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Feature: 'Establishing an Aesthetic in Next Generation Sound Design'

With video game technology at the point where aural artists no longer have to limit themselves creatively, is there a hidden aesthetic in minimalism? Game industry veterans Rob Bridgett and Leonard Paul think so, and explain their techniques in this exclu
With video game technology at the point where aural artists no longer have to limit themselves creatively, is there a hidden aesthetic in minimalism? Game industry veterans Rob Bridgett of Radical Entertainment and Leonard Paul of the Vancouver Film School think so, and explain their techniques in this Gamasutra feature. The authors note in their introduction: "The almost infinite number of tracks we now have has given rise to a particularly digital problem. In terms of current trends in music, TV, film, videogames and radio, sound is becoming more and more maximised, compressed, limited and overloaded. As hundreds of tracks are being layered, all the sounds are competing for our attention in a mix. There does come a point of diminishing sonic returns, where the more you add the more you just end up with the sonic equivalent of a ‘grey goo’. This is where every frequency is filled and there is no more room to add anything without taking something else away." They then suggest, setting up the core issue to be discussed in their article: "Given that sound designers and composers now have so much more freedom to overproduce and over-implement sound for videogames, methods of limitation will become necessary in order to differentiate the sounds of one game from another. How can we begin to make better sound in this seemingly limitless age by using less? It begins with realising that it is how we approach technical limitations as composers or sound designers that forms the very core of our art." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject for more, including plenty of suggestions for possible solutions to this intriguing issue (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).

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