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Previewing GDC 2009: Inside The Audio Track

[In the first of a series picking out the most notable Game Developers Conference 2009 lectures and reprinted here, sister website Gamasutra examines the Audio Track, which includes talks from the sonic creators behind LittleBigPlanet, Fable II, and the Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy series.]
Game Developers Conference 2009 (organized by Gamasutra parent company Think Services) is due to take place in San Francisco's Moscone Center from March 23 to 27, 2009.
With over 230 sessions already confirmed for GDC 2009, we'll be taking a track by track look at the conference's line-up over the next few weeks.
First up is GDC's audio track, which "looks at the game development process from the standpoint of developing dynamic video game sound, and offers direction for developers who wish to understand complex sound composition strategies."
Notable highlights thus far announced for this track, which takes place on the main Wednesday to Friday of GDC (March 25-27), are as follows:
- Media Molecule's Kenneth Young will present 'User Generated Content - LittleBigPlanet's Audio Approach', highlighting the unique challenges of the PS3's signature holiday 2008 title, and focusing on "the thinking and methodology that lie behind its use of sound and music in the challenging landscape that is user-generated interactive entertainment."

- In 'The Audio of Fable 2: Large Scale Collaboration for Next-Gen Games', Microsoft Game Studios' Kristofor Mellroth will discuss the creation of the audio for Lionhead's latest game, explaining how there were "teams in Guildford, London, Redmond, Tokyo, Dublin, and Los Angeles collaborating on the audio design", and discussing how developers can "leverage their publisher's capabilities to help them without losing control of the vision."
- Norihiko Hibino is the key composer supporting Harry Gregson-Williams, and behind much of the score for Metal Gear Solid 2, 3 and 4. In 'Metal Gear Solid Series Audio Postmortem', he'll focus on Metal Gear Solid 4's audio production, and the "specific challenges that were presented by the large size of the audio team and the 5.1 surround sound requirements."
- In 'Far Cry 2: Creativity and the Musical Challenge', Marc Canham will discuss the creation of the score for Ubisoft Montreal's signature 2008 title, explaining how, with a "string sextet recorded at Abbey Road, a legendary vocalist, live percussion and electronica we embarked on this challenging interactive soundtrack."
- Seminal Japanese composer Hitoshi Sakimoto is best known for his groundbreaking scores for Vagrant Story, Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy XII, and he'll be presenting 'Experiences and Rare Insights into the Video Game Music Industry', in which he'll talk about the past and present state of video game music - and just where we're going - from a Japanese perspective.
- In his lecture 'How High Dynamic Range Audio Makes Battlefield: Bad Company Go Boom', EA DICE's Anders Clerwall will discuss how "real-world sound level approximations and an adjustable dynamic range transformed the usually tedious and time-consuming act of mixing the game into an enjoyable play-through."
- Sony's Ken Felton and Slant Six's Paul Martin will speak on 'Audio Adventures on the PS3 - SOCOM Confrontation - Online Audio for 32 Players', particularly referencing first/third-party collaboration and the successes and challenges in creating audio for a 32-player multiplayer-only online game.
In addition, the full Audio Track line-up to date includes many more notable lectures and roundtables, including discussions on voice acting, runtime audio DSP, music copyrights, recording dialog, audio testing, and mixing techniques.


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