SoundSeed Air - Whoosh

The SoundSeed line of plug-ins has been created to further extend the functionality of the Wwise authoring application and provide a unique solution to a common problem. When faced with the challenge of keeping repetitive sounds fresh, dynamic, and varied, SoundSeed provides resource conscious creative tools that bring the design of sound one step closer to the game.

The SoundSeed Whoosh plug-in is a source plug-in that generates sounds as an object passes through the air. To create these types of sounds, the characteristics of the deflector object are defined along with the trajectory movement and speed of the object. No source audio files are necessary as the whoosh sounds are completely synthesized. SoundSeed Whoosh allows you to save memory in-game because .wav file variations are no longer necessary. Additionally, the Whoosh source can be used to create variations using the multiple randomization features.

We'll begin by creating the first of many sword swings that will be available to the hero. It begins with an empty Sound SFX in the Combat work unit nested into the Swing Actor-Mixer.

An empty Sound SFX in preparation for adding a whoosh source

We can now add a SoundSeed Air - SoundSeed Whoosh plug-in by navigating to the Add Source Selector button (>>) in the upper-right corner of the Contents Editor.

Whoosh Source plug-in Add Source Selector button (>>)

The Source Plug-in Editor can be accessed in the Contents Editor by double-clicking the plug-in icon.

Whoosh Source plug-in icon

Authoring Whoosh sounds in the source plug-in editor

Whooshes are a combination of one or many deflectors representing an object and its traveling path. Deflector settings are used to determine the shape of the object, while anchor defines whether the object is spinning or not.

  • Frequency: Represents the size of the object.

  • Q: Is used to simulate deflector surface type. (regular [high Q]/round or irregular [low Q])

  • Gain: Control of the amplitude.

The object path is comprised of points in a path and defines the movement direction of the object through space.

Deflector properties and object path

Any number of points can be connected to produce the desired travel path, which appropriately pans based on speaker setup and the number of channels specified in the Settings.

For the weapon swings, we'll be using the two channel setting in conjunction with a path that traces an arc in front of the player from left to right. For the sake of the example, we'll create Whoosh models for sword, axe, and dagger weapon types.

Prepared Whoosh sounds for use by weapon swings

[Note] Designer Note

Not just reserved for short duration swings, coupling a circular path with a long time duration can add additional movement sound as a special effect. Due to the generative nature, the simulation and resulting sound will be different every time. Adding a randomized multichannel Whoosh element as part of a spell casting effect could be used to further wrap the player in a swirling maelstrom of sound, without having an impact on the memory budget.

Similar to SoundSeed Wind, properties that control the object's movement can be fixed, randomized, or parametrized via RTPC. The added ability to create automated curves for properties allows you to add further movement and controlled randomness to help sculpt whoosh sounds.

Whoosh properties, automation curves, and time settings

Ignoring all of the memory saving benefits of generative sound design, there is an incredible amount of creativity encapsulated in the SoundSeed suite of plug-ins. By taking a common sound design tool and making it available as part of a game audio authoring application, generative synthesis at runtime can help bridge the gap between design and implementation. Add to this the ability to affect properties in real time using game parameters and you have a winning combination of dynamic flexibility and memory efficiency.

By establishing the weapon swing sounds within a single swing Sound SFX , the need for content variation has been removed by leveraging the features in Whoosh.