Where can you find audio/sound effects for games?

Games are composed of many elements, with audio tracks and sound effects being among the more important aspects. Without these two elements a game will quickly become dull and undesirable. For most game developers, audio and sound effects must be acquired from an outside source as most are not composers. Finding a creditable site in which to get your audio and sound effects does not have to be a daunting task.

Here are a few tips as well as a few sources to help you in your endeavors.

Look for Royalty Free and Stock Licenses

Before getting any audio, one must ensure that the file has a royalty free license. Bluntly stated, do not download music from shareware sites as these are generally not licensed and can end up costing you a fortune should the owner decide to pursue copyright and piracy litigations.

Royalty free does not mean free music.

Rather, you generally have to pay a small fee (usually about .99 cents) for the ability to use the music or sound effect. For sites which offer “stock music” you need to ensure that the music has a royalty free license over a drop needle license. Royalty free means that you can use the item on your game over a span of time (usually as long as the game is on the market). A drop needle license means that you have to pay a certain amount per use.

Audio and Sound Effects for Games

Audio for games establishes the flow and feel of the game. Sound effects are dependent upon the user. Both are critical to the development of a successful game

One site which offers an array of music and effects for free is freesound. This sound has loops as well as sound effects and audio. The drawback to this site is that there are no categories in which to search. You have to sift through the files to find what you are looking for.

Partners in Rhyme offers a bit more organization for finding the perfect royalty free audio and sound effects. The site offers both ambient sounds as well as effects. All of this is neatly categorized into sections such as animal sound effects, horror, doors, war sounds, etc.

If you are looking for royalty free music that is uniquely created than beatorchard may be the source for you. The site offers a library of stock and royalty free audio as well as services for composed music (for those of you who have a great budget and want to have your own unique track).


Thinking Outside of the SOUND Box

If you are creating a Phaser framework game, then the odds of it having a cartoony look are rather high. Searching under stock music or sound effects may be well and good, but the sounds may be more fitting for motion graphics and high end games then for the mobile market.

One of the best sites available for these cartoon sounds can be found at soundbible. The site offers the user to download an smorgasbord of sounds. Keep a keen eye on the licensing on the site. Where most of the sounds are available with an attribution 3.0 license (meaning that you can use the audio so long as you give credit to the creator of the file in your game credits), there are a few which are licensed for personal use only.

Getting Non-Attribution Royalty Free Music

Audio and sound effects, which are downloaded for free usually, have an attribution license. For a game developer this could create quite an extensive amount of game credits needed. Most developers want to avoid this as:

  1. Credits which scroll on forever make the game less desirable for replay and
  2. Everything takes storage space.

A game that has a great deal of sounds will have a great deal of attributions (and if required, links). It is therefore recommended that a site, which offers non-attribution music be used. One such site is soundboard, which offers tracks for .99 cents without the need for attribution. This means that you can compose your audio and soundtracks accordingly without having to worry about taking up time worrying on how to ensure you don’t break any license agreement.

Getting What You Need

Audio and sound effects can be found throughout the Internet. Again, ensure that you are getting stock music that has an acceptable license. Before you start downloading and buying your royalty free music, storyboard out your game and make a list of all the sounds which will be needed. You may find that certain areas of the game do not need a sound where other areas must have a sound (such as when a gun fires). Keep in mind that every audio file you add to your game adds to the overall size of the game.

Moderation is the key.

Have a great steady looping main audio and pepper your game with effective and strategically placed sound effects and you will have a great dynamic sound for your game masterpiece.

10 comments on “Where can you find audio/sound effects for games?

  1. Nice article 😉
    Actually I’m developing a game based on Unity, and I’ve purchased all the sound effects and music from this website: http://www.earmonium.com

    They have an amazing library of royalty-free sound effects and music for game design.

  2. This was a good and informative short article. I thought some people might be interested in our website for royalty-free music and also sound effects packs. The site does some some free sounds on it, and it also has packs of high quality sounds at very affordable prices. That could save both time and money for users who don’t wish to have to hunt for loads of individual sfx online. The website id http://rocksuresoundz.com

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