Guide RobotSfx Guide


Basic questions

How do I choose which format I would like?

It depends on whether you want to convert the sounds yourself and have an original high quality for tweaking later on, or if you want me to compress the files for you.
I recommend that you use a compressed format (such as .mp3) for computer games and uncompressed formats (like .wav) for movies and podcasts, ect.

How should I name my files?

The naming convention is important because you should be able to tell your sounds apart just by their names. If more sounds are part of the same category it is a good idea to make this the first part of their name, so when sorted alphabetically all sound from the same group will be listed next to eachother. I prefer that all sounds have a two digit ending starting at "_00". This is handy since most of the projects I have encountered are running in Unity and the first item in all lists in Unity are number 0.
Another great tip for naming your files is to use underscore "_" a lot. Ideally the underscore symbol shows the hierachy of sounds and should make it possible to have hundreds of sound files in the same folder without it getting messy. The first word characterizes the familiy of sounds e.g. "SpaceStation", next is the subcategories "EngineRoom", "Door", and the last word is the action of the sound "Open". Using this our sound file will look like this: SpaceStation_EngineRoom_Door_Open_00. If there are more people working on your project it's best if the sounds are as self-explanatory as possible. If it's just you, you can consider shortening the name e.g. SS_Engine_Door_Open_00.

How do I know how long my files should be?

Longer files take up more space. Some game developers would like dry short sounds that they themselves can alter with reverb inside the game engine, others want the sounds to be completely ready from the get go and have them reverberated. With ambiences it is always a trade of. Short ambiences are more likely to be discovered as loops, especially water and humans talking, where long ambiences quickly can take up a lot of space. You should also carefully consider how long you want your jingles since a celebration jingle for example can be awkward if it is too long and on the other hand not very powerful if they are too short.

How do I describe what I want?

Describing sounds isn't easy. A good description consists of 4-8 keywords, references, approximate length, a descriptive name and a short sentence explaining how the sound should be used.
If the sound file is supposed to be a loop it is important to note.

What is good reference material?

References to movies and games are ok, and pictures of relevant artwork is fine. It's always nice with audio of some kind. Videoes are great, and screen recordings of your game are almost certain to generate a satisfying result. If you have the possibility you should even consider exporting animations of the more specific elements you want the custom made sound effects to match.
Since I do not (yet) have the functionality to let you upload files directly, I recommend uploading your videoes on YouTube.com, Vimeo.com or a similar service. Another solution is to attach a link to the files you want me to use as reference material. I'm using Dropbox.com myself for this purpose but Google Drive or any other cloud storage service can be used as long as I can download your material.
If you're using youtube, you can add a time code at the end of the link to make the video start at a desired time. If you want your video to start 28 seconds in, you add "&t=0m28s".

Reverb, or not?

Please consider if you want to have a reverb-effect hardcoded on your sounds or not. Most game engines have some sort of built-in reverb generator - but using these will require a bit more work with the leveldesign. It is also an issue that the built-in reverb is limited in it's quality. In my experience it can be very hard to get the exact reverb effect you want. Therefore it is sometimes a better solution to just order your sounds reverberated and hope for the best. For user interface sounds it's very rare to apply reverb since they are supposed to exist in the top-layer of the game and therefore shouldn't be too blurry. It's important that these sounds clearly convey their information.



Explanation of different types of Sound Effects

What is an Ambience/Loop?

Ambiences sets the mood of the scene and are always a looped file. It's the rain falling, the wind blowing, the traffic rumbling, children playing, insects buzzing, the waterfall, the torch burning, the increased strength aura, the engine running, ect. An ambience sometimes consists of more than one sound layer. E.g. the jungle where it rains, the insects are buzzing, frightening alien roaring animals, along with the broken engine sizzling - yes this can all be included in a single ambience. Remember, however, that it is almost always a better choice to seperate these sounds to make the game scene more dynamic and adaptive.

What is a Jingle?

A jingle is often a small piece of music designed to tell the player that he has completed something or failed at something. It can be used when you level up, open a chest, complete a level, kill the boss, find a secret, get a bonus, die, ect.
Jingles are very complicated to construct and therefore also needs very detailed descriptions.

You can listen to a demo of jingles I've made here.

What is a Simple Sound Effect?

A simple sound effect normally consists of just one non-vocal sound. Examples are sword hits, doors being used, simple explosions, normal gunshots, a camera click, bone break, point count, ect.

What is an Ultra Simple Sound Effect?

For ultra simple sounds which normally have a "play random" feature I will provide you with more than just one sound effect without any extra cost. I will pick out these sounds from the list of simple sounds you order and highlightet in the confirmation mail you receive. Examples include Footsteps, Body Movement, Water Drips, Eating, ect.

What is an Advanced Sound Effect?

Examples are sounds connected to an animation (remember to supply me with a download link), voices, long sounds, synthesized sounds and sounds which consists of more than a single kind of sound.



Business Model questions

How is the estimated delivery time calculated?

I expect to always have the ability to get started right away when confirming your payment. Different genres and aesthetics have very different challenges which can impact the delivery time. I always strive to deliver as soon as possible although very large projects will be delivered within fourteen days - if I fail at meeting this deadline I will make it up to you by giving you your next order at half price.

I get one iteration?

This basically is an extra life. If some of the sound effects you ordered doesn't live up to your expectations and needs to be tweaked in some way or the other - this is included in the price. It is of course preferred both from my customers and from myself that the delivered sound effects are flawless from the get go but this is not always the case. Since it is kind of a grey area whether my understanding or the desciption of the sound is at fault I always tend to favor my customers. As a general rule of thumb, the feedback I receive for the iteration should be more detailed explanations of the previous description, and not something completely new.
For example the description of a sound called Spell_Jingle was: "magical, shining, positive, dangerous, destructive, organic and powerful". References were the Ents from Lord of the Rings, Healing spells, and Transformers. In making this I choose to implant a deep breathing sound as part of the sound effect because Ents and Transformers are living breathing creatures. It turned out, however, that this was not what the customer had in mind. In this case I will without a doubt remove the breathing sound from the sound effect as the iteration. If the customer on the other hand wanted the sound effect to include orchestra scoring this should have been part of initial description and will not be done as a iteration.



Other questions

Who makes the sound effects?

My name is Morten, and I'm a professional sound designer and producer. I have professional experience with audio design and audio production, and have a Master of Science in Audio Design. I believe that great game sound makes great games, and are always making sure that the design of every sound is as professional and interesting as possible.

How do I pay?

You pay using PayPal. When you receive your confirmation mail, the total price for your sound effects are included.

What are your terms and conditions on using the free stuff?

CC BY 4.0

Attribute Morten Barfod S√łegaard, Little Robot Sound Factory, and provide this link where possible: www.littlerobotsoundfactory.com
And include this image: Little Robot Sound Factory Logo

What if I don't want to use the form?

Then don't. Just send me a mail with a description of what you need, to contact(at)littlerobotsoundfactory.com, and I will be happy to help.
I made the form to be helpful in ordering sound effects - if you think it's not doing its job, you don't have to use it.