Wwise Unreal 2019 – Chapter 03F: Environment – Waterfall

Created By: Game Audio Resource Ltd     Date: 09/11/2019      Version: 1.00

Wwise UE4: Chapter 03F –
Environment: Waterfall

In this step we set up Wwise with a Blend Container using a fake distance game parameter, allowing us to switch close and far audio assets based on player character/listener position distance from the waterfall source location.
We go into a lot of balancing detail in this guide, which you can then apply on other environment content you have implemented.

GUIDE STEPS:

  • STEP 01: Wwise Hierarchy
  • STEP 02: Unreal Hierarchy
  • STEP 03: Adding the Waterfall & Event Map Tagging
  • STEP 04: Test

Download the free written guide:
Wwise_Unreal_Chapter_03F_Environment_Waterfall


Video Guide


Written Guide

STEP 01:
Wwise Hierarchy

First, we set up Wwise with the waterfall content

  1. First, we set up a fake Game Parameter that we can use with the Blend Tracks.
    Navigate to the Game Syncs tab > Game Parameters.
    Right click the Default Work Unit, then select New Child > Game Parameter
    Name it: GP_Distance_5000
  2. Select the Game Parameter, then change the Range values as Following:
    > Min = 0
    > Max = 5000
    > Default = 5000
    Under the Bind to Built-In Parameter, change the drop-down list to Distance
  3. Navigate to the Audio tab > Actor-Mixer Hierarchy > Default Work Unit > Environment Work Unit.
    Right click, then select, New Child > Actor Mixer.
    Name it: ENV_Waterfall
  4. In the General Settings tab, Output Bus, change the Master Audio Bus to the Environment Audio Bus.
  5. Also, in the General Settings tab, under Game-Defined Auxiliary Sends, tick the Use game-defined auxiliary sends tick box.
  6. Right click the Actor Mixer, then select: New Child > Blend Container.
    Name it: ENV_Waterfall_Flow.
  7. With the Blend Container selected in the General Settings tab, click on the Blend Track > Edit UI button.
  8. In the Blend Track Editor Window, click on the New Blend Track UI Button.
    Name the new Blend: Waterfall Flow Distance
    Close the Blend Track Editor window.
  9. Right click the Blend Container, then select: New Child > Random Container.
  10. Copy & Paste the Random Container, so that you have 2 Random Containers.
  11. Then name each Random Container individually:
    > ENV_Waterfall_Flow_Close
    > ENV_Waterfall_Flow_Far
  12. Drag in looping close and far waterfall flowing water audio assets.
    – TIP: Sound Design: ensure the Far assets have a lot of the close detail removed & a lot of the high EQ detail have been filtered out. This gives a more distant perspective of the water flowing sound.
    Place then under the File Importer > Destination Path: SFX > Environment > Waterfall.
  13. Select each of the new looping audio assets. Then in the General Settings tab, tick the loop tick box.
  14. With the Blend Container Selected, in the Contents Editor, add the Close, then Far Random Containers to the Blend Tracks List.
  15. Open the Blend Track Editor.
  16. Tick the Crossfade tick box
  17. Click on the >> UI button. Then assign the Game Parameter: GP _Distance_5000
    Then add the following changes to the assets in the graph
    Close = 0 > 3000
    Far = 500 > 5000
  18. Navigate to the ShareSets tab. Right click the Environment Work Unit, then select: New Child > Attenuation
    Name it: ATT_ENV_Waterfall_Huge
  19. Double click the attenuation to open the Properties
    Then add the following changes:
    OUTPUT BUS VOLUME
    Change the Max Distance value to 5000
    In the graph, add a point marker at the following co-ordinates:
    X =500 & Y = 0
    Right Click the red line after the 500 point marker, then select Logarithmic (Base 3) curve
    LOW-PASS FILTER
    Select the Low-Pass Filter in the list.
    Change the drop-down menu to: Custom
    In the graph, drag the end point to 50
    Right click the blue line, then select the Logarithmic (Base 3) curve
    SPREAD
    Select the Spread list entry, then change the drop-down menu to Custom.
    In the graph, add a point marker at: X = 250 & Y = 100
    Then Add a point marker at X = 750 and Y = 8
    Right click the line between the 250 & 750 point markers, the select the: Sine (Constant Power Fade in) Curve
    Right click the line after the 750 point marker, then select the Sine (Constant Power Fade in) Curve
    FOCUS
    Select the Focus list entry, then change the drop-down menu to Custom.
    In the graph, add a point marker at: X = 250 & Y = 100
    Then Add a point marker at X = 750 and Y = 8
    Right click the line between the 250 & 750 point markers, the select the: Sine (Constant Power Fade in) Curve
    Right click the line after the 750 point marker, then select the Sine (Constant Power Fade in) Curve
  20. Navigate back to the Audio tab, ENV_Waterfall_Flow Blend Container.
  21. In the Positioning tab, add the following updates:
    Tick Override parent
    Change the Center % to: 100
    Under Listener Relative Routing > 3D Spatialization, in the drop-down menu, select: Position.
    Then under Attenuation, drag in the new Attenuation: ATT_ENV_Waterfall_Huge
  22. Right click the Blend Container, then select: New Event > Play
  23. Right Click the Blend Container, then select: New Event > Stop > Stop.
  24. Navigate to the Events tab
  25. Right click the Environment Work Unit, then select: New Child > Virtual Folder.
    Name it: ENV_Waterfall
  26. Drag the 2 new Waterfall Events into the new Virtual Folder.
  27. Then rename the Events to
    > SFX_ENV_Waterfall_Flow_Start
    > SFX_ENV_Waterfall_Flow_Stop
  28. Select each of the 2 Events individually, then add a Fade Time value of: 0.5
  29. Save the Wwise Project updates.
    Then Generate the Wwise Sound Banks.
  30. At this point we recommend you also add to further waterfall content
    SFX_ENV_Waterfall_Top
    SFX_ENV_Waterfall_Bottom
    These 2 different emitters will not need to use Blend Containers, but will have a smaller attenuation.
    We place one emitter at the top and bottom of the waterfall, allowing for a realistic waterfall detail depending on how close the player character is to the waterfall position.

STEP 02:
Unreal Hierarchy

Next, we set up Unreal data with the new Wwise waterfall content.

  1. Navigate to the Content Browser > Content > Audio > Wwise_Event > SFX_Environment folder.
    Right click, then select: New Folder
    Name it: Waterfall
  2. Open the Wwise Picker
    Then drag in the new Waterfall Events into the new folder.
  3. Select all the Events, then right click and select Edit. Assign all Events to the SB_Environment Sound Bank.
  4. Save the Events updated.
  5. Generate the Unreal Sounds Banks.
    Import the updated Sound Banks

STEP 03:
Modify Particle FX

In this step we duplicate the P_sparks particle FX, then remove the spark detail.

  1. In Unreal, Navigate to the Content Browser > Content > StarterContent > Particles Folder
  2. Copy and Past the Particle called: P_Sparks
    Rename it to: P_Waterfall
  3. Double click the new Particle FX
    Then in the New Window under the Emitters tab, click on the Spark burst Tickbox, to turn off the spark effect.
  4. Then Save the Particle update.

STEP 04:
Tagging The Map

First, we need to build a rock formation for the waterfall to flow down.
Then tag into the map the new P_Waterfall particle to the waterfall location.
Then Place the SFX Events onto the waterfall position.

  1. In the Content Browser > Content > Start Content > Props folder, drag in 2 SM_Rock models into the map.
    Then enlarge the rocks to a huge size.
    Drag the 2 large rocks together, the joining part of the 2 rocks will need to form a natural angle where we can add the waterfall flow particle effect too.
  2. Once you have a natural angle, we can add the new P_Waterfall Particle to the rock formation.
    Under the Content Browser > Content > StarterContent > Particle folder, drag in the P_Waterfall particle FX into the map. Place it at the top of the waterfall position.
  3. The particle effect looks quite underwhelming, so we need to increase the size.
    Select the Particle emitter, then in the Details tab change the Scale size to the following values: X = 10, Y = 10 & Z = 10
    The particle effect, should now look more like a waterfall point.
  4. Now copy and paste the same Particle FX to build the height of the full waterfall.
  5. Once you have implemented and are happy with how the waterfall looks, in the World Outliner tab, Right click the Structures_Boxes folder, then select: Create Sub Folder.
    Name it: Waterfall
  6. Now we can add SFX emitters.
    First, we add the main waterfall layer.
    In the Content Browser > Content > Audio > Wwise_Event > SFX_Environment > Waterfall Folder,
    Drag in the event called: SFX_ ENV_Waterfall_Flow_Start
    Place it in the middle of the waterfall height.
  7. Then drag in the 2 other waterfall top and bottom Events. Place them individually at the top and bottom of the Waterfall.
  8. Remember to tick the Auto Post tick box and turn off Occlusion (set the value at 0.0) for each new SFX emitter added.
  9. In the World Outliner tab, right click the Audio_SFX folder, then select: Create Sub Folder
    Name it: ENV_Waterfall
  10. Save the map updates.

STEP 05:
Test

We can now test the updates in game

  1. Connect Wwise to Unreal
  2. Solo the Waterfall Actor Mixer.
  3. Change to the Wwise Layout: Profiler
  4. Filter the capture log by Waterfall content
  5. Then play the map
    Move the player character close and far away from the waterfall location.
    If you have the blend values crossfading smoothly, you will not notice the close and far distance audio assets changing over distance from source.
    You will also notice the bottom and top emitter details also shine as you get closer to the emitters.
    As you may not be able to climb up the rock to the top emitter. You may wish to add a staircase to the map so you can access the top of the waterfall. You may wish to also add a lake at the top of the water fall to give a natural visible view of where the waterfall is coming from.
  6. Make any balancing changes
  7. Disconnect Wwise to Unreal
  8. Save the Wwise project updates and Generate the Sound Banks.
  9. Lastly, Generate the Unreal Sound Banks and import any new Sound Banks updates.
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