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Chapter 4. Design

Chapter 4. Design

“Design Rules All.” This has been declared upon the founding of more than one game development house. Over the years, game design has increased in complexity by such an order of magnitude that many seasoned game designers at the larger publishers have left to start smaller development teams. These designers can certainly handle larger projects, but they find simplicity in game design increasingly appealing given the trend toward complexity.

Game audio has been increasing in complexity as well. For example, a physics system, which allows objects to make the correct sounds when they strike or scrape different surfaces, is transparent to the average player, but the technology needed to make that engine work is on the cutting edge of game audio and requires large chunks of development time and resources. Ion Storm's Deus Ex: Invisible War is one of the first titles to use a fully featured physics sound system (Figure 4.1).

Figure 4.1. Games such as Ion Storm's Deus Ex: Invisible War utilize physics system technology that is transparent to the player but difficult for audio developers to achieve.


In fact, audio has come such a long way that it's influencing the way games are designed rather than the other way around. Exemplifying this trend are Sony's Parappa the Rapper and Sega's Rez, in which music is the most influential part of the game's design.

In this chapter, I explore how design influences audio and vice versa. I begin by discussing one of the most exciting topics in the linking of audio design and game design: adaptive audio. Many people consider this area of game design too arcane to bother with, when in fact it has been in use for many years and is at the heart of what makes game audio unique.

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