FMOD Integration — Reasons It’s An Indispensable Audio Tool

  • #1, by lance-montgomerySaturday, 26. December 2020, 14:08 3 weeks ago
    I'd like to make a request to gain FMOD support in Visionaire Studio. It’s an absolutely incredible audio middleware that towers over every built-in audio toolset you’ll find in every game engine out there, and despite what anyone who’s never used it might say, it is absolutely 100% a necessity for the audio implementation in a game to feel cinematic in a truly professional way.

    I just barely stumbled upon Visionaire Studio and am completely blown away. It seems to be the best option out there for me personally, to realize my crazy dreams of being a solo indie developer. I am a composer and sound designer by trade in the game industry, and have no coding chops whatsoever, but have lots of stories to tell and games I’ve dreamt of making.

    The wall that I am hitting everywhere with any no-code engine out there is that none of them work natively with FMOD. Given that I’m an audio guy who uses audio middleware like FMOD Studio on a daily basis for creating high quality and complex audio behaviors in games, I can’t imagine making my own game without it! As most people in the audio game dev world out there know, audio middleware is an absolute necessity to implementing AAA-level audio in a game. The localization features alone in FMOD would be worth it for use in Visionaire Studio, not to mention extremely dynamic music and parameter-based interactivity with audio.

    What I’d hope for with full integration into Visionaire Studio:
    • load builds created in FMOD Studio, and be able to load and unload banks within that build.
    • reference all my events, with their hierarchies intact.
    • play or audition any FMOD event in my banks, natively within Visionaire Studio’s interface without code. 
    • control local parameters in live FMOD events as well as global FMOD parameters, without using code.
    • (bonus): receive callbacks from FMOD Events to Visionaire, to have Visionaire respond to the audio! Seriously, you can actually create complex game logic inside FMOD!

    What this could bring to the experience of playing a game made with Visionaire Studio:
    • Automatic Music ducking with VO and sound effects. The mix would feel more cinematic and natural like a movie, as if someone was actively listening to the mix and controlling volume faders on different audio channels. The result is not only clarity but a sheen of polish that, when done correctly, the player doesn’t consciously notice, but they feel it, and it translates to the player as high-quality production.
    • Highly dynamic music that evolves naturally to the player’s choices. Traditionally, music changes involving a simple fade out/in often work fine in a simple game, especially in games of the adventure game golden era. But if you were trying to create a more modern cinematic experience, you’d want to do what other games do with dynamic music: transition to the next segment of the music while keeping the beat or cohesiveness. Transition to the happy part, or to the sad part, without feeling like one track ended and another one starts. It would feel like the music was one single evolving track, where the music understood the decision you just made, or perfectly mirrored a character’s change of emotion, or a twist in the plot, mid-song!
    • The ability to correctly and easily juggle recorded VO of different localizations. In FMOD, changing the VO language is as simple as unloading and loading a bank. All the references to the correct line of dialogue transfers to whatever “language bank” is loaded.
    • High-efficiency asset management, making it all super cheap on CPU and RAM, despite that many complex behaviors and logic and threads of audio might be running simultaneously in FMOD.
    • It would introduce a AAA tool to the community, making Visionaire a dream-come-true solution for audio pros to realize their dreams in a professional capacity! Doing this, Visionaire would seriously raise the bar to astronomical heights for audio implementation among ALL no-code game engines out there (currently a pretty low bar), as none of them have cared enough to make this integration yet. Modern adventure games are a form of entertainment much more deserving of high-quality cinematic audio than it usually gets, and I’d argue that on the indie dev front, this is due to lack of proper tools. 

    Thanks for hearing me out! I know your time is limited and there may not appear to be many who want this feature, so my expectations are in check here. This is lower on the priority list for pretty much all developers of no-code engines out there. Believe me, I’ve been trying to get this to happen elsewhere for more than 5 years! I’d argue though that if FMOD were natively available in Visionaire, it would be used more often than not by your users! It’s one of those things where you need to see it and use it only once to understand that you should have been using it your whole career—you won’t ever want to make a game without it. And as for cost, look at their brand new business model. It’s free for probably 99% of your users.

    I’m not affiliated with FMOD in any way. I’m just a super enthusiast, as a game audio pro who uses it everyday. I have so many games I want to make, and high aspirations as an indie game creator, but could not fathom doing it without FMOD. The thing that has held me back is the lack of time and learning style to learn code within the engines that DO support FMOD. I’ll reiterate again that I have tried for the better part of a decade to get other no-code engines to be believers, but to no avail. It’s not a “niche” product with a small user base like some think. That’s a completely ignorant assumption. It’s an extremely widely-used AAA tool that countless indies and large studios rely upon for both its workflow and its power. If you’re still not convinced, I’d be more than happy to talk your ear off about it! ??

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  • #2, by SimonSSaturday, 26. December 2020, 15:23 3 weeks ago
    Well, that's nice for you that you like fmod so much. 
    Problem is the fmod license doesn't allow us an integration, so that won't happen. 
    I can't build it modular and it's already a lot of work to integrate something like that...

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  • #3, by afrlmeSaturday, 26. December 2020, 16:20 3 weeks ago
    One of the ex developers actually looked into integrating FMOD before, & while I agree that it would be a really nice thing to have, it's very expensive & I think there were other issues that he had with trying to implement it.

    Visionaire Studio is a small, not particularly well known (compared to unity & unreal engine, etc) point & click adventure game engine. It doesn't have the funds or staff that those engines have, so integrating FMOD would be rather impractical & a lot of our users are solo or really small team indie game developers, who most likely wouldn't want to pay $2000 upwards per game they create, just because Visionaire decided to use FMOD as its sound engine. A lot of them hum & ah over the prices of the current licenses enough as it is.

    Simon has been working on a custom sound engine, which comes with various effects, & automation. It's not as pretty as FMOD or any other real DAW for that matter, but it does work & it has more than enough sound features for point & click adventure games.

    Besides, you could always sort out the fancy stuff for your sounds & music in whatever music production DAW you use - that's what I would probably do myself. I'd just import my sounds into Visionaire & then use the sound system to automate the volume levels & filter cutoff as needed.

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  • #4, by lance-montgomerySaturday, 26. December 2020, 19:55 3 weeks ago
    Thank you both for your responses. I totally get it. That's weird though, the times I've talked to FMOD about it they seem very accommodating to 3rd party integrations.

    Just a quick correction though, that yes, the base license is $2k but the fine print is that if your annual revenue for the product is under $200,000 it's completely free, which would probably be the case for most of us.

    Looking forward to Simon's new audio engine!

    Newbie

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  • #5, by lance-montgomerySaturday, 26. December 2020, 19:55 3 weeks ago
    Thank you both for your responses. I totally get it. That's weird though, the times I've talked to FMOD about it they seem very accommodating to 3rd party integrations.

    Just a quick correction though, that yes, the base license is $2k but the fine print is that if your annual revenue for the product is under $200,000 it's completely free, which would probably be the case for most of us.

    Looking forward to Simon's new audio engine!

    Newbie

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  • #6, by afrlmeSaturday, 26. December 2020, 21:30 3 weeks ago
    The sound engine is already available. I don't know if he plans on tweaking it anymore, but you can currently create new audio mixers, different types of audio containers, apply various effects, control volume levels, control hp & lp filter cutoff, apply automation, control sends, etc.

    It's not a proper DAW so don't expect too much out of it.

    Anyway, another reason against using FMOD is that most Visionaire Studio users are using it because the software is easy to use. Most of them are unwilling to even attempt the scripting side of the engine, so you can't expect them to figure out (let alone have the patience to learn) how to use FMOD, which is essentially a music production DAW, such as Cubase, Ableton, etc - actually looking at screenshots of it, it reminds me very much of Ableton based on the minimal UI design.

    In regards to the licenses, yes I know that under 200k in sales means you don't have to pay for a license, but I believe based on the licenses page that the total is applied to all games you are currently selling that used FMOD in them.

    Also I don't know whether or not this still applies, but a few years ago when the ex VS dev looked into FMOD, they also wanted the engine to pay a yearly fee to implement & use FMOD in the game engine. I think it was quite pricey. My memory is a bit fuzzy on the details as it was quite a while ago.

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