It's this time of year again where thousands of industry professionals from around the world meet at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco to exchange ideas towards shaping the future of our industry. Producers, programmers, composers, music designers, sound designers, game designers, artists, teachers and students, look forward to sharing and inspiring, learning and getting inspired, and networking while showcasing their recent achievements or dreaming up their next projects.
Over the years, we've witnessed the game audio community expand and flourish. While you may take our word for it, or perhaps sense this vibe from your own experience, we decided to look at our how our Wwise community has grown, to express the prosperity of our industry and the diffusion of game audio development globally. Here's a fun GIF representing how our community of Wwise users has grown... you are beautiful.
Wwise Wworld Wwide
This year will mark our 15th year at GDC, and we're looking forward to meeting all our friends and making new ones, and sharing all that's new and upcoming with Wwise and beyond! From new spatial audio developments and other upcoming Wwise 2019.1 features, to Audiokinetic's new granular synthesizer plug-in Grain, the Wwise-301 Certification covering the Wwise Unity Integration, and various new community programs for you to leverage, all our efforts are towards empowering the interactive audio community.
Below, a sneak preview of some highlights you can expect to learn more about at our booth during GDC19! We can't wait to see you all, and we are so excited about chatting everything interactive audio!
New in Wwise
Wwise 2019.1 comes with some pretty neat features, and enhancements that you will surely want to get your hands on!
Whether you consider your project small or large, with so much flexibility in Wwise, it doesn’t take much before you can start asking yourself questions like “why is the volume for this sound so low!?” The Voice Inspector answers this question by revealing all volume, LPF, and HPF modifications throughout the lifetime of a voice. The graph section of the Voice Inspector focuses on a single voice at a time and details each connection, path (“dry” and “wet” path(s)) and ray (connecting multiple listeners to game object relations), which eliminates the guesswork when investigating property modifications in full details. This feature is so empowering, it can turn any sound designer to "Inspector Wwise".
Our Wwise composer community is growing so rapidly, and we certainly want to make sure we're developing features tailored to their musical needs. One of the functionalities we've added with Wwise 2019.1 is that Wwise events can now be triggered from Music Segments. This opens all sorts of new scenarios to further tie the music to gameplay or the interactive experience, and to add sonic variations to the project's score.
Resume to previous known segment: Two new music transition destination options have been added to Playlist. It is now possible to resume a playlist from where you left off instead of from beginning when returning to it. For example, if segments A, B and C have played in a Music Playlist before transitioning to a different Playlist, you can now resume at the beginning of C or D of that previous Music Playlist instead of being forced to start over with A.
Wwise Spatial Audio has been such a big focus for us for some time now, and every year, it keeps getting more and more sophisticated. While our tool box continues to expand, we are also focusing on further developing existing tools so that they become more accessible. Our goal is to empower sound designers with all levels of experience, to create truly immersive experiences. Some new features you can look forward to with Wwise 2019.1:
Reflections propagate through portals
When an emitter is not in the same room as the listener but the sound is still audible through a portal, Wwise Reflect early reflection calculations are now performed with portal diffraction applied to the reflected paths.
Sound paths through rooms and portals are now harmonized with geometric diffraction paths
In the case where an emitter is not in the same room as the listener, the sound paths are calculated as a combination of paths generated by geometric diffraction (ie. edge diffraction) and portal diffraction.
Portals cut out openings where they intersect geometry
Reflections are able to pass through portals, even if there are up to two planes intersecting the opening of the portal. Since the portal itself describes an acoustic opening, it is not necessary to also 'cut holes' in the geometry to allow a sound to pass through, which significantly reduces the total number of triangles needed for sound propagation.
Spatial Audio optimizations
Reduce update rate: A new spatial audio initialization parameter controls a movement threshold. As long as the emitter and listener do not move outside of a radius defined by the threshold, then spatial audio will not perform a new calculation. This allows for reduced CPU utilization at the expense of reduced accuracy. In practice, it is not necessary to update the paths calculations every single frame, and a compromise between accuracy and CPU usage can be found.
Multi-threading support: Enabling multi-threading in the Wwise Sound Engine via the platform init settings now also allows Spatial Audio to perform path calculations for multiple sound emitters across multiple threads.
Limit geometry to the scope of a single room: As an optimization, it is now possible to limit the search space for reflective surfaces and ray intersection calculations by assigning sound propagation geometry sets to individual rooms.
Wwise User Experience and Workflow Improvements
Various enhancements were made to the Wwise Authoring Tool, and performance optimization improvements that will make Wwise users all over the world very happy. Last year, the Dark Skin UI was so successful, our team was so excited to get right back to work on yet another skin! With 2019.1, we're launching an experimental Light Skin UI, which provides a higher contrast than the Classic Skin.
For a complete list of what's new, stay tuned for the Wwise 2019.1 blog coming out shortly after GDC!
As promised at GDC18, we launched a granular synthesizer which can be added to a Wwise project as a source Plug-In. SoundSeed Grain allows you to granulate and transform audio files with extreme flexibility, through granular synthesis and derivatives such as cloud, pulsar, concatenative and wavetable synthesis. SoundSeed Grain can be used to create particle effects, 3D ambiances and room tones, textured soundscapes, as well as time domain time-stretching and pitch-shifting, and is also a great sound design tool for making drones, UI and sci-fi sounds and music. It also features a plethora of sleek UI features that enhance the user experience.
Expect the following bug fixes and UX tweaking, coming soon:
Vorbis is now supported
Performance optimizations for all envelope types
Modulations can be quickly added by right-clicking on the Modulator UI icons
Double-clicking a modulator icon selects it in the modulation list
Learn more by watching this product overview.
Wwise Education Program
Today, 45 Wwise Certified Instructors, and more than 250 licensed and certified schools around the world are teaching Wwise! This rapidly growing number Wwise educators certainly reflects a growing interactive audio community. As the interactive experience becomes the new norm, more jobs are becoming available for interactive audio professionals than ever before. No longer are interactive experiences only tied to games and entertainment as a variety of new sectors continue adopting interactivity into their projects, consumer technologies and services.
Ensuring that Wwise is accessible and easy to learn for everyone, Audiokinetic now has four Wwise Certifications available online and the learning material is completely free!
NEW! Wwise-301 Certification
This year, we launched a new Wwise certification. The Wwise-301: Wwise Unity Integration, using the Wwise Adventure Game, an open-source Unity sample project, will guide you towards mastering the Wwise Unity Integration.
At Audiokinetic, we have always put the community first. We are continuously building on resources for learning interactive audio, but also creating opportunities and platforms for the community to shine. Our Audiokinetic Video Channel and Audiokinetic Blog have evolved into tremendous resources for sharing and inspiring one another internationally. Our Wwise Tour has become an anticipated event, globally, and this year, we also hosted two Interactive Music Symposiums in London and LA.
Building on our philosophy behind the Creators Directory, we have also been creating new platforms that empower content providers and plug-in developers within our community. Last year at GDC, we introduced the Community Partner Program to encourage Wwise plug-in developers by providing them with the opportunity to feature their plug-ins on the Audiokinetic Store.
Audiokinetic is pleased to announce the launch of its Wwise Ambassador Program, offering select content providers the opportunity to offer their clients a full turn-key service as Wwise Ambassadors. Wwise Ambassadors are appointed by Audiokinetic and authorized to re-sell Wwise licenses to third party developers. This streamlines the Wwise licensing process for content providers by allowing them to manage all client projects and licenses until their services are rendered. Wwise Ambassadors are also recognized on the Creators Directory, and earn Creator Points towards their company profile ranking on the Creators Directory. Along with the Wwise Ambassador Program, we're also launching Virtual Advisory Boards this year, that will cover various topics related to interactive audio. Wwise Ambassadors are expected to participate in at least one Virtual Advisory Board per calendar year.
Community Partners Program
Developers! If you missed the news last year and caught a glimpse of it above in this blog, yes - the rumors are true! We have launched the Community Partners Program along with a simplied pipeline for creating Wwise audio plug-ins. Community partner plug-ins are able to sell their plug-ins to Wwise users via the Audiokinetic Store, and Wwise users will also greatly benefit, as they find specialized plug-ins for Wwise they may be looking for, much more easily! So, join us, or help us spread the word as we continue to share towards uniting and supporting our interactive audio community worldwide.
We love game jams. And, we love it when you use Wwise in game jams. While we've always offered temporary non-commercial free licenses to game jam participants, we wanted to make this process easier. So, if you organize game jams, you will now be able to register your game jam with us just like any Wwise project is registered, and upon approval, we will feature your game jam on our Events page! Participants are now able to request access to the game jam's Wwise License Key directly from the events page! It's that easy. Game jam organizers are now able to ensure that every participate who needs access to Wwise during the event can get timely access to it! Fuss-free, how neat!