Interactive Futures - 2007

Interactive Futures 2007 ( November 15 - 17 ) Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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Leonard J. Paul

Video Game Audio Prototyping with Half-Life 2

The seventh generation of home video game consoles hold great promise over the previous generation for new interactive real-time audio techniques to provide new levels of audio immersion for the player. With this additional complexity comes the difficulty of developing audio behaviours that will best support the artistic goals of the game sound designer. Prototyping allows the game sound designer to use a set of tools to rapidly experiment with interactive audio generation without the involvement of a game audio coder. This rapid process of real-time audio experimentation is necessary to suit the restrictive bounds of most game development schedules and budgets. This paper investigates the tools readily available to anyone working in game audio who wishes to challenge the capabilities of the current video game consoles.

This paper presentation will include demonstrations of how the author has utilized the Half-Life 2 Source engine and Open Sound Control (OSC) to communicate real-time sound event calls to a Pure Data (PD) patch running a separate sound driver. As the game is played, events are sent to the PD patch which triggers the sound across a network. The advantage of this approach is that the PD sound driver can be have both the sample data updated in real-time as well as the sound behaviours which allows for the rapid audio prototyping necessary for the audio development of current video game projects. This work is based on previous research presented in a paper at Portalegre, Portugal in 2006 as well as a presentation given in San Francisco, USA at the 2007 Game Developer’s Conference (GDC). This presentation goes into additional detail of how to add the OSC layer to the Source engine and the practical benefits of utilizing a rapid audio prototyping system with interactive screen-based media.

Gamasutra Article describing the core of the PD sound driver:

Portalegre Invited paper outlining the use of audio prototyping for games:

GDC 2007 presentation utilizing this prototyping system with Granular Synthesis:


Leonard Paul attained his Honours degree in Computer Science at Simon Fraser University in BC, Canada with an Extended Minor in Electroacoustics. He has been teaching video game audio at the Vancouver Film School for over two years and has a twelve year history in music, sound effects and coding for video games.

He has spoken multiple times at the Game Developer’s Conference as well as contributing articles to on the topic of game audio. For DiGRA 2005, Paul was invited as a senior scholar in game audio to mentor graduate students in with other leading game scholars such as Henry Jenkins and Jim Gee. Most recently, in 2007, he was the composer for Death Jr. 2: Science Fair of Doom (NDS, Konami) as well as being the audio director for Sonic Rivals 2 (PSP, Sega).

In film, he was the composer for the highly successful Canadian documentary The Corporation. As Freaky DNA, he has performed live electronic music in Vancouver, Toronto, Banff, Japan, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany and the UK.


Video Game Audio:
Lotus Audio:

Selected Media

Download Bodies in Play (Banff, 2005 )


Monster Funk from The Corporation soundtrack


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