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Encouraging Chaos, the Use of Generative Sound in No Man’s Sky

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Published on Jun 28, 2016

Procedural content generation in games, where graphics and gameplay emerge out of a set of probabilistic rules rather than being hand-crafted, challenges the conventionally linear nature of sound design. Game audio, as with game design, is increasingly embracing an emergent approach, eroding the more traditional fixed one-on-one relationship between action and sound.

Procedural audio is a method of creating sounds in real-time, often using forms of synthesis such as physical modeling, whilst generative music creates an evolving soundscapes, controlled by the game according to a set of rules. These techniques enable a wider range of variability and deeper game integration than would be possible using more traditional linear audio and can lead to a more varied, unpredictable and believable soundscape.

Paul Weir is the Audio Director for Hello Games No Man’s Sky, an innovative space action, adventure and exploration game. In this talk, Paul look at how the game sound designer is being challenged by systemic gameplay techniques and the ways in which the technology, and more importantly, the creative skills, are evolving. He will discuss No Man’s Sky procedural creature vocalisation system and their generative music tool and the challenges involved in building these new applications.

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