Systems-First Audio Design

A systems-first approach is a necessary perspective for all game sound designers and composers.

I post and talk a lot about implementation, probably more than content, and it all comes back to this reason.

Systems are the entire thing that makes game audio unique from any other type of audio or music design. The difference between Spiderman, the film, and Spiderman, the game, in terms of audio boils down to the systems that will be playing back the audio.

As such, the features and limitations of these systems should be decided as soon as possible, ideally before any content is made for them. Content is only as valuable as its ability to work within the systems for which the content is meant.

And once these systems are decided upon, the content that needs to be created for those systems often becomes quite clear. Similarly, adding these systemic limitations often promotes creativity within that space.

Once you have decided your limitations, and you have a guide, you come up with a goal for the design. With that goal in mind, it’s as easy as execution after that.

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