By Robin Arnott, IGDA Audio Development and Implementation SIG, Chair
The Audio Development and Implementation SIG (or Audio SIG, for short) was founded with the goal of serving developers across all production disciplines. It operates on the premise that non-audio disciplines aren’t non-audio disciplines at all. Whether you work directly with audio production or not, I encourage you to read on and consider how this new IGDA initiative could help you with your inter-disciplinary challenges, and introduce you to new creative and collaborative opportunities.
Interactive audio specialists are currently well served by two other volunteer organizations: GANG and the IASig. The founding of the Audio SIG fills a niche separate from the goals of these groups: informing the collaborative space between audio specialists and the rest of the production team. We’re here for the animator who recognizes the necessary codependence between creative disciplines. We’re here for the producer who knows that great feel comes from great communication. We’re here for the auteur developer hiring their first composer, and unsure of what to expect.
Audio creation and creative implementation is all too often a craft hidden behind a shadow of mystique, often misperceived as a creative topic that some people get, and some people just don’t. We’re here to clear that smoke for developers by publishing papers, hosting round tables, and mutually educating audio and non-audio professionals on best practices, techniques for successful collaboration, and managing realistic expectations.
If you attended our first roundtable at GDC 2010, you know exactly what I mean. A healthy mix of developers/producers/artists, and audio specialists attended the event, roughly reflecting the makeup of the SIG. Non-audio attendees came with questions and concerns about the unique audio challenges that affect their production, and left with solutions, and with a roadmap towards improved collaboration. Audio specialists came with valuable expertise and ideas, and left with a greater understanding of the challenges and fears that can plague their clients.
Now is a unique time for you to shape how this SIG affects our industry. Whether you’re a developer or an audio producer, and/or you have interests in how an appreciation of audio can help you do what you do even better. Also, if you have outspoken opinions on the collaborative process, the Audio Development and Implementation SIG can be your portal to learning something new, and a platform for changing the way we collaborate. This coming year, we look forward to offering webinars, producing more written resources for developers, and offering our problem-solving roundtable.
If you’re interested in seeing how the Audio SIG can benefit you, we have some easy-to-access resources on Facebook. Like our page at on.fb.me/AudioDevPage or join the conversation at on.fb.me/AudioDevGroup. And feel free to contact the SIG chair directly at robin (at) wraughk (dot) com with your questions or ideas.
Robin Arnott is a sound designer and experimental game maker based in Austin, TX, where he runs the audio design and implementation studio WRAUGHK. He is most well known for creating the immersive audio-only game Deep Sea, which won the Independent Propeller Award for Innovation at this year’s South by Southwest. As the chair of the IGDA Audio Development and Implementation SIG, Robin is a proponent of holistic audio design, and thus keeps one foot firmly in both the independent game design and audio design communities.