This week I decided it was time to get my hands dirty and get to grips with Wwise. Reading through forum posts and various subreddits, whenever someone asks which implementation software they should learn theres nearly always a resounding answer of “ALL OF THEM”. I’ve had a play about with FMOD in the past but not actually used it to implement audio into a game (FMOD has a bunch of great tutorial videos on youtube that take you through it’s features). So after stumbling through some pretty grainy Wwise tutorial videos on YouTube, I was happy to discover the CRAS Wwise 101 Certification Course, and that during the course you will actually implement audio into the game Cube.
So from my personal experience, the course takes you from looking at Wwise and scratching your head, to at the very least feeling confident that you know what the nuts and bolts are.
The course lessons are:
1. Installing Wwise and Preparing Lesson Content (Both Mac & Windows)
I can’t say what this process is like for Windows as I’ve only done it on a Mac system, but it was pretty straight forward here. You’re taken through various installs (Wwise, SDK & Support Files) and shown how to open and play the Cube game.
2. Quick Start – From Silence to Sound
This lesson takes you through the processes of connecting the game to Wwise, importing sounds, applying it to an action then integrating it into Cube.
3. Designing a Soundscape
In this lesson you’ll not only learn a few more ways to get sounds into Wwise, you’ll learn how you can use one sound to create almost endless variations and ultimately save a lot of space.
4. Understanding Game Syncs
As there are so many details that need to be communicated between Wwise and a game engine, simple game calls that trigger sounds just won’t suffice. Here you’ll learn how switches, game parameters and states further help you develop the sonic world of your game.
5. Creating Space
This lesson explores the use of 3D sound. As the lesson explains, engineers working in film and TV would use pan and volume controls to determine where an object is in space as the media they work with is linear and will never change. In games, it’s impossible to tell where a player will be at any given time, this means game audio engineers must attach emitters and listeners to objects and players and use their spacial relationship to determine pan and volume properties.
6. Understanding Audio Signal Flow
Those coming from an audio background that primarily use DAWs may at first find the Wwise audio signal flow a bit confusing (as did I). You may have thought that it would be a similar situation to what the traditional DAW offers, but game audio engines differ for a reason, they do completely different things. However, by the time you’ve got to this lesson you’ve probably already realised that. Lesson 6 will have you up to speed and in the Wwise flow.
7. Finalizing the Mix
In this lesson you’ll learn how to use Soundcaster and configure a Mixing Desk to enable you to fine tune sounds when they’re played together.
To make another comparison to how mixing for Film/TV and Games differentiate, Film/TV’s linear format makes for a more straight forward mixing experience, an engineer will know when a sound will play and it will never change, this allows them to mix according to the other audio elements that surround it. In games this is not the case, sounds may play in any order, combination and point in the game.
Soundcaster will allow you to quickly play sounds in any combination of your choosing without having to navigate through layouts and folders.
The Mixing Desk will allow you to change many different properties in one simple view without having to navigate through layouts and folders.
8. Optimizing Your Game
As there’ll often be a battle with many other elements of the game for resources such as RAM and CPU, this lesson teaches you the ways you can use Wwise to maximise the efficiency of how audio is implemented. Using various techniques you’ll learn how to steer audio away from being too taxing on performance and memory.
At the end of each of these lessons there is an optional quiz with multi-choice answers. If you do the lessons in a few different sessions, taking these quizzes at the start of each new session is a good way to jog your memory and check you know the ins and outs before moving on.
There’s also an optional Wwise-101 End User Certification Test you can take at the end costing $195 US (you must pass each of the end of lesson tests with at least a rate of 90% before you have the option to take the certification test). If you pass the test you get a downloadable certificate and the Audiokinetic Wwise-101 End User Certification endorsement.
Upon completing this course I do feel like I have a much better understanding of how implementation works, not just in the sense of how Wwise works, but in the greater sense of the role middleware takes in game development. I would suggest to all of the people out there who have flirted with the idea of getting into game audio, especially for those coming from a traditional audio engineering background, to give this course a go so they can get a good idea of what is involved.