You do the moves, I make the beat
Good news for games and audio enthusiasts: with our April course start we launched our new course Interactive Audio Engineer. The complementary module Interactive Audio Designer will first start in October 2021. Briefly summarized, the courses are about audio productions and implementations for games and interactive media. In collaboration with Fanta 4 producer and sound technician Mitch Dörfler blood, sweat and tears went into the development of these modules. Now course participants are finally able to reap the fruits of this labor. Developer and module-maestro Mitch explains the process in an interview, from the initial idea to why Interactive Audio might be the future of sound.
Developing courses is like playing chess
For the development of new courses, we only get true professionals on board. As experienced producer, mixer and sound designer Mitch was the perfect choice: "I have worked in this field before and really polished my knowledge for the course development". This was worth the effort: the results are two new modules for the music and sound branch. Combined with diverse sound modules, these two even make up a whole new diploma. To put it in Mitchs words:
"Now we have two more really awesome modules"
Creating a course from scratch - that sounds pretty difficult. Mitch confirms: "Developing a course is different from working with the topic yourself. You have to arrange all the topics and create a logical structure. Developing courses is like playing chess", he laughs.
The first couple of courses will be taught by Mitch himself, the modules are his "baby": "Direct feedback about the concept is really important to me". Now one question remains: What exactly is Interactive Audio?
Photo: © Mitch Dörfler
What came first, the sound or the action? The chicken or the egg?
First of all, it is really important to distinguish between linear media (films, music tracks, etc.), in which the process is clearly defined as soon as the play button is pressed; and nonlinear media, in which this predetermined process is nonexistent. This could refer to computer games, virtual realities, etc. What discerns the area of Interactive Audio from "common" audio production? The keyword is interactive; the topic goes beyond simple media consumption. Simply said, this means that music, sound effects and noises in a medium are created during the use of the medium. They are almost completely unpredictable before.
As sound designer for interactive media you don´t know which decisions the user will make when using the medium. The challenge: These decisions exactly are crucial for the sound, which has to exist already so that the user can make certain decisions. How do you solve this chicken/egg problem? Mitch explains: "You have to create entire audio systems and sound environments, which automatically adapt to the action. For this, many possibilities have to be considered".
Audio environments - ready for action
When it comes to audio environments, one thing is clear: the more interaction, the more complex the task. According to Mitch computer games are one of the most complex environments. This is why sound designers mostly work with prepared audio elements (weather, dialogues, music, etc.) rather than with complete soundtracks. Just like with common audio production the music has to fit the displayed emotions and actions. The sound has to come from the right direction, have the right volume, adapt, etc. Without exceeding the limits here - the topic is really dynamic and diverse. For everyone who loves challenges, this could be the perfect study.
Sure, sounds nice. But why Interactive Audio?
With the development of the two courses we take an important step; now is the time in which this topic finds its way on many curricula. The concept itself is not entirely new though (think about live sound design in theaters, which Mitch also has done before), but it grew rapidly in the past years. One reason for this is the swift development of technology, which is in favor of feasibility of the topic. The tech branch is characterized through immense movement and change, which is why Mitch sees huge potential for the future of interactive sound design:
„It will become natural to actively shape and interact with the media we are consuming"
The time of just hitting the "play" button and taking it all in will be over. The topic interactive auio is constantly growing and moving. In some fields it can´t be missed: "Audio is a huge part of many media, which is why we have to prepare and adapt".
As growing new area in many media, the field of Interactive Audio creates new jobs. As an interactive audio designer you could work with game developers, directors for interactive media and many different production companies in the media industry. You are looking for a challenge? You want to start as a sound designer or expand your knowledge? Get all relevant information about our new courses here.