So Long, and Thanks For All The Tweets
One opinion on Game Audio communities in 2023 and beyond
Communities need a central place without barriers for visibility that helps people network, learn from each other, get new perspectives, find jobs, have visibility outside their own bubbles and with quality people at the top to maintain positive vibes.
For a moment in time it seems #gameaudio on Twitter has been the central hub for all things audio with a helpful, welcoming, and kind community. In recent times the zeitgeist is shifting. It is possible, even likely, Twitter will go down in a blaze of hate speech and chaos with toxic fumes of burnout and crunch. For now, the benefits outweigh the cons and if you ignore the endless scrolling and toxic communities it’s a golden resource for audio folks. Now the community is spreading out onto dozens of platforms each with their own discussions, & focuses.
Several Slacks, Dozens of Discords, Airwiggles, Some Subreddits, FB Groups & forums have all gathered game audio folks all with a unique format, focus and vibe. Each individual channel offers tighter discussions with deeper insights and more focused discourses with back and forth chats. Particular when they are smaller with fewer folks and put emphasis on equal voicing in the community without some voices drowning out others.
However, none of them have come close to hitting the size and diversity of the Twitter pro audio community that it’s taken a decade to build and it’s unlikely any of them will with their tighter focus. This also means, for the time being, the community seems to need Twitter.
A single post from any user on Twitter that gets visibility with the right re-tweets and 400 likes can get 15,000–30,000 impressions. Here are two examples from posts I’ve made:
Metrics like that mean people trying to get their break anywhere in the world can network with most of the pro audio community. I know dozens of people who have gotten their breaks and networked this way and I’m sure there are many more that used Twitter as a launchpad to success.
What a beautiful thing! From 0 connections to 30,000 in 24 hours from anywhere on this planet by showing videos of their skills. No Discords, Slacks, or social platforms have nearly this level of reach to help people build careers and make connections.
Twitter is also one of the best for casting a wide net for discussions. While Slacks and Discords have better focused discussions with more back and forth personal thoughts, Twitter casts a gigantic net across the internet to gather thoughts from audio pros across the world. When Reaper could use a new feature we can suggest it to thousands of pros who may desire it and upvote it on the forum yielding much faster results on tool improvements. I can post thoughts about a plug-in and get ideas from dozens of audio folks worldwide: People from game audio and post production, both young and old, including experienced award winners and complete newbies all offering unique perspectives and thoughts on things.
Twitter has massive outreach outside our industry as well. Getting retweeted by regular gamedevs helps people see what we do and inspires them to think more about audio. This is always a battle for our industry and Twitter greatly raises awareness for how audio can elevate an experience.
Unless we find or build some sort of central platform, led and moderated by a group of folks with the positive game audio vibes I’ve grown to love, that amasses thousands of regular participants we’ll never replace Twitter. Many of us are searching for the next big thing, but it won’t exist unless we work hard to cultivate it and hit a critical mass of regular participants to provide value on the scale Twitter gives the audio community. It seems likely there won’t be another Twitter for our community for 5–10 years if we leave and perhaps never again.
For global community outreach and visibility there is no existing substitute. As I consider leaving it feels a bit selfish. It’s important to consider newcomers to audio and the value Twitter provides them for visibility and outreach. There is a massive skill gap in the industry and it’s up to the pros to help fill that gap for the benefit of everyone. The next generation of audio pros have been robbed of in person social gatherings and social media is the main means of connection for them.
We’re all very different, but we all share the joy and love of sound and that unifying thread of the #Gameaudio hashtag is a wonderful thing to tie us all together. Nothing lasts forever. It’s essential to enjoy good things while they last. It’s been wonderful seeing all you brilliant and supportive folks in the community on this site.
THE PLAN — CALL TO ACTION
I need your help! This is a call to action. It’s clear there is no current substitute for Twitter, but we can build our own solution to fill the needs listed above. We need ideas to build the next central thread that ties us all together. A space to capture the heart of GDC Sightglass coffee meetups and elevate our craft and each other through conversations.
If you would like to contribute and be a part of making this central audio signal boosting community DM me and I’ll write to you as things proceed.
For now, Download and Backup your Twitter. This gets you an archive with all your content to re-share on future platforms and have a copy of all your Twitter posts. It took me about 24 hours to get a download link and it has all my posts and videos. When we have a new platform you can comb through your best posts and share it all over again!
Soon, I’ll be rolling out a Discord server in hopes it will fill the gap as a central place for audio folks to gather and post. I’ll update here and on social media when it’s ready. Until then there are other communities run by fantastic audio people below.
ONLINE GAME AUDIO GROUPS
While none of these have the reach of Twitter, and can’t be a replacement for it, they are great smaller communities with focused reach worth joining.
Before you join these groups, be sure to be kind and listen as much as you post. Game audio communities are a supportive place and it’s important we do our best to make lives easy on the moderators to keep things peaceful.
If the discord invites timeout and don’t work leave a comment on Twitter and myself or someone else can get you an invite :)
- Airwiggles: https://airwiggles.com
- Wwise Discord: https://discord.gg/P3Mtpdsw
- Game Audio Forum: https://thegameaudio.com/phpbb/
- Blipsounds Discord: https://discordservers.com/server/336939341710360576
- The Composer Network Discord: https://discord.gg/rabkGaqC
- GameAudio Learning Study Group: https://discord.gg/7RWPeWPD
- GameDev Central Station: https://discord.gg/devcentralstation
- Sound Design Discord: https://discord.gg/rz6yCssA
- Cohost: https://cohost.org/
- Black In Game Audio Discord: https://discord.gg/hEguphYw
- Other Audio Discords/Slacks/Forums: I surely missed some. If you have suggestions for this list and want to open up invites let me know!
- Field Recording Slack: https://join.slack.com/t/fieldrecording/shared_invite/zt-9ztc9xnn-uyP2nh~ggPBDUungKc7nAA
- Game Audio Slack: Contact @tporter64 on twitter.
- World Game Audio Groups —LINK A Google map populated with physical and online groups dedicated to game audio.
- Mastodon — Although decentralized, can lack privacy options (Owners of instances can read DMs without encryption) and to do it right requires hosting, it’s costly per month, lacks a big user base for sharing, has clunky onboarding and takes a fair amount of time for hundreds of users. If we make our own group of folks contributing to do it right it could work.