Audio and Sound Research

GTA V Research

The Lead Audio Programmer for GTA V is Alastair MacGregor. He was the leading audio programmer for the sound effects and the ambient sound in GTA. An example is the environmental sounds, which involved distance effects, occlusion, reflections and reverberations. This helped made the players surroundings sound as realistic as possible while creating a calm or energetic feeling while playing the game. Another example is the recording of the engines while in motion on a stand still. He mostly used an Omni mic as it gave the audio programmers high quality and realistic sound effects with little background noise.

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The link of this video is In this video is shows all the sound tracks in GTA, for example while the player is in a mission. Depending on the situation, the pace of the sound track could be fast which could represent something as being energetic or chaotic, for example a police chase. In contrast, if the pace of the sound track is slow and steady, it could represent something as being calm or relaxed.

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The link of this video is In this part of the video there is a constant loop of the waves crashing against the rocks which gives the audience the main feeling of being out at sea. In addition there are the sounds of sea gulls and crows chirping in the distance to add to the realism of the situation. The ambient sound even goes as far as adding the sound effect of a bug flying around the characters ear to give it a certain feeling to its environment.

GTA Mission time soundThe link of the video is When there is a mission there are different sounds in the background depending on the situation. In this part of the video they are trying to collect as much jewellery as possible in a short amount of time. This creates tension because if they do not get the jewellery in time the police will come and the mission will fail. The pace of the ambienct sound is at the same rate as a clock as the main beat comes in every second which conveys that its a race againts time.

GTA Mission biking sound.However, later on in the mission after they have collected the jewellery, they get chased by the cops and there is no time limit for this part so the ambient sound changes. It becomes more fast pace and up beat as they are driving through the streets at a high speed on bikes. This creates an energetic mood for the player while trying to escape from the cops. In contrast, if the pace ambient sound was slower and more dramatic, the player would not feel as energetic or excited while trying to escape from the cops, this is why they chose this type of ambient sound instead of a different one.

GTA Mission authorizationThe link of this video is In this part of this mission, they are pretending to be the people who deliver the gold but they need authorization to be able to get iniside the building to collect the gold. This has the pace of the ambient sound being slow with the same few beats looping to create tension, especially as the last character to be checked takes a little while to be passed through which creates more tension in the game and for the player. However, if the ambient sound was more up beat and lively, it would not give the same effect on the player as it would seem like it would of been a normal situation for them to get pass. This is why in this part of the mission they chose this ambient sound track instead of a different one to give a certain effect.

GTA Mission PlaneThe link to this video is Through this part of the mission, the player is cruising above the sea shore on a plane to get to its destination. This means that the ambient sound would be very soothing and calm as there is no action involved at the moment. The ambient sound has a repetitive and steady beat flowing through the journey which would make the player feel very relaxed and calm with the smooth muffle sound of the plane. The creators of this mission would not have wanted a fast pace and loud ambient sound as there is no action in this part so they wouldnt of wanted their audience to feel hyped and energetic.

SOMA Research

SOMA Poster

SOMA is a science fiction horror game takes place on PATHOS-II, an underwater remote research facility with machinery that begin to act and look like humans.

As the game is a horror game, the noises and sounds would be quite dark and deep with loud noises that pop in every now and then to suprise the player. As the sounds in this game are quite slow and deep, it creates tension for the players as they dont know what can happen next. A lot of the sounds they recorded and created them selves. An exampel of this is the video below.

This is quite a deep and scary piece of audio as the water would make the player feel like they’re drowning or being plunged into the dark waters inside the game. Eventhough its a short recording, a lot can be done with it, such as adding certain effects to make it echo and slow it down to give it a deeper feel to it.

This video below shows and tells us about how the creators of SOMA created the sounds and what devices were used to create it. The sounds are very different to normal sounds as the game is based in the future which means more unusual and high pitch sounds.


The video below demonstrates how the sound changes as certain creatures get near and start to chase you. As the sound track has the same tempo as a heart beat or faster, it creates tension for the player and makes them want to escape from the creatures as the music is helping give the image that they will attack and player if the player does not run away in time.

In conclusion, sound in general is very important to the way a game is played as it changes the mood of the game and represents what is happening in the game or what is going to happen. It also makes the experience a lot more pleasing for the player and does not make it as boring as there might be very little sound in the game itself.


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