Wwise SDK 2023.1.2
Understanding Banks

Banks are files that contain your game's audio data. They can be generated in Wwise Authoring by the sound designer with the help of the SoundBank Manager. They can also be defined and generated with automated processes.

There are two types of bank:

  • Initialization bank: This bank contains all general project information, including information on the control bus hierarchy, States, Switches, and RTPCs. The Initialization bank is automatically created when Wwise generates the SoundBanks. There is only one Initialization bank per project, called Init.bnk.
  • SoundBanks: SoundBanks contain the Event data required to play sounds in your game. There are two types of SoundBank, auto-defined and user-defined, which you can use exclusively or in combination. These different SoundBank types have different effects on memory usage, file packaging, file size, and the SoundBank loading method.
    • Auto-defined SoundBanks: Auto-defined SoundBanks are created automatically. A separate SoundBank is created for each Event and Auxiliary Bus that is not included in a user-defined SoundBank. Each SoundBank contains only the Event and structure information, while media is stored outside of the SoundBank. Therefore, if multiple Events use the same media asset, it is only generated on disk and loaded once. Auto-defined SoundBanks therefore require minimal management by Wwise users and keep file sizes to a minimum.
    • User-defined SoundBanks: User-defined SoundBanks can contain multiple Events and all the objects and audio data required to play them. The sound designer can create any number of SoundBanks in Wwise Authoring and add Events, structures, and media to them. User-defined SoundBanks can also be created in Wwise by importing SoundBank definition files, which external programs such as game level editors can create automatically. When user-defined SoundBanks are generated, Wwise packages all the Actor-Mixers, Containers, Sounds, and so on that are used by the Events contained within each SoundBank. If some of the sounds in the SoundBank are voices, then a different version of the SoundBank is generated for each language supported by the Wwise project.

Your game must load the Initialization bank first. SoundBanks can then be loaded and unloaded as required. The Events triggered during the game determine which SoundBanks are loaded. With auto-defined SoundBanks, each Event loads its own SoundBank but any shared media assets are only loaded once. With user-defined SoundBanks, each Event loads the SoundBank that contains it, even if that SoundBank also contains many other Events (and associated media assets) that are not required at the time.

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