With the system set up within Wwise, I went out to record some footsteps with my Zoom H4n portable recorder. I went out to a field as far away from the roads in Hatfield as possible. While the weather was very windy on this day, I still managed to get good grass footsteps recordings by setting up my microphone on a tripod with a hill to the backside of the microphone. This allowed me to avoid the majority of the wind sounds in my recordings as the hill would act as a wind block low to the ground where my feet were. I made multiple recordings of footsteps from various positions so that I would have a larger pool of source recordings to work with.
With my recordings collected, I next had to clean up the sounds. For this task I used Izotope RX.
As my recordings contained a fair amount of noise throughout, the cleaning up stage was a very important one when preparing sounds for use in game. The first step was to remove the lower frequencies using the EQ function. The footsteps frequency content exists in the high-mid area so I could remove a decent amount from the bottom end without affecting the content that I needed.
The next step was to use spectral denoise to remove the unwanted background noise of distant traffic and wind from my recordings. To do this I selected a section of noise from my recordings and used the learn feature to create a profile of the noise. I then selected the whole audio file and changed the parameters while checking the output only to make sure I was only removing noise and not the footstep content. This process then left me with a clean recording of the footsteps which I then loaded into Reaper to begin editing.
With the audio file imported into Reaper, I began by converting the stereo file into just the left channel in mono. I did this as it would be much more difficult to realistically pan a stereo audio file in Wwise to simulate each leg.
I then sliced up the file at the transients of the footsteps that I liked the sound of, however some steps ended up being unusable due to the bird sounds in the background.
Once I had collected my samples and added fades to each one, I realised that some steps had more of a shoe impact, while others had more of a grass/foliage texture. Due to this, I decided to layer my favourite impact sounds with the best grass textures to create steps with more character and fullness.
As a final step to add some variation, I automated a frequency shifter to slightly alter each step. This would make each step sound similar yet unique.
A great feature of Reaper is that it allows for batch exporting of multiple audio files at once which is perfect for making footsteps! To do this I created regions for each step and then its as simple as choosing to export all regions, each one getting an automatic incremental file name. They are now ready for implementation into Wwise!
In the next post I will explain how I connected the Wwise footstep system to be useable within Unreal!