Module title: Interactive Audio

SCQF level: 09:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: IMD09136
Module leader: John McGowan
School School of Computing
Subject area group: Creative and Social Informatics


2019/0, Trimester 1, FACE-TO-FACE, Edinburgh Napier University
Occurrence: 001
Primary mode of delivery: FACE-TO-FACE
Location of delivery: MERCHISTON
Partner: Edinburgh Napier University
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: John McGowan
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
The lectures will provide the theoretical and technical background required, to evaluate the use of interactive audio in the context of video games. Furthermore, to acquire skills on the methods and technologies used in the industry (contributing to LO 1-5). The tutorials will address the first and fifth learning outcomes by review key research papers relevant to each week's topic. Additionally, tutorials will provide a forum where students discuss their own coursework and consider how the research papers discussed could be used to inform their approach. The practical sessions aim to help students acquire technical skills by progressively developing an interactive audio for a given video game (LO 1- 4).

Formative Assessment:
Formative assessment will be addressed by weekly tutorials, where students will give and receive feedback about their progress, discuss and reflect on research issues and demonstrate their coursework.

Summative Assessment:
Summative assessment will be provided by the interactive sound design project, which requires the use of professional methodologies and the production of interim artefacts (i.e. Audio assets, technical notes and video demonstration).

Student Activity (Notional Equivalent Study Hours (NESH))
Mode of activityLearning & Teaching ActivityNESH (Study Hours)
Face To Face Lecture 24
Face To Face Practical classes and workshops 24
Face To Face Guided independent study 152
Total Study Hours200
Expected Total Study Hours for Module200

Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Project - Written 100 1,2,3,4,5 13 HOURS= 152, WORDS= 0
Component 1 subtotal: 100
Component 2 subtotal: 0
Module subtotal: 100

Description of module content:

History of interactive audio in computer games and the state of the art.

The effects of sound in the context of video games: perceptual, cognitive and emotional.

Management and editing of audio assets: naming, metadata, batch processing, formatting for different platforms.

Real-time control of audio parameters: procedural audio, events, sound emitters, material properties, dynamic dialogue, interactive music.

Mixing strategies: horizontal and vertical mix, dynamic range, loudness prioritisation, snapshots, sidechain compression.
Spatialisation: 2D and 3D panning, attenuation parameters, occlusion, obstruction and exclusion.

Audio Implementation: attaching audio to actors, animations, locations and objects. Control audio event parameters based on in-game variables appropriate for adaptive audio.

Programming: fundamentals of object oriented programming, data types, variables, arrays, logical/ arithmetic operators, mathematical expressions, control flow.

Work-flow and resource optimisation: optimisation based on computation resources and platform, testing.

Learning Outcomes for module:

Upon completion of this module you will be able to
LO1: Select a strategy for integrating different aural elements in the game context (e.g. sound effects, ambient sound, music and dialogues) for different game platforms
LO2: Implement non-repetitive design strategies including sound layering, randomisation of sound parameters and procedural audio to create evolving soundscapes and sound effects.
LO3: Create an interactive audio mix for computer games considering both aesthetic and functional aspects.
LO4: Apply effective methods for implementing interactive audio assets in a game context.
LO5: Document and evaluate the quality of the interactive sound assets created for a specific gaming context.

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:
Interactive Audio IMD09136