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Feature: 'Weapons Sound Effects Recording And Design'

For today's technical Gamasutra feature, noted Hollywood and video game sound designer Charles Maynes (Call of Duty 3, BLACK, Spider-Man 2) reveals his personal techniques for
For today's technical Gamasutra feature, noted Hollywood and video game sound designer Charles Maynes (Call of Duty 3, BLACK, Spider-Man 2) reveals his personal techniques for properly recording and editing weaponry audio. In his intro, Maynes says not only is proper recording a benefit for players, but can lend the audio team itself more direct and practical experience that they otherwise would not get: "In the case of the action/adventure/war game, we are presented with some interesting quandaries. First, most playing these games have no direct reference to what battle sounds like; they only have the reference of what they have seen in film, television or other games. They are relying on us professionals to create a believable and exciting world for their entertainment (or in some cases, training). We are also contending with the general lack of experience, in these sorts of venues, of the people who are constructing the presentation. So, in effect it can be a sort of crazy game of “telephone” in communicating these ideas. In effect it is as if someone was trying to learn surgery by reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. This is not a bad thing, but if a new and more realistic expression of the battle experience is desired, this is not an easy way to get there. As I mentioned earlier, I specialize in military subjects, and have henceforth been involved in recording and designing these sorts of sounds for a number of different films and games. I try to take a holistic approach to the process; I have always made it a point for the audio team to be able to experience firing the weapons which were being recorded so that they will have a practical reference to how these actually feel and emotionally register in real life, so they can have a point of reference to bring this to the end user - the game player." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject with more on proper equipment, mic set up, and dynamic treatments of weapon audio (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).

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