Game Immersion - Do Everything Right and No One Will Notice.
Video game immersion brings you out of the ‘real world’ and transports you and your brain into a different reality. The easiest way to achieve a good level of immersion is to make the game world as believable as possible, in every conceivable way. Everyone is different when it comes to video game immersion; some are drawn in by good graphics, other by the realistic game world.
Sound is all around us. And it is such an integral part of our world that we just absorb and accept all the ambient noises that fill our daily lives. Without the correct or expected audio cues to match the visuals, the brain simply will not accept the illusion of virtual reality.
One way of immersing a player into a video game is the use of sound and music. Realistic ambient sounds are perfect for setting a particular scene. Every move, scene, character, vehicle in the game world must include a sound that the player is expecting. If you do everything right, no one will notice, but players will notice if you do something wrong.
Game creation has learnt a lot from film in terms of asset creation, the use of foley, use of surround, mixing, and adapting it all to the interactive medium. An atmospheric soundtrack has a lot to do with being able to deliver the right sort of audio for the different gameplay. When the action is excitable it’s important to deliver ostentatious sound effects and music. However, when the player chooses to explore the game world, it’s important to have crafted enough variety, interest and immersive detail to make them feel they are always a part of it.
With games now telling more complex stories, we are seeing more cinematic aspects incorporated into their sound design. As games are readily available on many different platforms we need to make sure that the mix works every time. We have to entice the player to not only see what is in front of them but what is all around the 360 soundscape. We can affect the final mix through EQ, compression, limiting as well as real-time mixing the game.
Working in immersive audio brings many challenges and tech is one of them. Technology has refined gaming in recent years to the extent that many games have blurred the lines between reality and fantasy. Anyone who has spent the last two or three decades playing video games has witnessed an evolution in quality and storytelling. There was a time when 64-bit games inspired awe; however, those graphics no longer compare to what’s available today. The latest generation video consoles and gaming computers are now capable of displaying life-like graphics thanks to motion capture. The tech evolves so quickly that you can be using one type at the outset of a project but by the time we meet the end of the project it has changed. Video games have become a cinematic experience.