Firstly Dead Space is terrifying and its all down to the audio it's superb.
However whilst playing the game i noticed a small problem with the sound propagation, watch the video and take note of the way the sound changes as the character moves away from the fire and into the other room. If you watch the video further the character moves back into the main room, again take note of the sound. The two changes occur at completely different places. This leads me to think that the sound changes are triggered by the door moving rather than using occlusion. this leads to some weird effects during the game.
This is an example of some non-repetitive game sound in COD4. It appears to be made up of several different elements that play out at random intervals. As the sounds are sounds of an ongoing battle the pitch isn't varied but because there are enough different sounds and volume is varied, the ambience doesn't become repetitive.
As game audio has become more popular and widespread several professionals and commentators involved in the gaming industry have tried to define the different elements which make up sound in games.
Karen Collins in her new book Glossary of Game Audio Splits Game Audio into four groups within which are several sub groups;
Dynamic Audio is sound that reacts to changes in the gameplay, environment and input from the user. Within Dynamic Audio there is Adaptive Audio and Interactive Audio. Adaptive Audio is sound that occurs in the game environment reacting to the gameplay rather than input from the user. Interactive Audio is sound that is reacting to gameplay but is responding to the users input.
Diegetic Sounds are real sounds that occur within hearing distance of the user, this includes sound effects and dialogue. Non-Dynamic Diegetic audio is sound that occurs within hearing distance of the user but the user has no direct involvement in the sound. Adaptive Diegetic Audio is sound that reacts to changes in the environment but not the player directly. Interactive Diegetic sounds are sounds that occur in the players space that the player can directly interact with, these include footsteps and weapon impacts.
Non-Diegetic Sound refers to background music and sound effects. Adaptive Non-Diegetic sounds are sounds that occur in reaction to gameplay but aren't affected by the player and aren't part of the environment and cannot be heard by the game characters. Interactive Non-Diegetic Sounds are sounds that can be affected by gameplay or the player but cannot be heard by the game characters. This describes interactive music or sound effects reacting to gameplay. Non-Dynamic Linear sounds are sounds that are unaffected by the players input or gameplay, these sounds are usually found in uninteruptable cut scenes.
Kinetic Gestural interaction refers to Diegetic or Non-Diegetic sound which the player and typically character participate physically with the sound on screen. this can be as simple as using a controller to play an instrument on screen or using a Wii controller to control the velocity of weapons or perform actions that produce sounds.
Sander Huiberts and Richard Van Tol from GamaSutra.com take a simpler view splitting game sound into four parts Zone, Effect, Affect and Interface
Zone Refers to environmental sound, these sounds are diegetic and set the game ambience.
Effect refers to diegetic sounds during gameplay that are produced: ie footsteps, gunshots, explosions. these sounds can be on or off screen.
Affect refers to non-diegetic sounds that set the mood of the game, these range from orchestral music to moody low tones
Interface refers to non-deigetic sounds these can be menu sounds or sounds related to the HUD, the main use of these sounds is to convey information that isn't setting the mood.
These two examples both describe all the main types of game audio however i think that Karren Collins description is over complicated. There are too many sub sections and the descriptions of the sub sections are too diffuse. By having this many catagories i find that i cannot get some audio to sit in any one catagory, weather this is due to the language used in the description or just my mistake. GamaSutra's IEZA framework is a much better breakdown of game audio types because it is simple, complex audio can easily be divded into the different catogories. I have found some examples of the four major groups from GamaSutra's IEZA framework.
This clip shows some ambient passes of Unreal Tournament 3 each level has a different feel because of the change in the background sounds used.
This clip shows a short clip of Call of Duty 4 it features allot of diegetic sound effects from weapons, enemies and the plane this makes it to be a very immersive realistic experience.
This F.E.A.R clip is a good example of how Non-Diegetic sounds can affect the feel and mood this game in particular relies on discordant sounds and stabs throughout to make the game allot scarier.
This Metal Gear Solid 4 Clip has some good examples of information sounds via the HUD and the radio menu. for example when Snake enters the radio and also when he is flicking through the inventory.
I am using this short video of the original Carmageddon as an example of some ugly sound design.
The first thing that is noticeably bad sound design is that some of the time major sounds are missing, for example at 0:53 the player crashes hard into a lamp post and no sound is triggered. This problem occurs constantly throughout the game, it doesn't seem to matter what the player is hitting. See (0:53), (0:55), (1:00) and (1:08).
The second major problem is the repetitive nature of all the sounds. There is only one splat sound for hitting pedestrians and only 2-3 screams, as hitting pedestrians is a major objective in the game i would expect more sound to be attached to the pedestrians as it makes hitting them very repetitive.
The third major problem is the complete lack of ambient sound, this makes the envronments unrealistic.
Also at random intervals during the game for no discernible reason the phrase "i've hit the wall" is played. (1:17)
I am aware that this is a relatively old game (1997) and processing power and memory was probably diverted to the game's at the time ground breaking physics, however because the sound is quite bad and repetitive it ruins parts of the gameplay. This doesn't have to happen, other games released at the time such as MDK and Dungeon Keeper managed to sound great as well as pushing the envelope as what graphics could do on the hardware available.