Lesson 1: Welcome to FMOD
Hello! It’s been a while! A long time ago, I may or may not have promised a tutorial on FMOD, and in either case it’s been on my to-do list, so I’m gonna begin the process in striking it off here, right now. Welcome to the first post in my series on the use of FMOD. I was inspired to write this tutorial after meeting some of the FMOD/Firelight Technologies crew in March 2014 at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. You may have noticed, if you’ve come across my blog before, that all of my previous writings on game audio engine tutorials were written about Wwise. So why am I climbing aboard the S.S. FMOD now? Well, I’m not really doing that. I’m actually trying to just ride both horses. Why start now? Approximately five years ago, I rather disliked FMOD. The program felt kind of nebulous, it’s usage (which either I misunderstood, or it did not explain) went over my head, and the documentation for the software was notoriously under-developed and sparse. In short, the choice to use Wwise was made for me when I simply could not access the program, and so Wwise was what I stuck with. Fast forward to 2014, the FMOD Designer is now replaced with FMOD Studio and, even more excitingly, it is now absolutely free for indie designers to use in their games. Because of the flexibility that FMOD offers, there can be no excuses anymore. Any and all interactive audio designers should be expected to know FMOD, and Wwise, inside and out. These programs are no longer just for the big boys, and are no longer out of your budget or your reach. I would dare be the person to make the bold claim that you should never again be working on a game that is not using some sort of audio middleware ever again.
What gives me the authority to make such a claim? Because, as the FMOD manual so succinctly describes it: The sound file is not the sound that the game needs. A game designer, and certainly a game audio designer, does not live in the linear world. You only have so much space on your CD/DVD/hard disk for menial footstep samples. We can do so much more, with so much less. Especially in the indie games world, the lines between the sound creator and implementer are blurred and you will make your job so much more rewarding, while also increasing your value as an audio designer when you know and understand how to not only create the sounds your game needs, but how to implement them – something FMOD allows you to do quite easily. It is no longer acceptable to simply be satisfied with delivering folders full of .wav files to programmers and expecting them to put them in the game for you. You are much more than that.
Before we get down to business here, I want to stress one thing. This is not a tutorial on FMOD, per se. There are going to be few step-by-step directions tailored to fit specific scenarios. The scope of these lessons will be in attempting to teach newcomers to FMOD the basic concepts underlying some of the more important functions of the program and many of its common uses. As always, if you have any questions, need help, or want to request a specific tutorial on a subject in greater detail, feel free to email me at Hello@ChrisPrunotto(dot)com, or find me on Twitter and pop me a message @SoundGuyChris! Now, with all that said…read on to continue!
Continue reading “An Introduction to FMOD, part 1: The Interface”