Designing Sound, as the name implies, focuses entirely on the craft of audio from film to games. While there are industry-driven sites devoted to the topic, this blog is entirely the labor of love of composer and sound designer Miguel Isaza, whose writing has also appeared on Spain’s Hispasonic and Monofónicos. (Miguel also tweets to Reaktor aficionados as reaktorlovers.) That personal perspective has imbued the site with the feeling of artists talking to artists.

All week, Designing Sound has focused on Rob Bridgett, who has worked on numerous sound designs for games. Despite the massive growth of the game industry, most top artists have worked largely in obscurity – even less so in sound. There isn’t an equivalent of Ben Burtt, Randy Thom, Walter Murch, or others. (Those greats have been featured in Designing Sound specials, too.) Gaming is a young industry, to be sure, but that’s no excuse for simple ignorance.


Rob Bridgett at Radical Entertainment 7.1 THX. Photo ©Designing Sound, used by permission.

In this week’s interviews with Isaza, Bridgett talks frankly about every last detail of what goes into sound production. He’s frank not only about what can go right in a game production – Scarface, pictured above, gets special treatment – but also what can go wrong. The brutal deadlines, fluid production parameters, and tangled production process of games can exact a toll on sound in gaming. The high point of this: Bridgett has gotten to employ the full resources of Skywalker Sound and has been at the forefront of bringing Hollywood-style sonic treatment to gaming.

I’m sure many readers here are curious about the games industry. There’s still time to forward your own questions to Miguel to pass along to Rob Bridgett.

Exclusive interview

Rob Bridgett Special

Ask your own questions

Incidentally, this is beyond what we even imagined for our fledgling, which we’re readying for a full launch as a community and blogging platform. Miguel created Designing Sound without prompting or assistance – it’s entirely his vision. It’s great to have people sharing information in this way. I can’t wait to see what’s ahead.

  • Hey, Peter… Looks great! Thanks for your support.

  • matt

    THis is awesome. I didn't know it existed until now. More interested in this industry lately as a viable profession for composers. Thanks!

  • sanjeet

    cool guys don't look at explosions

  • Cool!

  • Damon

    Slightly disturbing image after the news of late. Some would say, in bad taste.

  • Orubasarot

    One incident shaking up the 1st world middle class makes it in bad taste, but every other endlessly recurring conflict does not?

  • dirk

    Orubasarot: +1

    Its funny, been thinking about music for games recently. It seems you've read my mind Peter.:)

  • been following his page for a while now. it's been a great resource for me. thanks miguel!

  • Damon


    "One incident shaking up the 1st world middle class makes it in bad taste, but every other endlessly recurring conflict does not?"

    Yes, every other endless recurring conflict makes it in good taste.

  • Ryan

    Guys don't think for a moment that this is what is done when audio is mixed for games (in game).

    Typically this processing is done via the audio API of the game engine (Proprietary, FMOD, scripting, etc..), and no mixing in this typical sense is needed.

    This is from a GDC audio track, and he is just demonstrating in another way how things are "mixed" in game.

    For FMV cut-scenes real mixing is utilized, because it's just the engine playing back an audio file that has been premixed.

  • apalomba

    Using a game engine and API to do mixing is

    fine and all, but it is probably the least

    interesting part of sound design. What I am interested in are the tools they use to blend,

    morph, splice, etc, etc, different sounds together. Granted Scarface probably does

    not have complex sound design requirements. I would be more interested in knowing how Amon Tobin did Rainbow Six, and the tools he used.

  • orubasarot

    I've already sent this to CDM but I think since I'm such a pottymouth and shitposter in general they didn't bother.

    This is the Unreal development kit, for free, the whole thing.

    I've been messing around with this engine for 10 years now, it's gone from PC hardcore niche to mainstream xbox wiimote waggling hogwash, but it's still a fantastic learning tool, I'm even setting it up to use live as an a/v set.

  • anthony

    hey peter – i know this is not music related, but are you an iphone fan – what do you think about the droid?

  • This post was queued before I knew anything about what happened at Fort Hood. I did find myself thinking about this stuff while in the car getting into LA the other day, which is when I heard the news. I suppose violence is in our media because it's in our real world, of course – and so we see it in media as tragedy, as documentary, but also as parody and comedy. That's a tradition in many cultures going back eons. At the end of the day, though, it makes some of those video games feel to me — well, not terribly relaxing. I don't have any problem with them being out there, but then there's the simple question of how you respond.

    Anyway, of course, no statement was intended; the image was changed which brings us back to the mixing demo.

  • ,..] is one another useful source of tips on this issue,..]

  • Sound design is the process of specifying,
    acquiring, manipulating or generating audio elements. It is employed in a
    variety of disciplines including filmmaking.