Gamasutra is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
February 25, 2021
arrowPress Releases

If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


Music That Leaves a Mark

by Kurt Hollowell on 02/17/16 02:08:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Audio can be used to elicit emotion from our players, draw attention to something, emphasize an event, or set the pace for gameplay. Music is what draws us into the game world, it sells us on the fantasy of the world we’re entering when we pick up that controller.

In this article I want to explore how we can squeeze some extra juice out of those audio tracks. How we make our music and sound effects even more engaging.

I’ll never forget the first time I played Devil May Cry 5 where Dante enters Limbo for the first time. All of the visuals in the game shift alongside a heavy metal track. The entire environment bumped along with the music as if it was alive. Here’s a video of the scene if you haven’t seen it. The shift to limbo happens around 1:30, gameplay starts at 3:00 (warning, mature content)

That was the first time I realized how big of an impact audio can make when it’s seamlessly engrained in the environment. It made me think back to other games I’d played where visuals accompanying the music. Games like Audio Surf: and Luminess: I’m sure you can think of others.  The point is, adding visuals to accompany your soundtrack can really leave an impact on your players.Audio Surf



I’m a Unity developer myself, and I found they have a couple methods that are really nice for working with audio:



Basically they allow you to sample the audio every frame, what you do with that data is up to you. I encourage you to play with them and see what you can come up with. I spent the last few months exploring different ways to use this data. I realized you could scale objects to music, change their position, color, or material, adjust lighting, or cue any custom event based on the beat. However beat detection took a considerable amount of work. I compiled all these findings and created a tool on the asset store I call The Audio Visualizer:!/content/47866

Here are a few screenshots from the tool: 

Audio Visualizer - Spherical Waveform

AudioVizualizer - Pad Waveform

AudioVizualizer - Line Waveform

AudioVizualizer - Panel Waveform

AudioVizualizer - Rainbow

If you’re looking to add visuals to the audio in your game I would love to hear your feedback on the tool or ideas about how it could be improved.

I'll be showing this tool off and some of my other stuff at GDC this year! If you'll be at the event and want to connect than hit me up on social media!





Related Jobs

Airship Syndicate
Airship Syndicate — Austin, Texas, United States

Gameplay Programmer
Airship Syndicate
Airship Syndicate — Austin, Texas, United States

Senior Gameplay Programmer
Sucker Punch Productions
Sucker Punch Productions — Bellevue, Washington, United States

innogames — Hamburg, Germany

Browser Frontend Developer - Video Game: Forge of Empires

Loading Comments

loader image