Designing Musical Games :: Gaming Musical Design

Workshop Date: 
Mon, 07/28/2014 - Fri, 08/01/2014
Instructors:   Rob Hamilton & Chris Platz

One of the most exciting areas of music technology development is happening in the realm of gaming and interactive virtual space. As designers create ever more innovative game experiences featuring rich graphics, fast multiplayer networking and next-generation controllers, new techniques for creating immersive music and sound for games to complement and showcase these advances are not only possible but necessary. 

This hands-on workshop will explore cutting edge techniques for building interactive sound and music systems for games and 2D/3D rendered environments. To better understand the link between virtual space and sound, students will learn the basics of 3D art and modelling, game programming, interactive sound synthesis and computer networking using Open Sound Control.

During this intensive week, students will build their own fully functional interactive musical game world. Each student will leave the workshop with a fully playable demo of their own custom musical game experience.

Topics and technologies covered will include:

● Procedural Music and Sound

● Algorithmic and Generative music

● Interactive Audio Programming with SuperCollider and Pure Data

● 3D Art and Modelling with 3DS Max and Maya

● Game Design and Development with Unreal Engine 3/Unreal Development Kit (UDK) and Unity

While this workshop will introduce broad concepts incorporating game design, 3D art, audio programming and musical composition, expertise in all these are not required. Approaches for creating interactive musical environments for beginners ranging to advanced users will be discussed and investigated. Basic knowledge of gaming technologies, music and computer programming is highly suggested.


Remote participants who elect to take the course online can watch and participate in the course using Skype or Google Hangouts. Online participants can take as active a role as they wish in the workshop, working on their own projects with help from our teaching team.

About the Instructors

Composer and researcher Robert Hamilton is actively engaged in the composition of contemporary electroacoustic music, as well as the development of interactive musical systems for performance and composition. Mr. Hamilton holds degrees from Stanford University, Dartmouth College and the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, with additional studies at Le Centre de Creation Musicale de Iannis Xenakis (CCMIX) and L'Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris with the EAMA. He has been the recipient of the Johns Hopkins Technology Fellowship, the First Prize Winner of the Peabody Prix d'Ete competition, two Peabody Career Development Awards and two ASCAPPlus awards. Recent interactive media works include ECHO::Canyon, Tele-Harmonium (premiered at the 2010 MiTo Festival), Dei Due Mondi (premiered at the 2009 MiTo Festival), and Jord Og Himmel (2009) and Nous Sommes Tous Fernando (2008) for the Stanford Laptop Orchestra. Recent projects include UDKOSC and q3osc, which are video game-based three-dimensional networked performance environments. His compositions and published writings have been recently presented at GDC 2014 (San Francisco), CMMR 2013 (Marseilles), NIME 2013 (Korea), the Autodesk gallery, the Outsound festival, ICMC 2012 (UK), the Milano-Torino MiTo Festival (Milano, 2010, 2009), AES 2009 (London), ICMC 2008 (Belfast), ICMC 2007 (Copenhagen), AnetII (Banff), the newStage:CCRMA Festival, ICMC 2006 (New Orleans), NIME 2006 (Paris), the CCRMA Concert Series, ICMC 2005 (Barcelona), Sound in Media Workshop (Copenhagen), the SPARK Festival, 3rd Practice Festival, ISMIR 2003, the Dartmouth Electric Rainbow Coalition Festival and the Smithsonian Institute.

Chris Platz is a virtual world builder, game designer, entrepreneur, and artist who creates interactive multimedia experiences with both traditional table top and computer based game systems. He has worked in the industry with innovators Smule and Zynga, and created his own games for the iOS, Facebook, and Origins Game Fair. His real claim to fame is making interactive stories & worlds for Dungeons and Dragons for over 30 years. ;) He holds s BA in Business & Biotechnology Management from Menlo College, and an MFA in Computer Animation from Art Institute of CA San Francisco.From 2007-2010 Chris served as an Artist in Residence at Stanford University in Computer Graphics. Chris is currently the Assistant Chair of Animation and Assistant Professor at California College of the Arts. Since 2011 he has continued at Stanford as a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, where his thesis focuses on large networked virtual worlds where the animations, creatures, & terrain all produce music, in a real-time game engine, using UDKOSC, Unreal Developer Kit Open Sound Control. He helped publish several SIGGRAPH technical papers on procedural 3D environments, character & creature design, voice input controls, and the evolving fields of augmented and virtual reality. His latest piece in 2013, ECHO::Canyon was featured at the Autodesk Gallery Design Night as an interactive performance piece using the Unreal 3 game engine and the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. This piece will also be featured at the Game Developer's Conference for 2014.