Undergraduate Degree




DM3011         Sound Design for Interactive Media

[Studio Contact Hours: 39 hours; Self-directed learning: 13 hours; Pre-requisite: DM2008; Academic Unit: 4.0]




Academic Unit


4 AU

Course Description


Learning Objective

Students will learn aspects of theory, application, and function of sound in interactive media including computer games.


Sound is a key element in interactive media experiences including computer games.

The course is an introduction to creative sound design. It covers the handling of audio in various digital formats and diffusion arrangements including binaural audio; the perception of sound sources, soundscapes, dialogue, and music; the principles of auditory icons and communication of non-verbal sonic messages; and the role of the audio specialist in a game developing team. Students will receive practical guidance in working with hardware tools for recording and software tools for audio editing and sequencing. Students will build a sound library through collecting and annotating their own audio recordings as well as investigating and acquiring shared and commercial sound resources. They will be working creatively with sound, and have the opportunity to experiment further with game audio design using a game engine.

Course Outline





2 - 6

  • Perceiving sound
  • Roles of sound in multi-media Using online audio resources
  • Basic techniques for recording voices, objects, and spaces 
  • Basic techniques for audio editing and sequencing


Mid-semester review of assignments​

8 - 12

  • Creating a sound library
  • Using audio in a game engine and other interactive media
  • Further techniques for recording, sequencing, and use of effects
  • Creative project

11 - 13

  • Final Project Discussion: Review of final projects; and
  • Final Project Critique: Presentation of final projects.
  • Final review of assignments (Week 13)

Learning Outcome

Through participation in this course, students will gain familiarity with the basic principles and techniques of sound design for fixed and dynamic (interactive) media. They will acquire a broad understanding of audio perception, enabling them to think of sound as a material that can be organised, transformed, generated, and integrated in an interactive, game-like experience. On completion of this course, students will have acquired a firm grasp of the fundamentals of sound design for interactive media. This will enable them to develop their own skills further, and feel confident in their future professional exchanges and team-work with sound design specialists.

Student Assessment


Students are assessed based on continuous assessment and assignments.

 30% - Participation through continuous assessment of classroom activity, including evidence of student-initiated activity in group discussions and critiques; effective leading and following in group work situations; contribution to classmates’ development and work.

 15% - Assignment 1 (Audio Sequencing)

 10% - Assignment 2 (Written Report)

 15% - Assignment 3 (Technical Investigation)

 30% - Assignment 4 (Creative Project)

Tasks and assessment rubrics of each assignment are defined elsewhere (e.g. http://www.soundatadm.tk/)​


Suggested Reading:

  • Cancellaro J (2005). Exploring Sound Design for Interactive Media. (Design Exploration). Delmar Cengage Learning.
  • Farnell A (2010). Designing Sound. Applied Scientific Press. ISBN 9780262014410.
  • Grimshaw M, Tan SL, Lipscomb S (2013). "Playing with sound: The role of music and sound effects in gaming." Ch. 13 in The psychology of music in multimedia (eds. Tan, Cohen, Lipscomb, Kendall). p. 289-314.
  • Marks A & Novak J (2009). Game Development Essentials. Delmar Cengage Learning.
  • Sound Unbound (2008) (ed. Miller P aka DJ Spooky). MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-63363-9.
  • Stevens R, Raybould D (2013). The Game Audio Tutorial : A Practical Guide to Creating and Implementing Sound and Music for Interactive Games. Taylor & Francis. eISBN 9780240817279, http://NTUSG.eblib.com.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=680826 (acc. Oct. 2014).
  • Wishart T (1996). Audible Design. Orpheus the Pantomime. ISBN 095103137.