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Strata is One Year Old, and it’s Growing Up So Fast!

Strata Tips & Tools

We released Strata on October 12th of last year. Strata is an SFX library that delivers its sounds in multitrack format through a series of REAPER projects, providing unprecedented control over any aspect of those sounds. Strata was built with interactive audio needs in mind, which means we focused on creating sounds with enough variations (from 6 to 16 per sound) for in-game randomization while also ensuring sonic consistency between each of these sounds so the ensemble yields homogeneous results. If instead of using Strata, you’re collecting pre-rendered sounds from different libraries to cover all the necessary surfaces, movements, intensities, etc., then this is left to chance. 

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A portion of a Strata project showing a sound exploded into its layers (the track groups) and its random takes (the regions)

With any new product release, especially if it proposes a novel approach to an established way of doing things, it’s best to start by delivering an MVP, the infamous “Minimum Viable Product”, and then let the users tell you what works well and where to improve. It’s what we set out to do and you gave us a ton of feedback! Some of your suggestions have been addressed over the past year, and others will be addressed in the future. Here’s an overview of the work accomplished since the release last year and what will soon be available to you. 

What Went as Planned…and Beyond

The 37 Collections 

We had 12 collections available on day one and we promised to have 37 collections delivered over the course of the first year. With a cadence of two to three new collections per month, I’m glad to say that the release calendar has been running like a Swiss watch, thanks to our production partner BOOM Library’s stunning execution velocity, along with the team behind Strata at Audiokinetic. Kudos to you all! 

If you haven’t started using Strata, 37 collections might seem a bit abstract. Here are some details to put the content in perspective: 

  • 160,000 source files,
  • 47,000 sounds (a “sound” in Strata represents a region in REAPER containing multiple tracks),
  • 558 REAPER projects, 
  • 255 hours of pristine 96KHz at 24 bit (if you were to listen to each sound sequentially!). 

Not shallow…

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The 37 collections produced during the first year of Strata

ReaWwise REAPER Extension

Strata can be used in any context, ranging from linear movies to interactive media being developed with Unity, Unreal, or FMOD, for example. But, obviously, it also needs to work great with Wwise. For this, we created ReaWwise: a comprehensive REAPER extension that simplifies the export of sounds from REAPER into Wwise hierarchies of containers, whether simple or elaborate. With ReaWwise, you can define the import destination of your REAPER render in Wwise, along with the container type(s), object name, and property templates, all while previewing the organization results before transferring. You can even use the “Wildcard” system in REAPER to leverage an already existing naming standard! 

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An example of Wwise hierarchies being created from a  Strata Footstep REAPER project using the ReaWwise extension

The Strata Integrations Into Sound Library Managers

Discussions with our early adopters of Strata made us realize how important it was to offer a “native integration” with their favorite sound librarian software to streamline their workflow. Searching through Soundly, Soundminer, or Basehead for example, the typical workflow for a designer is to receive a series of audio files matching the criteria of their research, moving these sounds to their DAW, and then assembling them. With the audio files coming from Strata, though, what the designers want is to be able to open the REAPER project to which the audio file they found is attached. 

Our team wrote the necessary code, which is available on Github, to open associated REAPER projects from a Strata rendered audio file and we first implemented it in Wwise and in REAPER. With this working well, we contacted Soundly, Soundminer, and Basehead and asked them if they could implement the “Open associated Strata projects in REAPER” functionality in their product. Here’s the status on that:  

  • Soundly: The feature is now available with the latest version, 
  • Soundminer: The feature is implemented in version 6.1 (which was in beta at the time of writing this article),
  • Basehead: It will be available with the upcoming Basehead v2024 in early 2024. 

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Five integrations of Strata meant to speed up the editing workflow

Here’s an idea of how the “Open associated REAPER project” workflow looks for Soundminer users: 

And for Soundly users:

New Production Partners

One of the pillars of Strata is that it should include collections from many different SFX library producers. We started our journey with BOOM Library, and now that Strata’s production pipeline is well established, we’re ready to onboard new partners, each bringing its unique while complementary contribution to the whole.

Each partner will be featured as their collections are released throughout the coming year, so stay tuned by making sure you’re registered to receive our Strata Newsletters in your email subscription preferences.  

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Our five new production partners to add Strata collections starting as soon as January 2024

New Collections for 2024

We’re still working on the final planning, but we expect to release around 15 to 20 new collections over the course of 2024, among which you’ll find warfare, detailed rain, destruction, debris, combat groups, sorcery, zombies, drones, submersion, space ambiance, sci-fi sounds, human onomatopoeias, and more! 

New Subscription Models

One of the most discussed topics with in-house sound designers, contractors, students, schools, and video game developers has been the subscription model. We knew that our initial offering, a 3-year subscription, was a bit rigid, but we wanted feedback from users before introducing new subscription options to make sure we would address their needs. The following three new options will soon be available to suit those needs. 

The 1-Year Plan

Because of the novelty of Strata, the 3-year commitment was a bit long for some people. For this reason, we’re offering a 1-year subscription term. This way, you can embark on Strata and fully assess its workflows and immensity before committing to a longer subscription period (at a discount!). 

The Academic Plan

Well before the launch of Strata, we already had the intuition that it would be a formidable tool to teach sound design. Our discussions with students and teachers confirmed this idea that Strata lends itself very well to the classroom. The main concern was how to make it accessible for students as they typically have a much tighter budget than their professional counterparts.  

We will offer the academic plan at US$100 per year for the full library, which is, I believe, the most universally accessible option to all students in any country. Definitely, this is the subscription plan that I’m most proud of for its inclusivity. And it is to be noted that this model is not only for academic work, but is a student subscription that allows for commercial work as well.  

The Single Project Plan

We received requests for a subscription model that would be similar to the licensing of Wwise: on a per-project basis. The reality for many projects is that they receive their production budget once the development is greenlit and it’s much easier for sound designers to subscribe to Strata at the same time that they acquire their Wwise license. 

Through discussions and looking into our data, we established three subscription tiers that should match the requirements for the teams having sound designers working full-time on a project. 

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The new subscription options now offer tailored solutions to a broad range of use cases

To Sum Up this First Year 

This first year has been a great one! While executing on our goals of integrating Strata into other tools, adding new partners, offering new subscription options, and building new collections, we’ve also learned a lot about which areas we can continue improving to make Strata one of the main go-to tools in your sound design toolbox. 

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A recap of the work accomplished this year, and it’s only the beginning! 

Please, keep sharing your experience with us, and together, we will make Strata the most comprehensive sound design package for both its content and workflows. 

Try the free Strata samples!

Simon Ashby

Head of Product

Audiokinetic

Simon Ashby

Head of Product

Audiokinetic

Co-founder of Audiokinetic, Ashby is responsible for the product development of Wwise, now powering hundreds of major titles per year, and empowering thousands of users around the world from Indies to AAA teams. Prior to Audiokinetic, Ashby worked as a Senior Sound and Game Designer on several games. With his vast industry experience, Ashby is a frequent lecturer and panelist. His main theme is often on, the role of sound production and integration within the overall experience of video games. In 2011, Ashby was honoured with the inaugural Canadian Game Development Talent Award as the "Audio Professional of the Year".

 @sashby21

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