I'm making a small game, and I've found some free sound effects that I'd like to use.

The issue is that I can't get the sound effects to sound like they "belong" in my game. I don't know what to look for that can make sound effects match the rest of my game style.

I have some ideas on what affects the meshing of audio with graphics. For example, I have a feeling that the current SFX I may be too "realistic" for my graphical style, which is pretty cartoon-like. Also, is there a golden standard for what volume various SFX should be at? (for example, I am thinking that footsteps or other common sounds should be at barely audible volumes, while enemy deaths or something that is a "big deal" should be louder).

I found a similar question about graphics, I'm looking for a similar response with sound effects.

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ This question appears to be off-topic because it is about your specific game and its specific requirements. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 25, 2013 at 20:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually not too specific to the game but too broad to give a serious answer to. If you could rephrase the question to be more specific that would be great. \$\endgroup\$
    – API-Beast
    Sep 26, 2013 at 1:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ A loose, but true answer may be "good sound effects sound real and appropriate". \$\endgroup\$
    – Moo-Juice
    Sep 26, 2013 at 7:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Way too broad. Touches on both playback behavior, mixing levels, and aesthetics without any specificity beyond "cartoon-like style". \$\endgroup\$ Sep 26, 2013 at 18:08

4 Answers 4


I would like to add my bit of experience here as my major degree and expertise is in sound design. The best decision you could clearly have is to hire someone with experience in sound designing (and will probably have a portfolio with sounds made for games with the same graphics aesthetics as yours).

The other way around will be for you to record and edit your sounds which I definitely recommend. It is a very funny and rewarding experience creating your own sounds! And there are countless tutorials online on how to record them and edit them.

The basic rule is this "the best sound design is the one that gets unnoticed by the viewer / player in this case" this quote comes from films but there is a huge logic behind it.

If a sound is absolutely fitting with the character / aesthetics and feel of the game then it should not get noticed but instead be part of the atmosphere of the game and help create the feeling.


One thing I've realized since I asked this question is that including multiple sounds for the same effect goes a long way toward making SFX more pleasant.

For example, making 3 or more "Ouch" sounds for the same character, since in the real world no one will ever sound the exact same, even if they are saying the same thing.


If you're not making your own sounds (analogous to drawing your own sprites), then you're going to have to test many sounds from different sources, and see which ones work best for you.

If you really want good sounds, you might want to consider purchasing some royalty free sound packs. They usually come in bunches that sound pretty good together.

If you want the best sounds, then you're going to have to make them, or have them custom made to your requirements.

Just like with graphics, if you go for free, you're going to have to adapt to what's available. Not that it's a bad strategy though.


In addition to Panda Pajama's answer, I'd like to point out that audio in games is often neglected in literature. A "game engine" book will rarely have a good chapter on this, and resources on the internet are scarce.

But what is out there is a great starting point.

Studying what other games have done with audio is more difficult than with graphics. The subtleties are not as obvious.

One thing that will come up is needing to cut down on what sounds are being output at any given time, because if you don't do this, the player will get overwhelmed and the game will just sound bad.

EA/DICE's publications page has a section on Audio. Check that out. Game Engine Architecture book takes some time to discuss various intricacies as well.


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