Global Gaming Expo 2016 (G2E) is one of North America's largest casino gaming events held in Las Vegas, Nevada. The main focus of this show is to demonstrate new creations in the gambling world while connecting industry professionals. This year was considered one of the most successful G2E shows to date as there are an increasing number of developers showing innovative ideas for the future of gambling.
Game Sound Planet designers were extremely happy to attend G2E 2016 and experience all the newest slot game technologies to come this year. We were very impressed to see that game developers are raising the bar in the quality of their games.
Some of the highlights included the appearance of Tim McGraw to promote his game Tim McGraw at the Aristocrat booth. The appearance of the Soup Nazi, the character played by Larry Thomas, to promote the Jerry Seinfeld game at the SG Interactive display. Also, Voice Season 5 winner Tessanne Chin attended to promote the new The Voice Video Slots with International Game Technoloy (IGT).
Small to mid-size gaming companies may not have the biggest titles but nonetheless, they are keeping up with the big players such as Bally, IGT and Williams in terms of their game design. The graphics, the math, the functions and the experience are demonstrated on the highest level possible,yet we were slightly disappointed to see that audio isn’t always given the same importance in the development stages.
Our sound designer’s had played well over 50 slot games at this year's G2E and were definitely able to correlate great experience and high quality sound. Some developers demonstrated exceptional audio and after chatting (speaking?) with their Creative Directors it was easy to tell that they really emphasized the importance of sound in their production. After all, sound does affect us subconsciously. Seems like the classic “Ding Ding Ding” bell loops are a thing-of-the-past and sound designers really need to focus on the modern high end audio design in slot games in order to compete.
It is evident that about 50% of the slot games played at G2E this year had lacked musical creativity, professional mix and implementation. The approach to sound seemed slightly outdated and boring. It’s what we call the “computer programmers approach to sound” simply because the audio assets were not implemented by audio professionals. As we advise all our clients - great sound assets without prioritization and a polished mix may not result in a smooth sounding game. Subconsciously the player may get discouraged. Sure it may still sound "good enough" to most people, however today sounding "good enough" is no longer good enough.
SOLUTION ( www.gamesoundplanet.com )
Whenever our team of sound designers completes the creation stage, our experienced sound engineers go through an extensive mixing process to ensure every sound occupies its own sonic space and is able to function with the rest of the audio assets clearly. Individually developed implementation techniques are used to create a more complex choreography of sounds to result in a more elaborate and creative sounding game. It is important to understand psychoacoustics when creating games played for a long period of time, such as slots. Psychoacoustics is a branch of psychology focusing on physiological effects of sound. A repetitive game like slots has to feel inviting and fun every time you play it, therefore certain “annoying" frequency ranges have to be eliminated and certain “exciting” ones have to be focused on.
We encourage all developers to consider having an Audio Programmer to rely on his ear to control the final quality output just like a mastering engineer does to a song before any major release. A professional audio person can always assess the current mix and suggest for improvement. Knowing what type of mix adjustments to make after initial implementation can ensure that extra 5%-10% of professional sound that the bigger companies have.
After all, in big blockbuster movies - sound is considered to be 50% of the experience, the other 50% is visuals. Maybe its time to put in 50% of the importance to sound in games.
Contact us at Game Sound Planet for a free consultation of how we can transform your games to have the latest highest quality of audio for your products.
Founder, Audio Director
T: (416) 890-1885