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For games, side-chaining is a great tool for controlling the player's focus and for reducing the cacophony when all hell breaks loose. It also helps to prioritize and clean the mix for objects within the same categories.
When transients from the important sounds are played, side-chaining reduces the volume of less important sounds by following the transient shapes.
A rule of thumb created for certain games is to set a priority system first among objects of the same categories and then between the categories. For example, following this rule, a game can decide that the playing character’s (PC) weapon sounds are more important than the non-playing character’s (NPC) weapon sounds. Side-chaining can then be set up so that PC weapon sounds duck the volume of the NPC weapon sounds. The weapon sounds between the PC and the NPC are quite similar; but, in this case, the system ensures that the PC sounds are always the main focus for the player.
By extrapolating this idea, a game could decide that nearby explosions should be the main focus over PC and NPC weapon sounds or that critical dialogue should rule over any SFX sounds, including weapons and explosions.
The following chart shows a hierarchical representation of such a system.