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"Something that we advocate at Volition is peer review," says Gross. "We involve each other while we are designing sounds, before they are done. Showing your work when you're halfway through it is something that audio people can find challenging or frustrating, but this is a way that we can gradually talk about the sounds before we actually implement them in the game.
"So by the time they go in we've already had gone over them two or three times. By creating an environment where it is safe to share your sounds while they're in progress really helped us nail it before implementation because we knew there wasn't a lot of time to iterate."
"Audio is one of the areas with the biggest disc footprint, and there are a lot of people vying for resources -- whether that's the CPU, RAM or disc footprint and rightly so it does become a bit of PR campaign to get those resources," says EA's MacPherson.
"It's important to evangelize upwards the importance of audio, because it's not as tangible a discipline as graphics or gameplay. With graphics you can pause a picture, and anybody can look and see if something's wrong immediately, but it's not the same for sound. Unless you point something out specifically, people maybe think it's because the graphics or gameplay is better. They only really notice audio when it's not good."
To help win support, FIFA's audio team uses AV comparisons where they show footage from the game with poor or limited audio and then explain or show how giving more resources to audio could improve the experience.
"In games people often go for the more logic-based approach, where if an object is in this place then it should make this sound. It's like a machine: you put sounds on objects and then they just mix themselves," says Playdead's Andersen.
"I am much more into a subjective mix. I mix it so that you always hear what you are approaching, and as soon as the objects are no longer important to the player, I get rid of them. I found it important to have the boy in Limbo at the center of sound perspective at all times, even if he moves away from the center of the screen. I think it makes perfect sense, because the player takes on the role of the boy in Limbo, so the sound follows the boy, not the environment."
Audio teams need to get involved earlier in the development process, says Volition's Gross. "There's a perception that because a lot of the audio work comes at the end that we don't need to be involved until the end," he says. "But by being involved from the very beginning, we can expose hidden work in other people's plans and sometimes change these plans."
It's not just about audio muscling in; it's also about audio opening up. "People can be a little intimidated talking to audio people because they don't know the language that we use, but they don't need to," says Gross. "We need to stop thinking of ourselves as separate and get involved in the planning. We need to talk to people, invite them into our offices, and just get this rapport going. A lot of it is on us in audio to go out and insert ourselves. We need to say to people that we are part of the team, and we're going to make your stuff sound amazing."