ABOUT THE GAME AUDIO INSTITUTE

We started the Game Audio Institute based on our experience in the classroom over the last ten years, where we have been developing curriculum and teaching both graduate and undergraduate courses in game audio. Interactive media is very different from linear media like film and TV. The current state of game audio education often glosses over this point completely. Can you image a film scoring class where there was no discussion of Digital Audio Workstations? Game audio students and professionals alike, must understand what’s under the hood of a game engine. They must be able to speak the language of game design and implementation. They don’t have to be programmers, but they must have a general understanding of how games work.

Our goal is to educate a new generation of game audio professionals who are able to understand, and in some cases, integrate their own designs into actual game levels. Imagine the power of this proposition. The audio director at a game or interactive media company that is handed two demo reels, one showing off someone’s work inside a game in real time, the other a linear QuickTime or Youtube movie. Which demo do you think would better demonstrate that the prospective candidate understands game sound?

Unfortunately, all too often these days, people are missing out on developing a solid foundation in interactive design. Students are placed in front of Digital Audio Workstations such as Pro-Tools or Logic, or even a piece of audio middleware such as FMOD or WWise and then asked to simply imagine what things would sound like in a game.

The GAI approach is fundamentally different.  We want composers, sound designers, producers and audio professionals of all kinds to be familiar and comfortable with the very unique workflow associated with sound for games and interactive environments.

Games have grown in popularity. Gamification continues to permeate our everyday lives. Year after year, we continue to meet teachers from around the country and the globe that have been tasked with creating game audio programs in their schools. Many of these wonderful folks have tons of linear sound experience and even DAW skills galore, but they lack a fundamental understanding of interactive design. Our hope is that the Game Audio Institute can serve as a one stop shop and turnkey solution. Together, we can all help to raise the bar and educate a new generation of teachers and students who understand the unique challenges of working on games and interactive media!

 

 

Meet the Teachers

Steve Horowitz is a creator of odd but highly accessible sounds and a diverse and prolific musician. Perhaps best known as a composer and producer for his original soundtrack to the Academy Award-nominated film “Super Size Me.”, Steve is also a noted expert in the field of sound for games. Since 1991, he has literally worked on hundreds of titles, including a ten year run at Nickelodeon Digital, where he had the privilege of working on projects that garnered both Webby and Broadcast Design awards. Horowitz also has a Grammy Award in recognition of his engineering work on the multi-artist release, “True Life Blues: The Songs of Bill Monroe [Sugar Hill].” Best Bluegrass Album” (1996).

Scott Looney is a passionate artist, soundsmith, educator, and curriculum developer who has been helping students understand the basic concepts and practices behind the creation of content for interactive media and games for over fifteen years. He pioneered interactive online audio courses for the Academy Of Art University, and has also taught at Ex’pression College, Cogswell College, Pyramind Training, UC SantaCruz, City College SF, and SF State University. He has created compelling sounds for audiences, game developers and ad agencies alike across a broad spectrum of genres and styles, from contemporary music to experimental noise. In addition to his work in game audio and education, he is currently researching procedural and generative sound applications in games, and mastering the art of code.

 

ABOUT THE GAI METHOD

You can get a first hand view of our teaching method in action by checking out our on-line CANVAS course or book-The Essential Guide to Game Audio The Theory and Practice of Sound for Games

THEORY

All knowledge starts with a conceptual theory of some kind. We take the most basic concepts at the heart of game audio and we find ways to show the concepts a number of times and in a variety of ways—via text, via image and by video tutorials.

COMPREHENSION

The logical application of theory is benefitted by different assessment methods that aid the learning process. Our Lesson plans, Rubrics and step by step guides, help to reinforce the terminology and concepts being taught.

INTERACTION

In order to learn about what is essentially a non-linear and experiential medium, you really need to encounter the concept firsthand within the gaming environment. It does you no favors to play examples of game music or sound, and just imagine what it will be like in the game. Instead we immerse you in a game-like setting that illustrates the concepts in a more engaging and fun way!

Our Advisory Committee

George Peterson

Professor / Owner of Geo Productions LLC.

Bio:
Professor at multiple universities instructing various Audio Production classes including: Sound Design for Film, Pro Tools Editing, Pro Tools Mixing, Pro Tools Certifications, Beginning & Intermediate Sound Recording, Game Audio, & Audio Production. Experienced in audio post-production for film, games, television, and audio production for music.

Worked on over 200 films at Skywalker Sound including:  Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, The Incredibles, The Polar Express, Twisted, Mystic River, Minority 

Report, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Hart’s War, Panic Room, Bandits, & Monsters, Inc. Worked on many Production Teams that have either won multiple Academy Awards for Sound Editing or were nominated.

Kate Kelly (Kate Barr Kelly)

Sound Designer & Dialogue Editor – DoubleFine Games (Psychonauts 2)

Bio:

After earning a BA of Theater Arts at UC Santa Cruz, Kate continued her education at City College of San Francisco focusing on digital media editing and sound design. In 2014 she began freelancing as a sound designer and received her first game sound design credit in 2016. Most recently Kate has worked with Double Fine Productions as a dialogue editor and sound designer on Psychonauts 2 and with Jackbox Games on Jackbox Party Pack 5. Her favorite projects to work on are games that have a strong narrative and focus on storytelling.

 

 

Brennan Anderson

Audio Designer III at Riot Games

Bio:

Brennan is a composer and technical sound designer with a passion for effective storytelling through audio. Originally from Austin, Texas, he was surrounded by music and creativity his entire life and quickly worked his way into a career in game audio. Brennan enjoys video games because they are a great medium to tell stories, make social commentaries, and affect perceptions of various aspects of life, something which he’s drawn to furthering through the artistic implementation of audio.

 

 

Brendan Wolf

Emmy & Golden Reel award winning Sound Designer for Games & Immersive Media

Bio:

Brendan is an Emmy and MPSE Golden Reel award-winning Sound Designer for games and immersive media known for his work as Audio Implementer and Sound Editor on the interactive VR animated short, Baba Yaga (2021). Since earning his MFA from Academy of Art University in San Francisco in 2018, he has worked on behalf of Pollen Music Group as an onboarded Audio Engineer at Meta’s Menlo Park campus assisting the Portal R&D Tech Engineering team with Audio UX Prototyping and most recently with Baobab Studios handling all the audio implementation for two shipped VR titles: Invasion: Anniversary Edition, and Baba Yaga. Recently, he has had the privilege to speak at GameSoundCon at SIGGRAPH and loves to share his experiences and knowledge with fellow game audio colleagues as a mentor to the community. Brendan currently lives in Walnut Creek, CA with his incredibly supportive wife and in his spare time enjoys hiking, developing personal indie games, and composing jazz-infused synth pieces that make compound time signatures sound seamless