During the week of October 15th, Creating Sound featured the School of Video Game Audio (SoVGA) with Leonard J Paul. Unbeknownst to most of you, I was in week 5 of their Wwise Demo Reel course. At the time of enrollment, I did not know we would eventually feature the school on this site, so I felt an additional fire light under my proverbials when the series went live.
Now that I’ve completed the course, however, I’m happy to share a bit of my experience as well as a video demonstrating the focus of the course’s work. In addition, I thought it would be helpful to provide some context about myself in order to help those of you who are considering enrollment.
Before September 9th (I was out of town the first week of the course), I hadn’t touched Wwise at all. (BLEND CONTAINER?!) I didn’t even download it onto my computer and just let it get cozy with my hard drive like so many free, unused plug-ins. Because the SoVGA was still a new thing, I also had no knowledge as to how things would proceed. That being said, I knew Leonard’s reputation as a teacher from the Vancouver Film School‘s game audio program and made the decision to enroll for 5 main reasons:
- Learning Wwise (middleware in general, really) has been on my “to do” list for a long while.
- I’m the kind of person who likes structure in terms of schedules, so having a curriculum and someone (a nice Canadian to boot!) keeping tabs on my progress was attractive to my brain.
- The course is online and I could complete the work around a full time job.
- The course is à la carte, so I can keep my focus on learning Wwise and Wwise alone.
- The price point was in my comfort zone.
BONUS: Additional things I would get to experience for the first time:
- Mixing audio within a 3D environment
- Creating weapon sound effects
- Creating audio scripts and placing them directly in the game. (On past projects, this was always done with the assistance of a programmer and is now one of my new favorite things.)
- Compiling a build of a program – Leonard has a programming past, so for non-programmers like myself (to be remedied in the future, of course!), having someone available to fix bugs and customize a build was a great bonus.
Outside of having a DAW, there are some additional things you should consider procuring before enrolling:
- At least 10-20 hours a week of free time to work on the assignments for the 8 weeks of the course
- A command of standard sound design/engineering terms and game literacy (experience with actual game projects is helpful, of course)
- A field recording device/condenser mic to record original audio
- Screen capture software* to record your videos, both for in-progress and final work
- As is the case with most things #GameAudio – Patience
All things considered, I am quite pleased with my progress in learning Wwise and have come out knowing much more about implementation than before I started. The course moved quickly, but I’m in a position now where I’m comfortable moving deeper into Wwise’s architecture and developing more rich and complex sonic ideas. In this regard, I achieved what I hoped when starting the course. In addition to the responsive and helpful relationship Leonard develops with the students (responding to questions quickly and offering a two-way street to critiques), the Game Audio community has provided great feedback as well (special shout outs to Damian Kastbauer, Ben Crossbones, Stu Wilson and Sara Gross for their ears). In my mind, the course should be thought of as not an end but a means to adding another tool to the giant tool box we carry with us as sound specialists.
Should you have any questions for me, either about the course or my work, please do not hesitate to reach out via email.
*For the video you see here, I downloaded a free trial of Camtasia Studio for the last two weeks of the course. A full license is pricey in comparison to other pieces of software in this category, but it is very powerful and intuitive.