The Terror of Watermelons and Your Niece Screaming: Interactive Sonic Fear in Dead Space 3

Wilhelm wasn’t going to cut it for A-list game release Dead Space 3. Meet the young Amelia, instead, screaming. And behold the sheer horror that only a squishy watermelon can produce. I always knew fruit and toddlers were up to no good. Kill Screen, the indie game mag, collaborates with The Creators’ Project to go behind the scenes at developer Visceral Games to talk about the audio design and interactive sound system in Dead Space. Producer and editor Jamin Warren tells CDM it was his favorite of the series yet. In addition to examining sound design and field recording, the …

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Pinball Pianola: Pinball Game Meets a Piano in a Wild Constructed Instrument

Pinball Pianola from Lucas Abela on Vimeo. The mechanical and kinetic collide – literally – with the sonic, in a devilishly-inventive hybrid instrument that cross-breeds a pinball table with a piano. Australian artist Lucas Abela is joining us next month as part of CTM Festival: The Golden Age. In the meantime, he shares this work. I’ve devised a Frankenstein experiment, combining the greatest musical invention of all time, the Piano; with the coolest amusement machines ever conceived; Pinball, to create an interactive sound installation like no other; ‘Pinball Pianola’, a musical device constructed by replacing the keyboard, hammers and front …

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In Bad Hotel, Addictive iOS Game, Composing Music to Tapped Interactions [Behind the Scenes]

What if a game made you both player and remixer/composer? What if that music plugged into your gameplay brain just like the interactive elements? This week, we get another try at just that – and find out how the whole thing works behind the scenes, with free software you can use, too. If you’re like me, you’ve loved the soaring, gaslight-style music soundtrack, as it makes its sweep across a film, swelling at just the right moments. Or you’ve closed your eyes and enjoyed the frozen narrative of a great score or great record as it washes over you. But …

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In Drifting Circles, Ambient Patterns Off the Grid: Sona on iPad, a New Take on Simon

Sona iPad App ECAL/Ruslan Gaynutdinov from ECAL on Vimeo. Like animated graphic scores, software interface is becoming a palette for musical experimentation. Sona is latest, beautiful combination of interface design, musical composition and visualization, and ambient instrument. You’ve seen works like this before, naturally, but this one – recalling the off-the-grid patterns of ambient master Brian Eno – is especially nicely executed. It also illustrates a point: this kind of work is now routinely done as a student project, but then distributed to the world, not only confined to thesis reports or conferences. This also goes a long way to …

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Gameplay, With Your Ears: Meltdown Lets You Squash Monsters Using Binaural Sound

Meltdown – Gameplay from Varun Nair on Vimeo. Crack – that snapping wood might just be something about to eat you! There is likely some evolutionary need for human hearing to be good at localizing sound in space. Whatever the reason, human perception is exceptionally precise when it comes to working out the position from which a sound originates. Conventional stereo sound just doesn’t do much with it. Using binaural sound, by contrast, you can position sound more accurately. And then you can play a game with your ears instead of just your eyes. “Meltdown” applies that idea to gameplay, …

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Sword & Sworcery, Remixed By Japanese Game Music Legends [Preview]

This may sum up how I feel about this project. It almost certainly embodies how composer Jim Guthrie must have felt, as a who’s who of Japanese game music takes on his work. Photo (of the Tokyo Game Show, natch) (CC-BY) kanegen. Sword & Sworcery, the iPad album-as-game, has gotten plenty of love from this site before, and recognition for friend-of-the-site composer Jim Guthrie. (See Jim open up about what happened behind the scenes.) Now, it seems the Canadian songwriter and soundmaker will meet up with some of the biggest game composers from Japan in a unique remix album. In …

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Deeper with DS-10: Using a Nintendo DS Cartridge from Korg, Surprising Live Electronic Music

Music making, child’s play. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Attila Malarik. You might not expect a handheld game console, the gadget kids use to play Pokemon, to prove much worth as a musical instrument. But even in the age of readily-available computer plug-ins and iPhone apps, the DS holds its own. In the hands of two sets of artists, we find music that stands alone, independent of the gimmick of the device on which it was made. For these artists, the limitations of a fold-up touchscreen – entirely independent of doubling as a phone, or a computer, or a Facebook-browsing engine, or a …

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Pugs Luv Beats Marries Music, Gaming on iOS: How it Was Made, How Free libpd Music Tool Helped

The iPad becomes a canvas for a game with an atypically-musical, interactive sound score. All images courtesy the developers. Photos by whatkristensaw. Truly generative musical scores in games have been few and far between, and “music games” has traditionally meant arcade-style rhythm games in which you repeat phrases or whole songs as accurately as possible. Pugs Luv Beats breaks those molds. Part of a vanguard of new gaming creations that generate dynamic music on the fly, it marries grid-based sequencing and resource-gathering gaming, as music making and gameplay blur together. The interactively-produced music could itself become a new way of …

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Dimensions, iOS App Powered by Pd and Hans Zimmer, is Sound-Augmented Reality Game: Behind the Scenes

Graphics are good. Graphics are shiny. But when it comes to reality-bending, emotionally-immersive, perception-shifting power, look to sound and music. At least that’s the feeling you could get after playing Dimensions. Following their reactive music tools and Inception dream states for iOS, RjDj have turned their mind-altering sonics to gameplay. As with previous releases, these tools are powered by the open source visual development environment Pure Data. Pd engineering wizardry here meetings the compositional and sound design prowess of Hans Zimmer. You can see a bit of how the musical world works in the teaser video above, and the music …

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Music as Gameplay: Johann Sebastian Joust, Played With Only Sound and Gesture

Think back to playing a simply childhood game like Musical Chairs. The actual gameplay depends only on auditory clues – something you take for granted as a kid, but something apparently lost on game engineers who insist exclusively on advanced 3D rendering engines for visuals. And because you get your body involved, the game becomes dynamic. That musical cue isn’t just off in the background: in the dizzying run around the chairs, the soundtrack can become the singular focus of your brain, an urgent score to the — DIVE, got the chair! As the scene around game experimentation grows richer, …

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