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Game Sound Design GlossaryGSD Glossary
Our game audio glossary has all the sound terms you have been wondering about. Game audio can be confusing enough without having to deal with a new technical language. We are constantly updating the database with new terms that relate to not only game audio but game developer terms as well.
Video Game Developer Glossary "A"
Glossary by George Spanos with Special thanks to Xan
Sometimes referred to as "Triple A". Generally games with a large budget, mass market appeal, and high sales fall into this category. Games such as Halo, Call of Duty, and Bioshock all fall into this category.
Non-linear music that can be altered by the player's actions. There are many ways of integrating adaptive music into a game engine. A common method is to arrange the musical piece into stems (separate tracks for different instruments or groups of instruments) and then play each stem at different times in order to give the music the feeling that it is evolving, or changing. Another method that is commonly used with the stem approach is to play different intensities of music based on the player's and A.I.'s actions. For example, an investigation music cue is played when the enemies are unaware of the player but then switches to a combat cue when the enemy A.I. become aware of the player. This gives the game a lifelike feel in that it is responding to player interaction and gameplay style.
Non-linear dialogue that can be altered by the player's actions. Much like adaptive music, adaptive dialog is played back based on the player's actions in the game. For example, the player walks up to a stranger in the street and chooses to interact. The player is then given a number of choices of questions to ask the stranger. Based on the question asked, the stranger in the game provides a response based on the question that the player chose. This can often lead to the player discovering new clues or messages in the game and makes the game feel more lifelike.
"Automatic Dialog Replacement" (Sometimes "Automated"). This is the name for a technique used in film and TV post production where an actor re-performs his lines from a scene in a controlled environment. ADR Lines replace production lines which may have been recorded in a noisy environment, such as a busy street. The process of recording ADR is a little like karaoke, with sequntially highlighted text from the origional scene apearing on a screen in front of the actor to ensure good lip-sync.
This term has been reused in game audio. ADR is often used loosely to describe any kind of process where an actor must reproduce dialog to match existing audio recordings or visual animation, such as facial animation and lip movements. In games, dialog is often recorded seperately from any physical acting such as facial motion capture or body motion capture. An actor may have to perform lines with intonation or pacing to fit existing body movements. Occasionally due to a project's time constrains a version of the script may have been recorded with cheaper actors or even company staff. This allows hand-keyed body or facial animation to begin early. It also acts as a dry run for the script, so that re-writes can be done before the proper recording session, saving on costly pick-up sessions. If facial animation has begun, in subsequent audio recordings with the true actors the actual line has to be reproduced with phoneme accuracy which can be difficult and require many takes.
Artificial Intelligence forms the backbone of most video game experiences. Without A.I. enemies would not chase down the player and would appear "dumb". A.I. gives non-human controlled characters in the game (NPCs) "life-like" abilities. A.I. is a complex mathematical task that is performed by programmers.
Alpha is a version of a video game that has most features completed. It is the stage at which the whole game should be playable from start to finish. Alpha can be somewhat ambiguous as some departments will still be adding content to a game at this point. The audio portion of a game really starts to come together after Alpha has passed. This is mainly because other departments have completed their tasks and now the sound designers can go into the game and finalize the sounds. Alpha is the stage just before Beta.
This is the person responsible for creating the animations that are to be used in the game. Usually game development studios have a team of animators to create a game.
Any content that is made for a game is called an "asset". Assets are put into the game and are what the player sees(art and animation), and hears(sound). They are the basic building blocks of every game.
The person responsible for overall management of the audio department within a game development studio. They are responsible for the "creative sound vision" for the game and for communicating this to the sound designers, sound editors, and localization teams on the project. They accomplish this by setting clear timelines and production documents outlining the creative process. The audio lead can also be required to perform the duties of the sound designer.
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