Asset Tracking, or, “Where’d This Sound Come From?”

As Starcrossed undergoes the final polish and QA phase, I made sure all the game’s licenses were in order. One trouble: during development, I bought many sound effects from places like Sound Rangers and only ended up using half of them. I have an “assets” spreadsheet that lists all of the sounds I used and where I got them from. But one of Starcrossed’s sound effects wasn’t on the list.

I searched everywhere trying to find where this sound came from. But it was renamed from its original filename, and I’d obviously mucked with it — I’d reduced the file size, and I’d also probably tweaked the sound in ACID Studio. But where was the original file? I have no idea. There’s no trail for it.

My big fear was that it was a temporary sound that I’d grabbed from somewhere on the web, and forgotten to replace with a licensed sound effect. That didn’t seem too likely, but it might be the case… after all, I had no idea where the sound came from! So I had to make a last-minute replacement. And the replacement sound effect wasn’t quite right, so I had to muck with it a while to get it to sound okay. Wasted time, wasted money.

Moral: don’t be stupid. Err, I mean, keep a strict track of all your assets! For my next project, I’m going to print out the invoice email for every sound I buy, and stick those emails into a file folder. That way even if my asset spreadsheet goes awry, there’ll be a paper trail to try to figure out where things went wrong.

2 thoughts on “Asset Tracking, or, “Where’d This Sound Come From?”

  1. Been there, done that! I know exactly what you are talking about! I learned that lesson the hard way with my first game, too. And that includes art assets – making sure I had a license to use everything. It’s particularly bad when you are using stand-in content grabbed from WHEREVER when prototyping your game, and then need to make sure that every single one of them has been replaced with a legal, licensed (or self-made) asset.

    Is there a better way to do this? Some way to automate the process a little better?

  2. Although the paper trail is a good idea, I still don’t see how this makes it easy to correlate the invoice to the sound if you change the filename and whatnot. Of course, I’ve never bought a sound myself so I don’t quite know how it works. Does the invoice describe the sound (or graphic) so well that there’s no confusion? Seems like there should be a tighter bind between the two.

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