Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
For sound effects, which I categorize as sounds that are
event-triggered (like a punch or an explosion) and last no more than
a few seconds, I prefer WAV files that have been saved with the
following settings from a sound editor:
￿
Bit depth: 16
￿
Sample rate: 22 kHz
￿
Channels: Mono
This combination keeps the file size of each sound effect down,
but also provides enough flexibility and quality for anyone but the
most attentive audiophile.
For music or ambient sound (background sounds that provide
atmosphere),IpreferMP3files.Thereareacoupleofreasonsfor
this. First, music tracks for games should be fairly long (one minute
or more) to avoid being too repetitive, and long sounds begin to
create very large files. A one minute music track at the settings I
described above for sound effects would be 2.5 MB. This doesn
t
seem like very much in this day and age, but consider if you
had multiple music tracks and they started to get longer than one
minute. This would add up pretty quickly and become cumber-
some to manage and taxing on Flash
'
ve
found that the following settings yield good-sounding music tracks:
￿
'
s memory footprint. I
'
Constant bit rate (Flash doesn
'
t like variable bit rate)
￿
Bitrate: 64 kbps
Depending on how prominent the music is in a game, a higher
quality setting might be more appropriate. The same audio that
would have been 2.5 MB as a WAV is 480 k; less than one-fifth the
size.
Voice-over audio is a case where the context should determine
the format. A computer voice speaking the name of a button when
the user rolls over it is akin to a sound effect, so treat it like one.
Narration, or any extended dialog, makes more sense to treat like
music given its length.
Export Settings to Use
IntheearlydaysofFlash,whenkeepingSWFfilesizelowwas
overwhelmingly important, developers got used to setting all their
sounds to use the lowest possible quality. All the sounds were
muddy and often indistinct, but no one seemed to care because
everyone was doing it. Now, with ever-increasing audio and visual
fidelity in games (both commercial and on the Web), the lowest
common denominator won
'
t usually cut it. Let
'
sexaminethe
Sound Properties window for a clip inside an FLA.
In this case, I have opened a file that was imported as an MP3.
Flash automatically chose MP3 compression as the best option to
use, and selected an option only available to MP3s: use imported
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