This Week at the Game Developer Conference, San Francisco, Push the Button

What can you do with this? Game designers and artists find out this week at GDC. (Pictured: my own submission, up close.) Why should Create Digital Music and Create Digital Motion (and, well, their editor) go to a game conference? This year, in particular, the annual gathering of game developers in San Francisco means a real convergence of gaming culture and digital music and motion, of ideas about how interactivity can work (and the challenges of making interaction design creative), of generative and adaptive music and new cultures of digital media. Aside from that, of course, there’s no particular reason. …

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Chime, Beautiful New Music Game on Xbox 360: Play to Philip Glass, for Charity

One Big Game is a charity assembled by game developers to raise money for children’s organizations. Musical games look to figure prominently in the series. Design legend Masaya Matsuura (PaRappa the Rapper, Vib-Ribbon), father of rhythm games and without whom there likely would be no Rock Band or Guitar Hero, has signed. And the first title out, from Zoë Mode, is musical in nature, too, in a game called “Chime.” Chime is an elegantly-designed game and a lovely way to unwind, particularly with Philip Glass’ gorgeous “Brazil” in the track list. (“Brazil” has Glass’ usual musical furniture, but the cut, …

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Put a Hex on You: New Game, Crazy Music Sequencer with Hexagons

Hexagons are the new squares. After years of square grids, music is discovering the hexagon in a big way. Hexagonal lattices have advantages of their own, in terms of how efficiently they pack space and the way adjacent sides align. Don’t believe your local mathematician? Ask your local bee. What’s interesting is that, as musicians experiment with interfaces and structures, they may wind up with either a wild, experimental music synthesizer, or a fun game. On the game side, at top, we have a trailer for the upcoming “Fractal.” It appears to match the productivity-annihilating addictiveness of puzzle games with …

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Real for Reel: The Amazing Sherlock Holmes Experibass, and More Winter Cinema Sounds

Sometimes, the best sounds come not from synthesis, not even from electrified instruments, but from the purity of a mic and acoustic instrumentation. It remains electronic, or even digital sound, but its source is organic. And so, one of the best reasons to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie in theaters is the wonderful noises that bounce around Hans Zimmer’s score. Behind many great film scores are great soloists as much as great composers, and Sherlock Holmes is no exception. Zimmer worked with Diego Stocco, sound designer, sound artist, inventor, and composer in his own right. To realize the inner …

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Truly Last-Minute Gift: Osmos, the CDM Game of the Year, for Mac and Windows

For a truly unique and very much last-minute gift for anyone you know, look to CDM’s favorite game of year, the gorgeous, blood pressure-lowering title for Windows and – at long last – Mac. I may personally identify a little too much with the abstract protagonist of this game, as my holiday activities could well be described as floating around the universe, sucking particles into my gravity well as I grow in size. But whether or not I feel literally like an expanding bubble of matter, one of my favorite experiences this year was entering this ingenious physics-based game. It …

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A Blog Focused on Sound Design, Special with Game Sound Veteran Rob Bridgett

Designing Sound, as the name implies, focuses entirely on the craft of audio from film to games. While there are industry-driven sites devoted to the topic, this blog is entirely the labor of love of composer and sound designer Miguel Isaza, whose writing has also appeared on Spain’s Hispasonic and Monofónicos. (Miguel also tweets to Reaktor aficionados as reaktorlovers.) That personal perspective has imbued the site with the feeling of artists talking to artists. http://designingsound.createdigitalmusic.com/ All week, Designing Sound has focused on Rob Bridgett, who has worked on numerous sound designs for games. Despite the massive growth of the game …

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Music, Physics, Space in Perfect Fusion: Interview, Creators of Game Osmos

You’ll want superb music on loop, because it may … take some time to get out of this puzzle. Musicians and artists now have the power to fuse visuals, sound, and interaction, to make a spectacle, an album, and a game all at once. But with the blank canvas of three different media before you, what form should that fusion take? Space shooters with pounding electronic beats behind them have cleared some of the way. Now it’s ambient music’s turn. In the game Osmos, you become a mysterious particle, floating amongst gravity wells in various fields of material. By carefully …

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Inside Beaterator, Rockstar Games’ New PSP Beat Maker, with Gory Technical Bits

What’s that? A full-blown synth interface on the PSP – in a title from the makers of GTA, with Timbaland’s named plastered all over it? Yep. That’s exactly what it is. As you may know, the creators of games like Grand Theft Auto have collaborated with Timbaland to bring a mobile music studio to Sony’s PSP (and later, the iPhone), based on an ambitious free Flash experiment on their Website. Now, it’s my impassioned belief that you shouldn’t need lots of canned loops or celebrity endorsements to make music fun, so normally I might actually run the opposite direction of …

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Kids Making Music: Interactive Music Box Draws Experience from Games

Ten minutes. Four or five kids (or adults). Make a song. Go. That’s the idea behind the Youth Music Box, developed by Silent Studios and Chris O’Shea. (Our friend Chris you may recall from various interactive projects and the blog pixelsumo; he sends this project our way.) The software is build in openFrameworks, the C++-based creative coding environment for artists. With keys, drums, and yes, even a scratching DJ-style interface, the music box brings together kids for quick music making, inspired by the phenomenon of musical games. The experience is guided by genre, with some effort to make sure whatever …

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