How to make sound effects? – 5 tips for creating cool sounds for free!

Posted by on Aug 14, 2013 in Blog

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How to make your own sound effects
for your game project for free?

By this date, the Heavy Rockets game has about 30 different sound effects. Most of the effects have been created by using free software, that is available for both PC and Mac. In some effects I have also used Apple GarageBand application, that comes free with every Mac computer. It might not come as a big surprize, that Apple has not published a PC compatible version of GarageBand, but there is an iOS application available for other Apple devices.

By following these 5 tips, you can create sound effects that are more or less retro, with a nostalgic feel to them. If you game project requires a more modern touch, you can use another software, such as GarageBand, to alter and modify the effects after they have first been created.

1. Download the best free sound effect software available: Bfxr

If you just want to try Bfxr, you can give it a go without even installing it on your computer. http://www.bfxr.net provides a browser interface for using the software online, and also exporting your creations is possible without installing. You can download the standalone version from the same site, but note that both the standalone and the browser version require that you have Adobe Air installed on your device.

2. Making sound effects is child’s play- take the easiest way out

Bfxr provides and interface with built in buttons for creating the most popular standard sound effects. Laser, power-up, jump and explosion sounds are all available, and you can create your own with just a click. Each time you click, the program will randomly generate a new sound effect. So, if you are not so talented in making sounds, often it is enough if you just have the patience and energy to do a lot of clicking, until you find the one sound that tickles your senses the right way. When you have created you perfect power-up or explosion sound, export and save it in wave format.

3. Download the free sound editing software Audacity, to finalize and polish your sound effects

With Audacity you will be able to put the final touches to your creations. If you need to shorten the sound, just snip a piece from the end, and finalize it with the fade out effect provided, and you will end up with a smoother result. In mobile games, the sound effect files should be saved as small as possible. You can transform the sound into mono, and the sample rate should be dropped to a tolerable level. If your game is not really meant to be played with headphones on, the quality of the sound effects do not have to be top notch. With Audacity you can change the length or pitch of your sound effect, or you can edit it with different available effects.

4. Sound effects for the more demanding taste

If you feel that Bfxr standard settings do not provide a sound effects that you could use, you should try modifying the sounds manually. By hovering your cursor on top of the buttons, you can see a brief description of what each function does. A useful tip is also that you can lock a specific setting by clicking on a small lock symbol. You can for example select and lock the whistle wave type, and then click on randomize. By doing this, the software will randomly select all other settings, except whistle wave type. By using this function you can use the randomize button just like the ready effect buttons with standard settings and make several similar sounds easily. Click click click!

5. GarageBand takes your sound effect to a whole new level

GarageBand is a good and easy to use music software if your sound effects still require some finishing touches. With Garageband you can combine several sounds, and play them at the same time. Each track can have its own effects. You can use for example Overdrive, Phaser or AUDistortion to create new dimensions to your sounds effects. After you are satisfied with your editing, you should take your modified effect back to Audacity, so you can easily create a compressed mono version of your sound.

So what does the Heavy Rockets game sound like then? The games sound effects has been inspired by The Star Wars, Transformers, Tron Legacy and the Commodore 64 sound effects. The results are sweet, and you can get the first feel of these sci-fi blockbuster inspired sound effects, after we publish our first game play video soon. Hope you have the patience to wait, as this fall there is some good stuff coming to an App Store near you!

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