The Tool Box: Have You Heard of GameSynth?
by: Eric Hamel
Move over, MAX MSP. Look out, PD. There’s a new sheriff in town. Tsugi Studios, creators of audio tools such as Alto, DSP Anime and QuickAudio, have harnessed the latest in procedural audio technology and machine learning to bring us GameSynth. This new sound design tool helps audio artists synthesize amazing sound effects for games quickly. Not only can this flexible engine be used to synthesize sound effects, but it can also be integrated as middleware into the game engine to generate audio at run-time.
GameSynth features a series of modular synthesizers specifically created with some of the most frequently needed game sound effects in mind. Some of these modules include footsteps, whoosh sounds, creatures, motors, liquid, and impact sounds. Each module is flexible and thoroughly customizable so you can craft the sound you want. Additionally, GameSynth's innovative and user-friendly UI enables designers to create content quickly and intuitively.
A personal favorite feature included in GameSynth is the ability to synthesize a sound from scratch using its model system. With a drag and drop interface you can build a sound either using oscillators or preset models to give your effect a head start. It operates very much like PD, but is far more intuitive, enabling designers to move quickly.
Some tools like the impact module allow for the ability to analyze and reproduce a sound procedurally. I used this technique in creating a clock sound effect. I fed a sample I recorded of a mantle clock striking the hour to the impact resonance analyzer, which rendered alarmingly accurate results. Importing and playing the rendered effect in this constructed module, yields the sound below.
With randomization parameters, GameSynth makes it easy for models to generate numerous variations of a sound to battle player ear fatigue. If your project is not taking advantage of the run-time engine, GameSynth also offers direct export to DAWs like Reaper and also to middleware projects like Wwise and FMOD.
A tool like GameSynth is definitely a step in the right direction with regard to making procedural audio more accessible, both in the design process and plausible in the shippable product. Previously, integrating procedural models into a game engine was cumbersome to say the least. It required packaging Pure Data with the game and having it run concurrently with the game engine. Acting as middleware, GameSynth simplifies the process considerably.
Join us next month for a more in-depth look at crafting a sound from scratch in GameSynth. I'm looking forward to exploring procedural audio and testing the limits of what this exciting tool can do.