I am not an audio student, nor am I fortunate enough to have been gifted with the talent of music. Sure I love my music, and being a poet as well, my appreciation usually goes much deeper than some, and despite learning the piano, guitar and drums, I was never good enough to progress further. When they kept changing any singing lines and roles to just speaking ones for me in every musical I volunteered for whilst young, I knew the writing was on the wall.
I have had though, some experience with different audio and music programs from my previous life so I am a bit more familiar than the average person, but that experience is also with very basic programs such as Ableton but I wont go so far as to tell you which version as you would then start laughing hysterically at the historic nature of the program. Thanks…thanks a lot!
This is a quick review or if you like plug of a useful tool I found on the interweb and thought I would share it for any other designers who are looking for a quick and easy audio systemajig. So on saying that its great to find a nice simple tool that will do what you want with a minimum of fuss. Sure there are probably better programs, with more bells and whistles, but for this moment and reasons of time constraints, this software is just fine, and like I said, I aint no audio student!
- The user interface looked simple and navigable even for a noob like myself.
- The help and manual were available online with a great search facility. Much needed, especially when trying to learn a new software and possible skill.
- Good and timely help prompts and reminders. Informed me that the file I was saving was not going to be an audio file but an Audacity file and that I should export track to save as a usable audio track.
- It was free. As a student this is like GOLD!
- Easy to start using. Within 5 minutes I had already imported a track, selected which parts of the track I wanted and then moved them to a separate track and file to be used as audio playback files in our latest game due to be published hopefully this Friday…De Ape Steppa, but more about that in another post later.
- Adding effects – effects like echo, distortion and many other effects was easily accessed and implemented, although I did not experiment too much due to just needing to get the job done for the project.
I only needed a program to cut up some music tracks, isolating certain portions of the track and exporting them as music/audio files to Unity for our game. I managed to learn and do this task in a relatively short time so that’s a big plus. I do look forward to experimenting more after this project and do recommend this software at this moment in time for anyone who needs simple audio engineering done on their tracks. For anything more in-depth and detailed, I suggest going to the experts and getting their advice. Like I said..I aint no audio student!
You can download the latest version of Audacity here.
How Did I apply Audacity to De Ape Steppa?
We were having trouble with our audio and trying to get snippets or sections of the track, isolate it and use it as SFX for the ape’s interactions. The idea was that when the ape jumped a beat would drop, this beat would resonate and then then another beat drop would play as the ape hits the ground again. We did want to also have beat drops for the swipe and strafe movements with the idea being that as the ape rampaged down the street, the player could add their own beat through the interactions.
Our idea was that say for example if the player did a swipe, jump, land,swipe, jump, land, strafe, the audio was envisaged to play ‘doof, booooo-daboom,doof, booooo-daboom, boof! Sorry for all of those who don’t speak doof or dubstep, that would not have made much sense.
Due to various issues, we could not get the audio tracks we required, which is what led me to seek out a program and thus found and used Audacity. I then imported the track I wanted to cut up and use as audio tracks. Zooming in I then selected the section of music I wanted in the track, and then selected ‘Duplicate’ (Ctrl D) which then allowed me to cut that section of track and then paste it into a completely new track file. As previously stated, this was pretty easy to learn how to do and the UI was quite intuitive. I repeated this process and after going through the main audio track, I managed to snatch 10 beat drops or beat segments, of which only two were used in the final game.
It is important to note that you cannot just save the new tracks, but must select ‘Export Audio’ (Ctrl Shift E) otherwise the file will only be recognized by Audacity and will not play on anything else.
If I had more time I would have liked to experiment with effects such as echo’s and changing the pitch, but that can be for maybe a future project. I also note that there are more in depth, more sophisticated audio programs out there, but this one was free and did exactly what I wanted it to do in a very short time.
Thank you for your time and company, I sincerely hope there was something in there for you. Until next time..