Gaming + Music: More on Xbox 360’s Groundbreaking Visualizer

Legendary game developer Jeff Minter, the Llamasoft founder behind vintage classics like Tempest 2k, has had musical visualizers on the brain for some time. Now, he wants to take “retina-searing” visuals with music to the next left with Microsoft’s new Xbox 360 console. His latest light synth, Neon, will even be bundled with the machine. If you’re impressed by the low-res, basic visualizer in iTunes (hey, Apple, when you going to update that), wait until you see Neon. More coverage has emerged since we last covered this story: Screenshots, hard drive-eating movies, and info on the Neon platform [Llamasoft] Interview …

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Music that Changes: Splinter Cell, Permutative Music, and Games

Brent, CDM’s resident game composer, is back with another look at the world of digital music in gaming. And again, gaming gives us a glimpse of what future digital music could be like — namely, permutable. (That’s a word, isn’t it?) -PK The level of interactivity in today’s game audio continues to grow and expand. While most of us are used to the experience of a specific theme or piece of music associated with a given level or area in a game (e.g. the level 1-1 “Overworld Theme” from Super Mario Bros.), only recently have game composers been afforded the …

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Thereminy Game Scores: Destroy All Humans!

Composer Gary Schyman has a rich, tongue-in-cheek score for the Xbox/PS2 game Destroy All Monsters; his homage to classic scores like The Day The Earth Stood Still earns him an interview on NPR: Schyman on Weekend Edition Plenty of tracks to download; via Theremin World, where you can find reviews, more links, and more sounds to download. But, fun as this new score is, I’m surprised that Theremin World doesn’t give Schyman a hard time for using a synthesized Theremin instead of the real thing. (Pity the poor copy editors at IGN, who refer to a “sign” wave and “portamenteau.” …

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Games + Music: Preloaded Visualizer Game for Xbox 360

While we’re on the subject of visualizers, Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox 360 console will be preloaded with a trippy music visualizer game. Unlike the iTunes visualizer, it’ll be completely interactive, too. Inspired by the 1984 game Psychedelia, Neon is a visualizer for the year 2005. Check out the interview with creator Jeff Minter of UK developer LlamaSoft. (Betcha they’re Python fans.) Via Joystiq. This fits with Microsoft’s strategy of making the Xbox 360 a music hub, as reported here previously (see that link for what composers think of the new console). New visualizers won’t just be trippier: they’ll be able to …

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Xbox 360 + Music: Soundtracks vs. Your Pop Hits

While Apple goes Intel, let’s return to that machine with PowerPC guts — the Xbox 360. Microsoft’s new console has a controversial feature that requires developers to let users replace the game soundtrack with their own custom playlists. Some of you readers say that’s bad for game music, while others are looking forward to turning off games with lousy scores. CDM’s own resident game composer W. Brent Latta has his own take — just get ready to time-warp to 1985. -PK A Legend is Born In 1985 the world was rocked. Some of pop music’s best known acts released hit …

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Xbox 360 + Music: Top Composers Sound Off

See part one of Brent’s story on the Xbox 360, and Microsoft’s decision to force developers to let users replace the game soundtrack with their own custom playlists. You’ve heard from the CDM staff, and we’ve heard from you, but what do game composers think? -PK CDM took some time to speak with some of today’s leading game composers to see what they had to say about Xbox 360’s custom playlists. We spoke with four composers: Aaron Marks of On Your Mark Music Productions and author of The Complete Guide to Game Audio: For Composers, Musicians, Sound Designers, and Game …

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Xbox 360 Lets Users Kill All Game Soundtracks — Composers be Damned

CDM has received several anonymous reports about the Music Player feature of Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox 360. In short, Microsoft’s new custom music feature is so aggressive, you can elect never to hear the music written for your game. Xbox Player is On All the Time The Music Player plays “gamer-initiated music,” streaming from a device (portable/PC) or loaded onto the Xbox hard drive (WMA/MP3), during game play. That much isn’t new; previous Xbox consoles and games like The Sims have long had this feature. (In fact, the non-linear nature of The Sims made it a perfect match.) What is new, …

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Games Week/E3: Xbox Syncs with iPod; Death of Soundtracks?

Microsoft is touting its upcoming game console, the Xbox 360, as a game console with media-sync extras. Microsoft won’t let the Xbox compete with Media Center PC platform; there’s no TV tuner, for instance, so apparently you’re supposed to spend another couple of grand on a Media Center PC. But the new game system will synchronize with your music devices, including the iPod. iPod sync?! You heard that right. While Microsoft isn’t supporting AAC, you will be able to sync music from your iPod. (They claim they’re not touching AAC because of FairPlay encryption, though it doesn’t look like they’re …

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