Music Game Revolution, Now Indie Friendly, as Rock Band Network Goes Live

They are the robots: Flight of the Conchords. Now, you are the robots, too, as Rock Band Network opens the indie floodgates to the music-distribution-as-game model. (And yes, you’ll get to sing along with the Conchords, too.) Photo (CC-BY-SA) kris krüg. Music games Rock Band and Guitar Hero are simple enough in terms of gameplay, but testifying to the power of people’s passion for music, their impact has been staggering. At a time when purchasing recorded music has waned from a 90s peak, downloads for games are proving surprising growth, despite pundits predicting the segment would cool off. The talents …

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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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GDC: Music, Games, Interactivity Pt. II, Plus Embarrassing Dance Footage

In the thrilling conclusion of our chat with Boing Boing’s Xeni Jardin, Matt Ganucheau and I explore deep thoughts about the roles of interactivity and adaptivity in music and game design — then attempt to dance in giants Katamari Damacy hats. (Note the use of the word attempt — those things were more than a bit tricky to move in. Hilarity ensues.) Prior to leading a dance dance Revolución, we talk a bit about the ways in which game design relate to gesture in musical interface and how musical scores could become non-linear. The gesture issue really goes well beyond …

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GDC: Music, Video Games, and Interactivity – Chat with Boing Boing Video

Matt Ganucheau and I got to sit down with Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing Video during the Game Developer Conference to discuss some of the potential for interactive music in games. Matt is a composer, sound designer, and educator, talking about how he’s encouraging his own students to think about adaptive music in new ways, combining Max/MSP and a Space Invaders clone built in the Unity Game Engine. (See our story from earlier this week.) I talk a little about my sense that new tools could expand the range of possibilities in game music. Right now, the two major game …

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GDC: Boiling Waterphones and Other Sonic Inspirations from Composer Troels Folmann

  Hot-boiled waterphone, coming up. Troels explains: “We boiled it at 4 different temperature levels and its a part of the massively multi-sampled waterphone (it’s over 2.900 samples).” Award-winning composer Troels Folmann has made a name as a video game composer on the likes of the Tomb Raider series, as well as espousing new ideas about adaptive music for games like his “micro-scoring” methodology. But speaking to a roomful of composers and sound designers at the recent Game Developer Conference, he turned to the topic of reinvention. Even having perfected signature sounds that keep him in demand on jobs like …

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GDC: Nintendo’s Iwata on Iterative Prototypes, Teaching Programmers Rhythm

A real highlight for me at the Game Developer Conference was getting to hear Satoru Iwata deliver the keynote. Aside from being CEO of Nintendo as they have launched their most successful console ever, Iwata-san has left a sizable development legacy as a veteran of HAL Laboratory (Balloon Fight, Kirby). In the game community, I think the reception to his keynote was mixed – mostly, it introduced long-overdue storage solutions for Wiiware titles, along with some relatively minor game titles. But as a person interested in design and development – and what innovative interfaces could do for music and not …

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Interactive Audio Folks Converge at GDC: IASIG Meetup

Photo: Ben Hanbury, from a very cool BBC event. Sort of sums up game audio, this. For one area in which forward-thinking digital music types are doing innovative work in game and interactive audio, look no further than the Interactive Audio SIG. They’re doing really interesting stuff in looking at how tools can support future interactive music. And if you are going to GDC, this is another one you’ll want to catch. It’s worth noting that the “interactive” in their title really is just that: this is about all forms of interactive music, not just games per se. Given what …

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Audio, Music Gems from the Upcoming Game Developer Conference

Music for mashing buttons to. Photo (CC) Jon Jordan, Pocket Gamer. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times that, as far as the conference calendar for 2009 goes, some of the most interesting discussions about audio, composition, and technology are happening at a game developer conference. The terrific GameSetWatch “alt.video game” blog has a nice overview of the goodies at GDC in March for audio lovers: Previewing GDC 2009: Inside The Audio Track [GameSetWatch] But even that doesn’t cover all the goodness. Check out the full Audio Track schedule: Audio Track, GDC @cmpevents.com I imagine for someone looking to get …

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