Ambient sounds & audio middleware

Ambient sounds & audio middleware

Outdated licensing information!

The licensing information for FMOD and WWISE has changed singe the writing of this document. The main idea is the same: FMOD has a “generous” free version and when you need to pay, it is still a lot cheaper.

One of the most important things in crafting this little piece of New York is the ambient sounds. I really want to immerse the player in the world and it is done with audio.

for the ambience, I will be needing a 3D soundscape of the traffic, the harbour machinery, sea, wildlife, distant people, wind, sirens, etc.. I want the sounds to change based on your location as you will be traveling trough the streets and the machine shops and terminals and shipping bays and warehouses. The soundscape has to be able to change radically based on your location this being an open world game after all.

Playing trough the flashbacks will also need to be heard: different times of the day will have wildly different ambiances. Right now I have no idea how to create a living, evolving, infinitely looping dynamic ambiance that breathes in and out as you zip past audio emitters in your car, but by the end of this journey I will!

Audio middleware options

Audio is the part of development I have not done professionally in my career and thus that is where I have the most learning to do.


After a quick google search I found a tool called FMOD and that is what I will be trying out first. FMOD is free for games with budget up to 500k and this will comfortably fit within that range! (It is a zero).

FMOD, that is a great price!


The reigning audio middleware champion, Wwise, has a free indie licence too, but has a limit of 500 audio assets. I plan to do full voice over for all characters, so 500 assets will be burned trough quite fast in a game with this much dialoque!

Wwise licencing


Fabric has a free indie licence too, but as I did some research into audio middleware, it became clear that it might be a little bit too limited for what I am after, Fabric 3.0 was supposed to be released early this year, but this being 2020 nothing has come out yet, It might have been a great option.

Fabric has a great price too!


Luckily people seem to love city sounds for white noise or some good old ASMR, so there are plenty of references online. Now I just need to somehow recreate these!


If you have any tips on great (cheap) music services with full access to separate audio tracks (like Epidemic sounds, but for games), please drop a comment! Hot tips on amateur voice acting talent are a lovely thing too! Voice acting I can not do alone, I will need help there, but there is no money so that is that… Hobbyists are welcome!

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