1st Edition

Leading with Sound Proactive Sound Practices in Video Game Development

By Rob Bridgett Copyright 2021
    234 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Focal Press

    234 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Focal Press

    Leading with Sound is the must-have companion guide to working on video game projects. Focused on the creative, collaborative, philosophical and organizational skills behind game sound and eschewing the technical, this book celebrates the subjects most essential to leading with sound in video game development at any level. Refuting the traditional optics of sound as a service in favour of sound as a pro-active visionary department, , this book examines each of the four food-groups of dialogue, sound design, music and mix, not through the usual technical and production lenses of ‘how’ and ‘when’, but the essential lens of ‘why’ that enables leadership with sound.

    Leading with Sound is essential reading for aspiring sound designers, inside and outside of the classroom, as well as experienced professionals in the game industry.

    Part One: Ports of Entry

    01 What is this Book About?

    02 The Big Four: Understanding the Four Food-groups of Audio (and how they inter-relate)

    03 What Drives the Mix of Your Game.

    04 Taking a Psychological Approach to Sound Categorization

    05 What is a Game Developer?

    06 What is Game Audio?

    07 What You May be Missing: Vision to Drive Your Tools and Pipelines

    08 Communication Essentials: Managing Expectations of Quality (The ‘L’ Scale)

    09 Developing Early Audio Visions

    Part Two: Sound Design

    10 Why do we Need Sounds?

    11 Working with Sound.

    12 Higher Level is Better.

    13 What is Causing these Sounds and Where are they Located?

    14 Ambiguity and Clarity.

    15 Designing for Three Audiences. (Player, Spectator, Creator)

    16 Thinking Horizontally, Vertically, and Diagonally about Asset Design.

    17 Designing a Moment: Temporality in Interactive Sound Design.

    18 Leading with Sound: Spectacle and Immersion.

    Part Three: Music

    19 Why do we Need Music?

    20 Music as Creative Crutches: Reaching for Music Too Soon & Too Late.

    21 Defining the Sound: Towards an Iconic Music Design

    22 The Shape of Emotion: We Can’t Feel Emotion All the Time.

    23 Diegetic, Non-Diegetic and Trans-Diegetic Musical Spaces.
    24 Non-Diegetic Space in Recorded Music

    25 Leading with Music: Music as Spectacle Throughout Production and Post-Release

    Part Four: Voice

    26 Why do we Need Voice?

    27 Early Dialogue Development

    28 The Sound of Voice: Dialects, Culture and Meaning

    29 Casting Philosophies (Auditions, Recording, Iteration)

    30 Let’s do it Again

    31 Rethinking Dialogue Production: Infinite Alternatives

    32 Leading with Voice: Leveraging the Spectacle of Performance

    Part Five: Mix

    33 Why do we Need to Mix?

    34 Mix Essentials

    35 Philosophy of the Mix: Narrative Dynamics (Pushing, Pulling, Shaping)

    36 Some Defining Terminology and Features of Non-Linear Mixing

    37 Mix Consistency

    38 Building the Mix

    39 Planning and Surviving the Major Milestone and Final Mixes.

    40 Leading with the Mix: The First and Last Thing You Think About.

    Part Six: Fade Out

    41 The Importance of a Holistic (Four-Food-group) Vision

    42 Studio Culture: A Theory of Everything

    43 Game Audio Studio Spaces: Architectural Problems in Video Game Sound.

    44 Games are for Everyone: Accessibility, Options and Customization in Audio for Gamers.

    45 Finding Our Place, Between Vision and Service.


    Rob Bridgett is a British-Canadian Audio Director based in Montreal. In 1993 Rob attended Derby University to study cinema and media, and was one of the first to graduate from the ‘Sound Design for the Moving Image’ Master’s degree programme at Bournemouth University in 1999. Having worked as an audio director in the games industry since 2001, Bridgett has become a committed advocate for ‘leading with sound’ and 'sound as design’.