Procedural audio refers to the real-time generation of sounds that can adapt to changing input parameters. In its pure form, no recorded samples are stored, sounds are generated from ‘scratch’. This has huge benefits for game audio and VR, since very little memory is required, and sound generation can be controlled by the game or virtual environment.
Nemisindo (the Zulu word for ‘sound effects’) is a spin-out company from our research group, offering sound design services based around procedural audio technology. Previously, we blogged about Nemisindo’s first procedural audio plugin for the Unreal game engine, the Action Pack. Since then we have released an adaptive footsteps plugin for Unreal too. But today I’ll give you more detail on the Action Pack, now available for both Unreal and Unity.
Here’s a video all about the Action Pack for Unity;
The Action Pack contains 11 different procedural audio models, all based atleast in part from research in this group and within Nemisindo. Here’s the list, with links to online demonstrators of each sound model;
- Explosion – a wide ranging sound model, capable of generating sounds from fireworks to thuds to grenades to bombs and more
- Fire – the sound of a fire is a well-known sound texture, necessary for the ambience of many scenes. To get it right, we offer control of all the key characteristics
- Gunshot – capturing characteristics of all the elements of a gunshot; the shell, the gassing, the bullet casing
- Rifle – aimed at precise models of particular rifle designs, like the Winchester or Beretta
- Helicopter – generates the sounds of a helicopter (engine, blades…), for arbitrary speeds, listener positions and more
- Propeller – based on our research into aeroacoustics, this models the sound of aircraft propellers, from modern small drones to the World War 2 bomber the Flying Fortress
- Jet – a powerful jet engine, with subtle control over things like thrust and turbine whine
- Rocket – capturing the intense, powerful sound of a rocket launch
- Alarm – based on the same principles for the design of car alarms, fire alarms, motion sensors…
- Alert – red alert, background emergency sounds and more
- Siren – did you know that police and ambulance sirens have different sounds in different states and countries,, with different settings for different situations? This sound model matches the range of siren sounds in at least five countries.
The biggest benefit of using these plug-ins, in my opinion, is how easy the sound design becomes. What would have been hours or even days of sourcing sound samples, processing them, loading them and assigning them to game events, now becomes just minutes to link plug-in parameters to game events.