Guidelines for Sound Design in Computer Games



The inconsequential exploitation of sound in most computer games, both in extent and nature, contrasts with its prominence in our daily lives and with the kind of associations that have been explored in domains such as music and cinema. Sound design remains the craft of a talented minority and the unavailability of a public body of knowledge on the subject has greatly contributed to this state of affairs. This leads to a mix of alienation and best-judgment improvisation in the broader development community. A sensitivity to the potential of sound for the enrichment of the experience with emphasis on game specifics is, therefore, necessary. This study presents a contribution to the practice of sound design for computer games. An approach to intentional sound design, informed by multi-disciplinary interpretations of concepts including emotion, context, acoustic ecology, soundscape, resonance, and entrainment, is distilled into a set of design guidelines that holistically address the different sound layers.


Acoustic Ecology, Audio, Computer games, Context, Design guidelines, Emotion, Game audio, Game design, Game sound, Game sound design, Human-Computer Interaction, Sound, Sound design, Soundscape, User experience


Human-Computer Interaction

Book Chapter

Game sound technology and player interaction: Concepts and developments, 17, pp. 362-383, IGI Global, October 2011

Cited by

Year 2015 : 1 citations

 Enns, M. (2015). Game Scoring: Towards a Broader Theory (Doctoral dissertation, The University of Western Ontario).

Year 2012 : 1 citations

 Garner, T. A. (2012). Game Sound from Behind the Sofa: An Exploration into the Fear Potential of Sound & Psychophysiological Approaches to Audio-centric, Adaptive Gameplay (Doctoral dissertation, Videnbasen for Aalborg UniversitetVBN, Aalborg UniversitetAalborg University, Det Humanistiske FakultetThe Faculty of Humanities).