home | DMPOST 21 (et39) - digital audio design for games - spring 2020


David Javelosa

Office Hours - CMD 220:


#1860 9:30a.m.-12:35p.m. Wed. CMD 209

Copyright © 2012-2020 David Javelosa unless otherwise stated.

course notes


class assignments
resource page

week 01 notes
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: check these weekly

: information - jobs/internships, etc.

: introduction to game audio and class overview
: physics of sound, Digital Audio basics
: history of game audio & synthesis basic, intro to SFXR - SFX template (synthesis)
: sound editing, dialog and sound effects, recording sources and sample libraries
: compositing sound, looping and layerings, intro to Audacity
: sound effects assignment due (audio), sound design
: sound and music to visual game play, ambient looping
: branching loops due - desiging sound to picture and script
: Protools/Gamemaker as a musical composition tool, automation & MIDI
: MIDI pt.2 - audio production for animation
: video score midterm project due
: sound & music for Gamemaker, interactive audio basics
: layer loop tester - sound design for multiple entertainment platforms, repurposing
: interactive environments, looping vs. hits, web audio in Flash
: track loop tester - review and prep for final exam & final project
: final project due



Course Description

This computer based course will introduce students to the fundamentals of digital audio design and provide them with the basic tools to use the technology appropriately, creatively, and effectively. The course will focus on audio for games, digital media, and electronic music implementation. Practical experience will be balanced by an emphasis on understanding the fundamentals of the technology and its applications within the interactive game industry.

Topics covered will include principles of good audio design; the essential hardware and software tools of music production in a digital environment; characteristics and differences between various audio formats; basic principles of sound waveform editing; and recording techniques for interactive and video integration.


Course Objectives




Arranged Hours Objectives


Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course the student will be able to:

· Have a historical knowledge of digtal audio technologies, formats and applications
· Create sound effects and audio backgrounds for interactive and linear visual mediums
· Have a current understanding of digital audio applications for today’s interactive entertainment technology
· Think critically and analyze audio in class and in a game design environment
· Increase understanding of and skill with digital audio tools through assignments
· To create digital audio content suitable for accompanying portfolio projects


Review concepts and software techniques in class


Apply concepts and software techniques on student projects


Gain familiarity in the game audio production process through repetition

  1. Able to communicate the principles of good audio design and identify the tools and techniques required to produce high quality audio.
  2. Able to record, edit and synch multi-track digital audio projects in a professional game studio environment.



Recommended Skills

Computer literacy course or equivalent. Students must be familiar with the use of the Windows OS, including files and folders, launching applications, open/save, cut, copy, paste, and undo, use of the desktop, and an understanding of basic applications and file management.


Navigate the internet using a web browser.


Manage files using either the Mac or Windows operating systems.


Send and receive email messages and attachments.


Use a word processing program like Microsoft Word or its equivalent.



Arranged Hours



This course requires 2 hours a week of arranged lab hours. They can be done off-site.



  • Sound Design for Interactive Media, Joseph Cancellaro, Thomson delmar Learning
  • Sound and Music for Multimedia by David Javelosa, M&T Books/IDG Press
  • Pro Audio Reference by Dennis A. Bohn, Rane Corp, isbn 978-0-9723607-1-5
  • Sound and Recording, Rumsey and McCormick, Focal Press
  • Great Resources: http://www.audiographintlstore.com/default.as
  • Walter Murch Articles






Methods of Presentation


You will need USB memory sticks and/or CD-Rs to backup and transport your work. Assignments and projects will be turned in on CD-R, or delivered electronically to the Academy server if smaller than 10 megs.

Remember to label your memory sticks and CD-Rs with your name and phone number. Students often lose their items by leaving them in the classroom or lab. Labeling your media will increase the chance you will find them in the lost & found.

Lecture, discussion, demonstrations, hands-on projects, in-class computer lab


Methods of Evaluation














Grading is determined by participation and the timely completion of all assignments, projects and exams. Assignments and projects will be judged on technical execution and/or mastery of the underlying concepts. All coursework submitted must be original, completed solely by you.. Full attendance is especially necessary since the projects must reflect successful solutions to the design issues raised in class. A pattern of late arrivals to class may result in a lowered grade or being dropped after 2 missed classes. Assignments must be turned in on time, or the grade will be lowered. Final projects that are submitted late will NOT be accepted.

Students will be graded according to the originality of their approach to the medium, competence in planning, as well as, overall understanding and progress demonstrated in assignments, projects, tests and discussions. Projects are due on the date listed on the syllabus.

To receive full credit, all assignments are due on time. Students are responsible for submitting all work on time regardless of absence. Emailing late assignments is NOT allowed. A late assignment may be submitted in class one week after the due date with one grade drop. No assignments will be accepted after that. Students must complete 75% of the coursework, including the final project, to pass the course. Final projects that are submitted late will NOT be accepted.

Attendance and class participation: 10%
Sound Effect Project: 10%
Branching Audio Project: 10%
Video Post Midterm: 20%
Loop Layer Project: 10%
Track Layer Project: 10%
FINAL game template Project: 20%

Total 100%




Superior performance. Excellent achievement and craftsmanship in all work. Performs beyond course requirements.




Above average performance. Consistent progress and craftsmanship. Meets all course requirements.




Average performance. Minimum time and effort spent on coursework. Fulfills basic course requirements.




Uneven performance. Minimal output and improvement in work. Requirements are only partially fulfilled.



60% and below

Fails to meet a minimum of performance levels. Does not exhibit achievement or progress.


Withdrawal Policy

Students are responsible for withdrawing from a class and must not expect faculty to initiate withdrawal procedures for them. If you wish to drop this class, you may do so through the Admissions section of the SMC website,http://www.smc.edu/EnrollmentDevelopment/Admissions/Pages/default.aspx.

Please note the drop dates for the current term listed at http://www.smc.edu/EnrollmentDevelopment/Admissions/Pages/Dates-and-Deadlines.aspx. The deadlines and dates for this term are also listed at the end of this syllabus.

After the eighth week of classes, students must have faculty approval and documentable extenuating circumstances to withdraw.  Extenuating circumstances are unavoidable circumstances that prevent students from participating in further class activities and fulfilling remaining course requirements. Poor student performance in the course will NOTbe considered as an extenuating circumstance.




The sixteen week schedule is provided below for your information.  Click here for the complete schedule including 8 week sessions.


Tuesday, February 18

Presidents' Day Holiday (CAMPUS CLOSED).

Monday, February 17

*Remember: Students can enroll themselves into open classes until the night before the second class meeting (except online, hybrid and arranged hour classes). After that point an instructor's approval code will be required.


Deadline to withdraw and receive REFUND (16 week session).

Visit your Corsair Connect portal for specific deadline dates.

Departmental Flex Day (NO CLASSES) CAMPUS OPEN.

Friday, March 6

Deadline to withdraw and AVOID "W".

Visit your Corsair Connect portal for specific deadline dates.

Institutional Flex Day (NO CLASSES) CAMPUS OPEN.

Tuesday, March 10

Deadline to apply for Pass/No Pass.

Visit your Corsair Connect portal for course-specific deadline and to apply.

Deadline to withdraw and receive GUARANTEED "W". No further enrollment transactions allowed after this deadline. From this point on, students must use the late withdrawal process which requires faculty approval based on extenuating circumstances.

Visit your Corsair Connect portal for course-specific "Guaranteed W" deadline dates.


April 13-17

Deadline to submit "Petition for Graduation" Spring Semester.

Wednesday, April 15

Memorial Day Holiday (CAMPUS CLOSED).

Monday, May 25, 2020

Spring Semester Final Exams.

June 9 - 16

End of Spring Semester.

Tuesday, June 16

Grades dues from Faculty.

Tuesday, June 23


Final Dates

#1860 9:30a.m.-12:35p.m. Wed.. CMD 209

June 10, 2020


Classroom Policy

Academic Honesty
The SMC Honor Code and Code of Academic Integrity, printed in the General Catalog, remind students of their responsibility to behave honestly and ethically. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with these codes. Please be extremely careful that you do not engage in any behavior that could even be construed as cheating. Outside of class, students are allowed to study together.  However, copying another student's work is not acceptable. If the instructor determines that students have violated the SMC Honor Code and/or the Code of Academic Integrity, the students may be assigned no credit. Future occurrences could result in academic disciplinary action. During an exam, talking to another student, looking at another student's paper or computer screen, using cheat notes or mobile devices, etc. are not permitted.

Students are expected to attend ALL class sessions, especially the first scheduled session. Lectures and hands-on demonstrations will not be repeated for individual students. Please make a commitment to be in class on time even if you have not completed the current assignment. You are responsible for notifying your instructor in advance of any absence or scheduling conflict. You may be dropped from the class if you miss more than two consecutive classes without notifying your instructor.

Classroom Policy
Food or drink is prohibited in the classroom with the exception of water bottles which are permitted as long as they remain closed and kept away from all equipment. Use of the computers for purposes other than the assignments for this class is not permitted. No cell phone or smart phone use will be permitted in the classroom. Please turn off all electronic devices prior to entering the classroom.

Recording of Class Lectures
In accordance with Section 78907 of the California Education Code, students shall not use any electronic listening or recording device in any classroom without the prior consent of the instructor, except as necessary to provide reasonable auxiliary aids and academic adjustments to disabled students.

Students with Disabilities
Santa Monica College accommodates students with disabilities.  If you qualify for any special accommodations due to a disability, you need to officially process your request through the Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS) office as close to the beginning of the semester as possible.  If you believe you have a learning disability that has not yet been documented, please notify the instructor and make an appointment at the DSPS office for assistance.  The DSPS office is located in the Admissions/Student Services Complex, Room 101, and the phone numbers are (310) 434-4265 and (310) 434-4273 (TDD). Scheduling of accommodated exams will be arranged on a case-by-case basis.

Emergency Prepardedness
The safety of students at SMC is a priority. Please note that emergency procedures are posted in this classroom and every classroom. Also, procedures for various emergencies are delineated on the SMC website. Please take the time to familiarize yourself with these procedures today, when knowledge of what to do can be the most effective."


Students should schedule an appointment with the counselors in Student Services, CMD 116, to develop an Educational Plan. This is to ensure that you are taking the necessary courses to prepare meet your educational goals.

During the first two weeks of the semester, appointments are on a walk-in basis only.

Counselors’ Spring 2020 contact info to be announced.



College use of
student work

By participating in this course, you agree to allow your work to be used by Santa Monica College for promotional purposes. These uses include, but are not limited to, display in physical and web galleries, promotional video tapes, and printed promotional pieces. You retain complete rights to your work, and Santa Monica College may not use your work for non-promotional purposes without your prior agreement.



Copyright © 2005 - 2020 David Javelosa