The year 2020 arrived in synchronicity with Audiokinetic's 20th anniversary. Today, Wwise is the cross-platform audio solution you know, and due to your support, the golden standard when it comes to interactive, and game audio. Thank you for inspiring us continuously and for your loyalty.
Our first GDC was in 2005, and we didn’t even have a booth at the time - we were demoing Wwise from a hotel room! The following year, Wwise became 'a thing'. We released our first commercial version in 2006, and Microsoft Game Studios became our first customer to ship a title using Wwise. Shadowrun at the time was developed for next-generation gaming platforms. A few years ago, we started introducing interactive audio to new industries. It was the natural thing for us to do. Of course game audio is our first love, but game audio is also the space that dreamed up future realities for interactive audio. It is from game audio that our development teams have been drawing inspiration and continue to do so. Therefore, as we diversify, we also realise how very proud we are for belonging to such a forward thinking game audio community and the game development industry which is leading the way for so many other technology advancements.
This year marks our first ever Wwise Wworld Wwide Online Expo. Just like back in the day when we had to get creative “GDCing” in a hotel room, with GDC cancelled this year, our team at Audiokinetic wanted to try and recreate the game audio reunion and Audiokinetic booth experience digitally, to bring you some updates on what we’ve been working on. We got a little carried away, and it ended up becoming a 6+ hour marathon of variety content, making sure there was something for everyone, and we even caught up with some friends and partners from our community. If you were not able to attend the live event, here are some highlights along with related videos, links and resources. Note that you can also find the entire stream on the Audiokinetic Twitch channel, and Youtube channel.
Now let’s dive into what’s new and upcoming with Wwise and beyond.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- New in Wwise
- Wwise Developer - Massive Entertainment
- Unity and Unreal Engine Integrations
- Wwise Developer - Gearbox
- Wwise Partners
- WAAPI & Wwise Console
- Wwise Developer - Camouflaj
- Bug Reporting
- Wwise Education Program
- Previews & Future
- Wwise Developer - Guy Whitmore
Hosted by Damian Kastbauer, WWWOE promised to give a behind the scenes look into the Wwise ecosystem. With over 20 Audiokinetic developers and a handful of special guests, this was one of the largest live streaming events we’ve ever coordinated. This feature would not have been possible without the establishment of the Wwise Up On Air series of Livestreams last year, which provided us with some practice towards this endeavor.
WWWOE commenced with a welcome from Audiokinetic CEO Martin H. Klein. He spoke to the current climate and goals of maintaining a connection with the Wwise community during these times along with our commitment to continuing the development of Wwise. He goes on to underline Audiokinetic’s continued vision to "build a world where audio creators can channel creation without limitation" and urges people to stay positive while continuing to develop amazing projects that inspire us.
Decision Making Ingredients
Simon Ashby, Head of Product, provided an overview of the “ingredients” that contribute to the decision making process at Audiokinetic. Across three vectors of consideration, the growth of Wwise continues to be shaped by the growing marketplace, authoring performance, and educational ecosystem.
New in Wwise
When looking at a Capture session, it is not uncommon to have a lot of data visible at a given time, making it difficult to pinpoint the specific information you want to investigate. With Wwise 2019.2, the filtering toolbar enables you to reduce the amount of information displayed in the view and focus on the elements that are relevant to you. Software Product Manager Damian Kastbauer introduces a video which highlights the Profiler Filter & Filter Toolbar and gives an overview of how the Profiler has evolved since the inception of Wwise.
The Audiokinetic Spatial Audio team has been hard-at-work enhancing the authoring capabilities for realistic simulation of dynamic reflections and the complex negotiation of diffraction. Thalie Keklikian went hands-on with the new spatial audio features which are now available. Using the Unreal integration to demonstrate the new AKGeometry component and the authoring of Acoustic Materials. Thalie’s comprehensive introduction stems from her involvement as a Software Developer on the Spatial Audio team and extended into a real-time demonstration, profiling sound propagation as visualized between Unreal and the Wwise Profiler. Be sure to stay tuned for the future Wwise Up On Air series focused on Spatial Audio.
Chief Technical Officer Martin Dufour does a thorough runthrough of changes to the way that memory management is reported in the Profiler. The replacement of Memory Pools with memory categories brings a greater level of detail and clarity to the task of measuring and understanding the way memory is being allocated and used by Wwise. For a deeper-dive, be sure to check out the presentation from Martin online.
Media IDs in a Single File
Michael Cooper, a Senior Software Developer working behind the scenes on the UI and sound engine, presented on the newly enabled ability to abstract Media ID’s into a single file. He starts by explaining the way that Wwise uses and maintains Media ID’s by default and reasons why abstracting them may be a solution for pipelines that require a tighter control over Media ID’s.
Wwise Developer - Massive Entertainment
Spicing up the parade of Audiokinetic developer presentations were discussions with several Wwise Developers. The first interview was with Audio Director Simon Koudriavtsev and Expert Audio Programmer Rob Bantin from Massive Entertainment, a Ubisoft Studio. Starting off in casual conversation around the work-from-home lifestyle and proceeding into a discussion around their recently released GDC Presentation about their work on Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 titled “Environmental Acoustics in Tom Clancy’s The Division 2”. The conversation provided a high-level overview of their presentation covering the automation of impulse responses, physics materials, optimization, and their solution for scaling location sizes called “bubblespace”. Simon goes on to describe the value of authoring for Atmos and the natural fit for the expanded spatialization opportunities.
Unity and Unreal Engine Integrations
The Integrations segment of WWWOE was tag-teamed by Integrations Lead Benoit Santerre and Audiokinetic polymath Mads Maretty Sønderup. Following the One Minute Wwise | From Audio File to in-game Audio in Unreal video, Benoit gave an overview of the new bi-directional communication between Unreal and Wwise enabled by the Wwise Authoring API (WAAPI). There was also a brief discussion around the new Unreal Event-based Packaging feature which brings Wwise assets fully into the Unreal asset management pipeline. For a deeper-look, check out Wwise Up Hands On - Event-based Packaging in Unreal.
After another One Minute Wwise| From Audio File to in-game in Unity, Mads gave a quick introduction to adding sounds in Unity and announced a series of Wwise Up Hands On Livestreams where spatial audio will be added to the Wwise Adventure Game Unity Project. These developer-driven installments will take a step-by-step approach to integrating the different elements of spatial audio into the existing Wwise Adventure Game project in Unity. The results of this process will eventually find its way into a future release of the Project and provides valuable insights into behind the scenes tips and tricks. Get registered for the event here!
Wwise Developer - Gearbox
We were joined by our friends at Gearbox Software, including Brian Feiser Lead Senior Sound Designer, Mark Petty Audio Director, Joshua Davidson Senior Sound Designer, and Raison Varner Senior Composer. Our second interview shared some origin stories in our team round table discussion and served as an introduction to their work on Borderlands 3. Mark dives into how they’ve continued working with voice actors through social distancing, with really interesting insights into exactly how that’s accomplished. Additional conversation around building a weapons system that can be mixed-and-matched, the beauty of gameplay systems built with audio in-mind, and interactive music methodologies make this a special segment.
Krotos released their Igniter Live Plug-In in Wwise with the Launch of 2019.2 (and available in 2019.1) bringing another option for the realistic simulation of engine sounds to Wwise. Software QA Tester Jean Gravel talked through the intricacies afforded by the suite of granular, loopo-based, and synthesis tools provided for the authoring of engine sounds within Igniter. From the demos available out-of-the-box to the use of the offline analysis tool, Jean only scratched the surface of what’s possible today with Igniter Live. Also, be sure to check out the Wwise Up Hands On with Igniter featuring Matthew Collings from Krotos for more depth.
Game Multimedia Engine (GME) is a game cloud service by Tencent Cloud, which provides high-quality, cost-efficient and scalable in-game voice communication services for game developers. Audiokinetic Developer Samuel Longchamps and Development Manager Denys Weng-Law gave an overview of the GME Plug-In integration from Tencent Cloud within Wwise and detailed the subscription model and workflow through the Audiokinetic Online Customer Portal. Simeon Chang, the Senior Director of Tencent Media Lab, gave a thorough presentation of the GME technology as part of last year’s Wwise Tour in Seattle.
WAAPI & Wwise Console
Audiokinetic Director of Wwise Experience Bernard Rodrigue outlined the Wwise Authoring API (WAAPI) and the various ways it can be used to extend the functionality of Wwise within the development environment. Bernard went deep on a recent Wwise Up Hands On featuring WAAPI where we implemented a way to export .WAV files from the online implementation of JSFXR. He also shared a video during the Expo that showed an integration of Text-To_Speech (TTS) using WAAPI and an overview of the Command Add-Ons feature.
Bernard also gives an overview of the new Wwise Console, a replacement for the Wwise Command Line Interface (Wwise CLI) which runs natively across Windows and Mac.
WAAPI & Wwise Console
The livestream was joined by Seattle Wwise Developers Camouflaj for a discussion centered around audio for VR and the value of sharing techniques across different types of interactive experiences. Sound Designer Carlye Nyte and Technical Sound Designer & Audio Programmer RJ Mattingly shared their perspective from working in games and VR and underlined the value of leveraging lessons-learned to help solve problems in the continually evolving world of VR Audio. Discussion around the use of spread and focus in Wwise to help shape the perception of a sound, the use of spatialization and binaural technologies, and the swift march of technology.
It wouldn’t be software development if there weren’t occasional bugs that present themselves at the most awkward of times. The Wwise Launcher recently received the ability to report bugs experienced by Wwise users from the Help Menu. Audiokinetic Customer Support Lead Guillaume Renaud took viewers through the process of reporting a bug including helpful tips on what information should be provided and some of the additional features of the Bug Reporter. Additionally, he gave a preview of a forthcoming feature in Release Notes that will separate community reported bugs in-order to acknowledge the value of our community in helping to make Wwise great.
Head of Developer Relations Mike Drummelsmith gave a high-level overview of Wwise Licensing tiers and some of the finer-points of planning your development budget. He goes on to discuss additional licensing considerations and makes some helpful suggestions for if or when your evaluation of Wwise stops working.
Wwise Education Program
Robert Brock from Audiokinetic Education Partner Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences (CRAS) presented on the Wwise Certifications piece of the education puzzle and provided an overview of the different certifications and their focus. Who is this certification for? It’s an excellent tool for students, but is also often used by industry professionals to get acquainted with Wwise. The course has been designed to inform all levels of users. Note that all Wwise Certifications are offered in four languages, English, Simplified Chinese, Japanese and Korean!
The special event promo codes for 20% off the certification exam price are available for use with purchase up until May 31st.
WWWOE_Wwise101, WWWOE_Wwise201, WWWOE_Wwise251, WWWOE_Wwise301
Previews & Future
Andy Vaughan, Sr. Developer Relations Manager at Dolby, gave an introduction to the Dolby Atmos technology which handles the positioning of “objects” independent of a traditional channel-based mix. He provided an excellent primer on what differentiates object-based rendering technologies and highlighted several games that feature Atmos that can be experienced utilizing a compatible system or software.
Ryan Done and Sean Soraghan, Software Developers from the R&D Department, showed some fun and useful work they’re experimenting with towards a representation of physics impacts. Still in the incubation stage, this exploration of a simplified workflow for creating variations of short-duration impact sounds showed the possibility to create more sonic diversity with less sound content. We’ll continue to work toward the best representation of this functionality and have to talk about when the time comes.
Unreal Geometry Automation
In an effort to simplify and streamline the process of implementing rooms and portals within the Unreal Engine, Senior Software Developer Nathan Harris from the R&D Team has been working on an automated solution for authoring these volumes in Unreal. In this behind-the-scenes look at an emerging technology, Nathan walks us through his work-in-progress where he is automating the process of fitting volumes automatically based on level geometry.
There is a focus on the User Experience that is at the core of Audiokinetic across all of the access points to Wwise; from the SDK and API through to accessibility in the Authoring Application, how people interact with the tools provided is key. Senior UX Designer Remi McGill presented on the pillars that we use to shape the future of these interactions and went on to highlight some of the features that have shaped the look and feel of Wwise today. From User defined colors, dark mode and the various visual contrast properties, to considerations for colorblindness and icon clarity, the presentation expresses a clear focus on our commitment to the user experience.
Wwise Developer - Guy Whitmore
Landing the livestream in the best possible way was a conversation with Composer/ Sound and Music Designer Guy Whitmore. Covering his recent work with Formosa Group on Ori and the Will of the Wisps, the discussion revolved around: the complexity of a deterministic state-based music system, leveraging the depth of parallaxing visuals to create an immersive ambient environment in Atmos, and the opportunities to bridge the gap between the different tools in game audio. After catching up with the discussion, be sure to check out some great articles about the sound of Ori from Formosa Group Senior Sound Designer Kristoffer Larson. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
The Wwise Wworld Wwide Online Expo was a fantastic day of presentations, community, and interactive audio. Thanks to all of the folks at Audiokinetic who shared themselves and their specialties. Special thanks to our Wwise Developer guests and Development Partners for their participation. Lastly, thanks to those of you that were able to join during the event and lend your voice to questions, comments, and excitement over the course of the day. We truly hope that you are finding ways to continue exploring the world of Audiokinetic and that this blog post can serve as an entry point into your further education, whether you’re new to Wwise or have been Wwise for years. Wishing you the best on your continued adventure!