Audio Assets - Naming / Folder Structure


I'm currently creating audio assets to make available in the asset store and I came across a few questions regarding how the assets should be named.
Most sound packs in the asset store are organized in various folders. For instance, a UI sound pack might have various SFX audio files inside multiple folders named as "button", "open", "close", "access denied", "menu", "alert".
However, some SFX can be hard to categorize and can have various applications. A click SFX can be categorized as menu, pick up ammo, or anything else.
Also, when navigating across multiple folders looking for a specific sound can be a laborious and time consuming task.

Nowadays sound libraries more targeted for sound designers than to game developers are all adapting the Universal Category System as the naming convention.

In the case of a UI sound pack the naming would be something like this:


The "UI" is the category and "Click" "Beep" or "Glitch" the category ID followed by a description of the sound.

I wonder if for game developers this naming convention would make sense. With this naming convention one have to think about the nature of the sound we are looking for and only then think about its specificities.

Also, all the audio files are inside only one folder so when looking for a specific sound, we first need to find the category and then search horizontally instead of looking inside various folders.

What are your thought on this?

Thanks for your help.

It's unfortunate that you didn't link the Universal Category System. I had never heard of it, so I had to look it up.

In any case I welcome any sensible file naming convention when it is applied with discipline. ;)
By sensible I rule out any convention that just sequentially numbers files, categorizes by cryptic letters, or artificially limited to 8 characters, or is otherwise not really representing the file's content like "uauaaaaaaghrrrrrr..(gasp)....chrrr...rrr.wav" instead of "dying_gruesome_long.wav". Although I kinda feel that might just work for audio files. :smile:

But I would hesitate strictly adopting someone's naming convention, especially if it is as broad as UCS is. It works well for platforms that let you browse and buy audio. But for a game project the needs and the domain language may be quite different, and even programmers may have a say in how to name files so they can locate them the way they set up their systems - for instance you may have to name files according to factions, trade, user action eg "darkside_crafter_attack" or "mage_ice-aura_ends".

Other things may also be useful to encode in a filename for a game developer:

  • language or locale
  • target platform
  • quality (compression, bitrate)
  • speaker (gender, age, race*)
  • mood (sad, mad, angry, etc)
  • subsystem (Ragdoll, Spell, Character, Environment)

  • I'm thinking Orcs and Elves here ...

But honestly, the more you need to categorize, the less you should think about a file naming convention and instead build a (simple) database with categories and relations where designers can link (drag & drop) any asset to a specific game sound - this greatly speeds up sound design and experimenting, and can be good for laughs. :)

Thanks for your input.

The issue I'm trying to address here is the fact that one sound can be categorized in many different forms, for instance a particular click sound due its tonal characteristics can be considered "menu", "activate", "pick up", "alert", "data".
When creating a sound pack for the asset store, if I decide that that click sound is going into the "data" folder, someone looking for that particular sound might go search into the "pick up" folder as he might interpret it as being a pick up sound instead of a data sound.

The Universal Category System naming convention could reduce this subjectivity by naming the sound based on its nature/origin instead of its particular function. Naming a sound to a particular function in a sound pack is the equivalent to "hard coding" something that could stay open and flexible.

Later, the audio file could be renamed inside the Unity project to its particular function depending on the team preferences or its own naming conventions.

Attached to this message I'm sending the asset list of a sound pack using the Universal Category System for reference - which is slowly being adopt by the industry

The point is to create a standard naming convention that could help anyone navigation across thousands of files finding what they are looking. In any case, I'm starting to think it's too early to adopt the Universal Category System as most people are not yet used to it, so it could create more confusion than help.

9073345--1255390--00_Cyber_Weapons_CK_Metadata.pdf (302 KB)