A JOURNEY THROUGH FMOD: PART 6 – Ambience techniques

This is video demonstrating some techniques for FMOD Studio. This will show how a variety of different audio sources can be arranged and will have a focus on ambient tracks. However I will be showing some other sources just to show a build up of techniques.

Set 1

Ambience Factory

The factory ambience is a multitrack event using three tracks. The first layer is of general foley inside the factory, the second is of foley going on outside the factory and has been EQ’s to give the effect that walls are in the way.

The volume for each track is controlled by separate parameters, this allows for dynamic changes in game as well as easier access for tweaking the event later on.

Ambience Woods –

Ambience Woods contains several multi sounds and loops that utilise  transition zones to navigate between states.

The Day time state has light bird chirping sounds I have gained from a mixture of sound libraries and field recording in my local woods.

When the parameter triggers the transition, three new multi sounds are activated, the first is another bird scatter sounds. This time built of different species such as crows. What’s useful about the transitions effect, is that the bird scatter sounds will automatically trigger a sound straight away, causing a bird to screech almost like a night version of a cockerel to signify the changing transition. Theres also a scatter of crickets that deliberately overlap them selves to create a continues bed of noise that has possibilities on variation. It will also bleed over into the day transition for a period of time when the parameter is triggered back. This creates a sense of morning and allows for gradual introduction back into day.

To help add mystery to the ambience, The next multisound is an abstract piece of developing sound design stingers. The volume on this track is automated to the transition parameter to ensure that it can not be heard during the day time section.


The drill event is designed to be controlled by an analogue controller, such as a trigger or joystick. Using three layers, Drill motor, Rotation and Surface, allows the event to be controlled similarly to real drills. Using the speed parameter, the Drill motor and Surface tracks contain multiple overlapping sounds that increase in intensity as the speed inclines. This is supported by the rotation track that is more prominent the slower the setting but is ducked out with automation as the speed intensifies.

The Surface track’s volume is also controlled by the Friction parameter. This means that the drill can be heard to simulate contact with a surface, and when it is not. The Surface track also dies out before the rotation track, this is to show extremely low speed settings on drills do not make an impact on the surface.

Footsteps Robot

The robot footsteps are for a cute little sprite character I have shown in a previous blog entry. I liked the idea he was dinky, small and a little clumsy. His sounds were created with me being over enthusiastic with a popup bin. They then have been put in a multisound with pitch and volume randomisation to increase variety

Footsteps Human

Similar to this, the Footsteps Human event has two multisounds playing in close intervals, one of footsteps the other is a slightly delayed, is a clothing movement or ‘Armour Jingle’. This simulates the whole character movement, not just the impact of the feet on the ground. The parameter Texture controls the automation between ‘StepsLeaves’ and “StepWood’, this means that certain areas can be mapped to trigger variations on the footstep audio.

Fall Impact

The Fall Impact event uses similar techniques to the drill event, the difference is that these sounds are not looped. The sndVel parameter is calculated before the event is activated allowing for the event to jump to the correct point. This is to simulate the sound of the robot falling at varying speeds.

The samples for this are recordings of me being quiet liberal with a pole and a filing cabinet.

Set Two

Set two is an example of ambience events for ‘God Perspective’. Unlike  1st or 3rd person perspective. The camera is required to sweep through huge areas of the game very quickly. One example of this would be the Universim. Here’s a short video demonstrating their prototype for their ambience.

To emulate this, I have set up events for a range of different environments such as traffic, storms, a train station and a radio transmitter. I even included the factory ambience from earlier, now modified to suit this perspective.

These events use scattersound events like previous examples, as well as using random pitch and volume modulation. However the main element of these events is an EQ and volume automation that has been placed on the distance parameter. This allows for a drop off of the MID and High Frequency as well as an eventual volume drop off.

This gives the effect of distance as well as adding to the ‘swooshing’ effect you can hear on the video. To add to the swoosh I also have an event called “Planet Cam”. This adds a rush of wind at certain distances to create the impression of pushing through an atmosphere.

That was my FMOD demonstration, my name is Matthew Lightbound and you can see further FMOD demonstrations on my blog  mattlightbound.wordpress.com as well as my sound design and music showreels on my vimeo account. If you would like to play with this demo check the link in the description to download the FMOD project.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s