Dev Diary #13 – Audio Editing for Optimization

One of the most common and biggest sized assets in video games these days are audio clips. Recently I have decided to try to minimize audio file size whilst also keeping the audio quality the same or even better!

Menu Select

I began with the Menu Select.wav file in our audio SFX folder. This is an extremely short clip that I managed to cut its file size by 30% by doing these steps:

Original clip unedited.

Automatic noise reduction process.

Audio Clip trimmed to cut silence at the start (this will help improve feeling of responsiveness in the menu).
Spot Brush then used to completely clear static noise found in the clip, improving quality.

The Menu Select clip shrunk from 67kb in size to 40kb upon export keeping file format plus bit-rate the same as the source file.

Pause Screen

Upon pause this clip plays to help indicate to the user the current song in the background has in-fact stopped playing. And of course its a cool sound effect. My success here was much better than even the previous file.

Source file unedited

Automatic noise reduction

Reducing length of clip of the song by utilizing the stretch and pitch tool.
Was just under 1 second long, reduced to 600ms in duration.

Further reduced clip duration by trimming out unnecessary silence.

As you can see from the image above, the new clip saved almost 100kb on a clip that originally was less
than a second long without changing bit-rate or file format.

Conclusion

Optimization of audio should be one of the very first steps in order to tackle game build size. Using tools like Adobe Audition here is a cinch when you need to do tasks such as these. To build on this further in the future, something I could learn is using a batch scripts to bulk edit and optimize audio clips similar to what I’ve done here. The benefit being that in games, there can be a LOT of audio clips, doing them manually may field best results but in a time vs money vs quality scenario. The correct option for hundreds of audio clips would be to batch optimize and accept the fact the clips wont be of the smallest size they could be but they will be somewhat improved with little time or money invested (from man hours).

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