Microsoft Readies DirectSound Replacement: XAudio2 for Vista

Look out, PCs: you’re getting the audio engine from the Xbox 360. That’s the message from Microsoft, which abandoned the old DirectSound APIs in Windows Vista. They’ve got a new audio system called XAudio2 ready and waiting, however, and it looks good — though it also begs the question, why didn’t Microsoft ship it with Windows Vista out of the gate? (Instead, Microsoft actually suggested users turn to the OpenAL open audio architecture, and now appears to be getting XAudio2 ready for Vista SP1.) Geek alert: the rest of this post may be interesting only to developers… XAudio2 does look …

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The New Standards: Halo on Quartet + Laptop

Are game music themes becoming the new equivalent of the old jazz standards? Maybe, as game covers are going from novelty to meme. Matrix of Matrixsynth sends along this YouTube find. Yes, you can get any timbre you want out of a guitar; nice violin effects, as well. (Now we only need a “Give the Children Some Tripods” fund.) And, in the bizarre world of YouTube, this is only one of many Halo theme song covers: Say hi to this quartet over on MySpace. Sorry to Mac users who like me remember hearing this theme for the first time at …

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Xbox 360 Homebrew? Microsoft Releases XNA Game Studio Express

In an effort to create the “YouTube of video games”, Microsoft announced yesterday that an offshoot of Microsoft’s XNA Framework will be available in August in beta form, with an official release this holiday season for an annual subscription fee of $99. Indie game developers, homebrew fanatics, and educational institutions will now be able to develop games concurrently for PC’s running Windows as well as for delivery and play via Xbox Live Arcade.

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Frederic Chopin, The Video Game, Coming to Xbox 360

Here we are, a site that regularly follows unusual gaming – music crossovers, and I don’t think we could ever have imagined anything this odd: a video game in which you play as Frédéric Chopin (yes, the one you’re thinking of), fighting disease with magical powers in a dream world: Chopin’s Dream Screens at Kotaku Bungie, of course, is the developer and — ha, just kidding. No, this one is from Japan. (Pretend to be surprised.) Trusty Bell: Chopin no Yume is the official name (trusty bell?!), and other than that, you can really only look at the images, awestruck. …

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Xbox 360’s Audio and Music Side: Hands-on Impressions

W. Brent Latta is a professional game composer and sound designer; here he brings us his pro opinion of how Microsoft’s next-gen game box shapes up. Hey, it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it, right? And as Tomonuba Itagaki, the creator of Ninja Gaiden, says, “Xbox 360 is the best. So we should wait with a great anticipation.” -PK Much has already been written about Microsoft’s new console, the Xbox 360. We have a bevy of game reviews, accessories to buy, Live Arcade titles to play, and even future releases over which we drool. But not much …

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Contest: Mash-Up/Remix the Halo 2 Soundtrack

Here’s CDM’s resident game composer with the perfect opportunity for lovers of remixing and gaming. Why do I have a feeling that you’ll get disqualified if you mash Halo 2’s music with Animal Crossing or, for you long-time Mac/Bungie geeks out there, Marathon? (Maybe an odd quote from Myth . . . “Casualties.”) -PK Tired of waiting for Halo 3, Gears of War, or Prey? Or is your music gear gathering dust since you setup that new Xbox 360? In either case, Sumthing Else Music Works (notable video game soundtrack record label), has a treat in store for you! In …

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Microsoft Excel for Music: Applications Bizarre and Useful

Microsoft Excel spreadsheets are getting use in music, and not just for tracking musicians’ growing credit card debt. First, Tom Whitwell at Music thing discovered an Excel spreadsheet for additive synthesis: drag sliders, and you get real-time Fourier synthesis with both a waveform view and spectrogram. This is more than just a novelty: watching the harmonic content of the wave shape while you listen to the sound is a good way to learn about (or teach) this synthesis method. Also via Music thing, CDM’s friend Thomas Wilburn has built a a drum set in an Excel spreadsheet. That may sound …

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Xbox 360 Launch: A New Digital Music Platform is Born

Xbox 360 is here — and with it has brought major hype, major shortages, and armed robbery of new systems. We’re going to assume that must mean it’s a big deal. Resident gaming expert W. Brent Latta looks at what the Xbox 360 might mean for digital music with a roundup of past coverage. But in short: game systems are a major new platform for music. And that could mean new ways of listening (for better or worse), and greater acceptance of high-definition, surround-sound digital media. Take it away, Brent . . . -PK

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Epic Game Soundtracks: Jade Empire, Advent Rising

CDM’s resident game composer Brent is back, this time with a soundtrack review of some of the hottest games out. Oh, yeah, and he’s also officialy making me want an Xbox. -PK Game developers and publishers continue to give focus to the power of audio in today’s games. Whether PC, Mac or console, audio plays an increasing role in creating an immersive environment for gamers. While some players lament that audio is still lacking in many titles, my experience has proven that you don’t have to look far to find soundtracks of ‘Hollywood-class’. Two recent titles which have received much …

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“This Spartan Life”: Halo-driven Talk Show Features Game Boy Music

Chris Burke, master Game Boy music impersario and ringleader of the 8bit collective, has a “talk show.” How different is it from “Late Night”? Let us count the ways. This Spartan Life First, there’s the setting. Guests have a tendency to get shot at — a lot. That’s the problem with hosting your talk shows on Xbox Live, in the middle of a Halo game. As it turns out, other online players didn’t immediately understand why a couple of characters would be hanging out apparently chatting. Result? They opened fire on the interview. No worries; the guest will respond. And …

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