Jump to content

Car engine sound for games

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone,


I am the developer of an indie Racing Game and i would be very happy to collaborate with someone that have skills or experience in recording sounds for games.


Me and a friend started working on that project about 2 years ago and we do that on our free time.

That is why the progress are kind of slow but we try our best to work on it little by little.


Here is the link to our project :



You can download the game for PC and MAC at the moment.

But later we plan to make an Android and iOS version as well.


I am a big car enthusiast myself, and i know how important are sounds in a car simulation.

I would do my best with your recommendation to update the engine sound simulation inside my game.


Right now its very simple.


You can add as much sounds as you want, usually i go for 3 engine off throttle sounds and 3 engine on throttle sounds. I also usually add Idling sound.


So, the samples are like :

- 1000 rpm sample,

- 2000 rpm sample,

- 4000 rpm sample,

- 6000 rpm sample.


Then i up or down the picth to make the seemless transitions between samples.

I guess that most racing game sound engine work kind of same way.


As i have no recording equipment and also no skills and no experience to record car sounds, that is why i ask if someone would like to participate to our peoject.


Waiting for any kind of feedback or help.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you doing this in Tokyo? I've done car recording for a famous EA racing franchise, so I'd be able to help, but I'm in southern california, so geography may be a problem. 

dfisk, thank you for your answer, actually i saw some other post of you related to Engine Sound recording for games.

Honestly, you look to be the perfect partner to work with, with the experience you have!

Yes i am living in Tokyo at the moment, and probably going to stay for some times.

So we would probably not be able to see each other physically but i am available via skype if you are ok.

As i said, i have absolutely no knoweldge about sound recording, and i don't know how costly it is to record sounds like this.

Anyway, i would really like to talk to you about the project more.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was part of a team that recorded nearly 20 British Military vehicles for their VBS2 combat simulators.


If you want it done right, I'm sure David will attest to this, it's a costly venture.


Right being......


Creating a list of vehicles to record


Recording a list of requirements for each vehicle

  • Recording full start-idle-stop sounds for
  • Recording stationary low-rpm
  • Recording stationary mid-rpm
  • Recording stationary high-rpm
  • Recording above three in motion


Mic placement plans/diagrams for each vehicle (example)

  • Shure SM 57 - front engine
  • Countryman/DPA low sensitivity lav - inside engine block
  • Sennheiser MKH8040 stereo pair - interior driver/passenger perspective
  • Sennheiser MD421 - Exhaust

(the above is generalized and subject to change once you hear a vehicle for the first time and pinpoint its noise sources)


Having a driver for each vehicle that can take instructions and perform the sounds on cue


Having a location and all vehicles available/booked


...and more...



I could write an essay here, but need more information. Are you looking to record this yourself and want advice on how to go about it? Or are you looking to hire someone to record it all for you?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi traut, that is very nice!


Do you think the samples of the cars you recorded can be used for a game ?

Anyway that is nice if you can help.

May i ask what car you recorded so far ?

And what technic did you use to record cars ?



Hi Redline,

Unfortunately all of my samples are the property of my clients and cannot be shared.

I have recorded everything from small family sedan to F1.

Techniques are determined by car and clients needs.

I try to multi track as much as possible.

If you would like to discuss further details, please email me.


Best wishes!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jaymz


Sorry if i was not clear.

The best would be to find a partner that could do the job for us.


Because even if i try my best, i have no experience and no equipment so i guess i will fail and waste my time.

So i prefere to hire someone who can do the job for us.


One thing to mention is that we do this for free at the moment, so we have absolutely no revenue and do it with our free time.

So we have no way to pay a salary or anything.


But later, if we release the game on the Apple store and sell it, we would of course share the revenue with our partner.

Link to post
Share on other sites

James is right. It's a big undertaking. If the budget is there to record cars properly, then it's best to hire a crew (we had 5) of people to get the job done. If you do dyno and track, you can get through about 5 or 6 cars a day when done right. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I see, i didn't know that it was that undertaking to record engine sounds.

Now, i understand that it is complicated and require a team with budget to do the job properly.


That is the big problem with Indie projects that try to get bigger with almost zero budget..

The only solution we could try is probably to show the project on kickstarter or similar service and get some money to accomplish the job.


Anyway, i will keep in touch with you guys, and if i can get a budget i will probably ask you more questions later.


Thank you very much everyone for all your answers.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Redlineracing!

My first job out of recording school was doing exactly this for an Arizona based video game house (2XL Games -makers of ATV Off Road Fury, Motocross Madness, Etc.)

My job on Baja was to record everything from Pintos to 1000 hp Racing Trucks. You're on the right track with what you're doing. I'll try to outline what I found worked for us:

1. Dyno - Must have. For engines to sound like racing engines they have to have a load on them. The dyno (most high end race shops have one) controls the engine through the cars chip and allows you to choose the exact RPM you want to achieve. Also makes sure you don't blow out the engine. We found that recording in 500 RPM increments sounded much more natural than 1000 RPM when pitch shifting.

Recording Rig - You'll need a multi-track recorder and several mics. We had a few Neumanns but found that a Sure SKM32 and SM57 (would try a SM7 or 416 also) worked best. Experiment with placement. I found that usually right near the tail pipe and right under/over the engine sounded best but occasionally something awesome would pop up randomly. Walk around with the mic and listen for something cool. Make a 60 second to 2 minute recording at each RPM

Post Production - after everything is recorded at each RPM you'll need to do a some editing on the sounds. You'll need to make a seamless loop out of every RPM level (this is why you record so much for each level) which is a big pain in the ass and I thought was the hardest part of the process. After you have loops for each RPM level load them into your sampler and do eq/compression after the loop in the sound chain. Remove mud, add bass, boost growls, etc.

There's way more detail I can add but hopefully that's a good start.


Link to post
Share on other sites



Thank you for this awesome feedback, very faluable information here.

I think when i was around 8 years ago, i bought a SM57 to record guitar sounds, i will use it to record car sounds.


I think i can go to a dyno shop near my house and if i can record my car sound on a dyno.

But i have few question though.


Usually dyno tends to nake a very strange noise (for a reason that i ignore) so i was wondering if there was some "silent dyno" ?

The second question is for the off sound.


How do you record accell on sound and accell off sound out of a dyno ?

I think you can only record on sound right ?


Anyway thanks for that great post!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...