When thinking about what makes a great video game, many would jump straight into Graphics, Player Mechanics, and/or Storyline, but one, commonly overlooked aspect of any successful game is Audio.
Audio often takes a backseat in game development, but don't be mistaken, great audio can increase player immersion by a lot, whether it is a subtle wind or some industrial background audio, or fitting music. Therefore we have compiled a list of key ways of improving audio in your game.
1. Use High-Quality Audio Tracks
When you decide to add a specific sound to your game, make sure it's high quality and doesn't have any artifacts, or background noise, but also, you have to be careful when following this suggestion, as high-quality sounds often take more space on the disk, thus increasing the size of your game.
To mitigate the size issue you must choose the right import setting for every Audio, depending on where it'll be used, we have a more detailed post on this topic: Unity Audio Clip Import Settings For The Best Performance
As always, if you're looking for high-quality Audio for your project, the Asset Store likely got what you need:
2. Pay Attention to Sound Spatialization
When developing a game, you have to decide whether the sounds will be 2D or 3D, or a mix of both.
2D sounds are characterized by the audio that has a constant volume that doesn't change, regardless of how far the audio listener is from the audio source. 2D sounds are commonly used in main menus for background audio, or in fully 2D games.
3D sounds on the other hand are sounds that become louder, the closer the player/audio listener is to the source, and vice versa. This type of sound requires more tweaking from the developer, for example, in Unity's Audio Source component there are parameters for min and max distance. The min distance controls at what point the sound always has 100% volume and the max distance controls the distance when the sound becomes inaudible.
By mastering the 2D and 3D audio concepts you'll be able to effectively implement any type of audio in your game and make it sound natural and fitting to a specific setting.
3. Use Dynamic Audio
The concept of dynamic audio is somewhat more advanced, but it could lead to greater player engagement.
Dynamic audio is characterized by seamlessly changing background sound depending on what the player is doing in the game (ex. going from explore mode into battle mode, etc.), it also implies applying audio effects when the player for example uses a power-up or when the player have low HP, making the audio distorted or muffled.
With that being said, it might be worth the extra effort to implement dynamic audio. The motto is, if you do something, do it right.
4. Use Music Strategically
Music has the power to set the mood in anything, let alone video games, therefore you can utilize it to your advantage. Make the players feel the game level through the music, or use the music to make the player anticipate the key events, like the enemy, a new achievement, etc.
You're in luck because Asset Store has a great selection of royalty-free music that will fit your game perfectly.
Royalty-Free Music Assets
5. Test the Audio on Different Devices
It's not uncommon to experience some inconsistencies on different devices when playing the game, so it's important to test the game from various devices to verify that the audio will sound the same for all players, without any glitches or artifacts.
Audio plays a key role in most types of games, therefore it's important to treat it on par with other aspects.