejoicing is usually short lived, as you often notice something that needs tweaking. A sound may need a little EQ, it can sound out of place, it may need a loudness adjustment or it could just plain suck.

Once all that's done, "out of the 500 Mb or so that was recorded, only 1 to 5 Mb actually makes it into the game". And that's not the end of the story either, as New World Order also includes dynamic acoustic and filtering effects which can be applied to the sound effects, as well as dynamic sounds for everything from shells to rainfall. So there's a lot more going on than meets the ear...