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Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. All registered attendees will be able to build their personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021. All times are listed in Pacific Time.

Breaking the Silence: The Sound of 'Hardspace: Shipbreaker'

Ben McCullough  (Audio Director, Blackbird Interactive)

Date: Friday, July 23

Time: 2:30pm - 3:30pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass, Audio Pass

Topic: Audio

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: N/A: I would like to deliver a virtual presentation only

An examination of how the sound designers at Blackbird Interactive met the challenge of designing sound for a game in which the presence of air is not a given. Starting from the position that sound can't travel through a vacuum, the team created strict rules governing the transfer of sound, ensuring that all audio is tied as closely as possible to the physics of the game world. This talk will go into what those rules are, how they manifest in the game's Wwise project and Pure Data patches, and show how their limitations helped the team to deliver a compelling and original soundscape.


At a high level, attendees will take away insights into how the narrowing of scope through a rules-based approach can force creatives to come up with unique and interesting solutions. At a lower level, audio professionals will gain insights into the core audio implementation techniques used in the game.

Intended Audience

Sound designers, technical sound designers, audio leads, audio directors and game designers. Some prior knowledge of sound design theory would be beneficial, as would some knowledge of the Wwise audio engine and authoring tool.