Getting Started with FMOD Studio and UE4

Checked with: Version 4.6  04/01/2016

In this video we’ll go through setting up FMOD Studio for UE4 and I’ll give you a tour of the level we’ll be creating in this series.

 

Download FMOD Studio for UE4 and the tutorial assets from the Downloads Page

   

Transcript

Hi and welcome to the FMOD Studio and Unreal Engine 4 video tutorial series.

We are coming to you from FMOD HQ here in Melbourne, Australia and my name is Sally Kellaway.  Now, I am a sound designer by trade and am here show you how to use Studio to its fullest potential and most importantly, to start showing you how to integrate FMOD Studio in to Unreal Engine 4, using the Blueprints feature.

So, let’s get started, and to start off, what we actually have to do is we have to make sure that we have the most recent version of FMOD Studio installed.  This video uses version 1.05.03, but just double check the Downloads Page what the most recent version is and make sure that your version of FMOD Studio, the integration and UE4 are consistent.

UE4 integration on downloads page

Where to check on the downloads page for your UE4 integration – the compatible version information is listed in the headers.

 

(1:23) We will start by finding the right spot for our UE4 assets pack, now this is an Unreal project so it needs to go into the folder where Unreal saves your projects. For me, that is in the Documents folder, in the folder called ‘Unreal Projects’.  If you have changed this setting yourself, or if you have a different place that you save your Unreal projects, save it in that location so that you can see it in the browser when you open it up Unreal.  But I will just click ‘new folder’. I am just going to copy and paste all of these files in.

(2:15) So the next thing that we will do is we will actually install the Plugin.

(2:22) So we will just open up this Plugin folder and we can see that there is an ‘engine’ folder and there is the FMOD Studio Integration little Read Me file. That contains a few basic instructions for installing the plugin.

(2:36) On a Microsoft system, navigate to the Main drive.  And in your Program files folder, find your Unreal engine folder, your version number, and then see this engine folder?  All we need to do is copy and paste.  And Windows will automatically merge all of those files for the plugin into the engine folder.

Installation for Windows

Where to install your integration on a Windows system.

(3:10) On a Macintosh system, what you will need to do, is you will need to navigate to this path, you will need to navigate to users – shared – Unreal Engine, as opposed to perhaps the Unreal engine folders that you can access through the app folder. Definitely follow this path so that you can install the plugin appropriately.

Mac system installation.

Where to place your FMOD Plugin on a Mac system.

If you need more instructions, there is more documentation online.  

(3:45) Next, let’s check that the integration into Unreal was successful. So I will just double click to open my project in the Open dialog.

(4:14) So, to check that we have installed the plugin correctly, you can see in the help menu here that FMOD help menu has installed.  But the other thing we can check is the Edit menu, hit Project Settings, and you can also see right here in the Plugin section that you have an FMOD Studio setting right here.

(4:37) So that means that your plugin has all installed and is ready to go.  But one thing I want to show you, just really quickly, is the output format option right here.

(4:47) So when we set up our FMOD Studio project, this output format in the Advanced section of the plugin options, and we need to mirror that setting in Unreal.  So I am going to create a Surround 5.1 output FMOD Studio project, I am going to preemptively select this Surround 5.1 output format option right here.

FMOD Settings.

FMOD Settings in the Unreal Edit Project Settings dialog.

(5:22) It automatically saves so you do not need to worry about trying to find a save option in this window.

(5:30) So this is the level, I will just quickly show you around and I will show you what we will cover off in each of the tutorials.

 

This is one of six videos, so we will cover different sound design and implementation tasks in each of the tutorials.

(5:35) In the next video, we are going to design an ambience sound, and we are going to design a point source sound for our twister right here.

(6:01) We have a lovely character here, comes with all of his animations for running, walking, jumping.  This character is from the Mixamo character animation pack, which is available on the UE4 market place.

(6:17) Now, the very first thing that we are going to look at to design sound for is the ambience for the level, so there is a couple of wind sounds in there and also some birds and dogs, and these assets are all supplied by the Sound Librarian.

(6:38) The third video in the series we look at this twister right here, so this twister we used some more wind sounds, we layer them up with a distance parameter so that we can get a different sound as we run towards the twister.

(6:58) We will also design a ducking snapshot effect there so we do not hear the character sounds quite as much when we are right in the twister.  There is also some 3D panner automation on there, we do that through a sub mix.  So we are going to look at all of these skills in that one video on this twister.

(7:29) And then, in the 4th video, we will follow that up by looking closer at the character right here and we will do some sound design for his footsteps, for his vocalisations and we will look at how we hook all of those up through the Animation feature in Unreal.

(7:45) The 5th video, we are going to look at snapshots, and how we are going to use them across the whole level.  So we will start off just by designing a reverberation for the tunnel.  We look at how to trigger reverberation in an area, with the fade in and fade out with an AHDSR.

(8:10) We also look at designing a grenade sound effect, that includes some hearing damage effects such as the sine tone and a low pass filter.  So when you throw it you can here that there is some ducking, there is definitely some low pass filtering happening there.  There is also a sine tone that fades in. Hear how it also impacts on the twister sound.  I will show you how to create hierarchies for your snapshots.

(9:01) We end the series by setting up this awesome, vehicle right here.  So, in the 6th video, we look at designing an engine sound, that responds to the RPM of the vehicle’s engine and also to the load on the engine as well.  There is also a sand sound that happens from the tyres rolling on the ground.  We control that one with the speed parameter, so the speed that the car is travelling at.  All of these assets are provided by Soundwave Concepts.

Alright, so that is a really brief tour of the level. I am going to minimise Unreal and we will start working in FMOD Studio.

 

(10:22) Now, when you launch up FMOD Studio, it kind of looks a little bit blank and there’s not many visual cues about what you should do first – this blank canvas lets you do everything you can imagine, but let me show you an ideal workflow.  The first thing that you should do is save your FMOD Studio project.

(10:47) You do not have to save your FMOD Studio projects in with your Unreal projects, but I like to do that just because my project right now is very small and we are only going to be creating a dozen or so sounds.   If you have a larger project, you might need to save it in a different location and that is okay.

(11:25) The way that the plugin for Unreal picks up what you are doing in Studio is by looking at the Banks that you build.  In Studio, you have events, which are each of the sounds, or parts of sounds.  These events are packaged in to Banks for the game to pick up and load in to memory at the right time.

(11:40) An event is like a sound event, so it could be as simple as a footstep, or it could be as complex as our twister blowing sound.   The way that the UE4 plugin actually picks up what you are doing in studio is by looking at what is built into the banks of my FMOD project.  Because most of my project for this tutorial is going to stay quite small, I am going to just keep one bank – Master Bank.  We need to make sure that this bank is saved in a location that Unreal can it pick up, so we need to navigate to the ‘Edit’ menu and hit ‘preferences’. Then in the build preferences we need to hit ‘browse’.

Saving your banks for UE4

After opening the Edit (or FMOD Studio) menu, find the Build tab to locate your UE4 project Content folder.

(12:14) And we need to navigate back to the folder in which the Unreal project is saved.  We need to navigate to the content folder for the Unreal project and we need to select either a folder called FMOD or if you do not have that folder, you will need to create it yourself.

(12:33) So when you select the FMOD, or create the FMOD folder, just click it so it is selected and then hit ‘select folder’.  And then the path actually shows up right there.  So the other thing that we will need to do is we will need to double check what output format we are going to be working with.

(12:54) So you can choose ‘stereo’, ‘5.1’ or ‘7.1’, but I am going to be working in a surround project so I will just keep surround selected, and just remember that when we were having a look in our Unreal project, we need to make sure that in the project settings, that the FMOD studio plugin has the same output format selected right there.

 

(13:17) I am going to leave you here, and we will see you again for the next video in our series where we are going to look at the multi track ambience and placing a 3D point source sound on the twister.

So I will see you then, bye.

 

Credits and Attribution

Assets in the asset pack are provided by the Sound Librarian, Soundwave Concepts, Mixamo, Epic Games and Sally Kellaway by herself at Firelight Technologies. Please refer to the Read Me document for further information on licensing, attribution and commercial distribution.