Game Audio Lab featured on AES International Conference: Audio for Games 2009

My colleage Kees Went and I attended the AES International Conference Audio for Games 2009. We presented a paper about the Game Audio Lab that was developed in 2008 at the Utrecht School of the Arts.

Game Audio Lab: a educational framework for the research and design of realtime, nonlinear sound and music design
Game Audio Lab: an educational framework for  research and design of realtime, nonlinear sound and music design. Photo © Sander Huiberts

The Music Design Group of the Utrecht School of the Arts under Jan IJzermans in the Netherlands has developed a lab for academic purposes which enables research and rapid prototyping of nonlinear audio. The system offers designers the ability to construct composite variables based on variables that are available in the original game system. In this paper, the architecture of the hardware and software as well as the motivation for this setup are discussed.

Nonlinear and adaptive systems for sound and music in games are gaining popularity due to their potential to enhance the game experience. The framework enables academics to map composite variables and adapt sound and music design in real-time during active game play. Composite variables were found to be more useful than mapping simple game parameters directly to the sound design. To give an example: mapping the state of an adaptive environment to the health level of the avatar often is too obvious for the player.

The paper also discusses the need for open game systems, which help designers to study sound design in realtime settings. Most game platforms are closed and protected by intellectual property. Interestingly, many academics mentioned this during the conference.

The reference to the article is:

Huiberts, S. Van Tol, R and Went, K. (2009) GAME AUDIO LAB – AN ARCHITECTURAL FRAMEWORK FOR NONLINEAR AUDIO IN GAMES. In: Kelly, M. Proceedings AES 35th International Conference Audio for Games, 2009. Royal Academy of Engineering, London, UK.

Kees at the AES
Kees presenting at the AES. Photo: Sander Huiberts

Some video demos of applications (Half-Life 2 Source engine, OSC, Bridge software, FMOD and GStoolkit in Max/MSP) are listed below:

Credits for the game lab and these applications go to Arjen Schut, Mark Doeze, Maurice Alberts, Ramon Kerstens and Rogier Habraken. They truly did a wonderful job in this project.

Full demonstration Game Audio Lab Half Life 2: actual game play (select watch in high quality):

Simple demonstration: gunsound impact changes:

Simple demonstration: atmosphere dynamically changes with health status:

[For more information and the slides of this presentation, head over to]

Download The PDF