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Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

Sounding Out the Game Developers Conference (San Francisco)

Some of the most widely publicized news from this past week’s Game Developers Conference (gdconf.com), held in San Francisco at the Moscone Center from February 18 – 22, centered on a sixth-sense device, from Emotiv (emotiv.com), that uses brain waves to trigger game play. Still, the original five senses were in full effect, sound key among them. (And, well, not so much smell, aside from the concerns about personal hygiene endemic to the gaming world.)

I only had one afternoon at the event, and was humored by how many guitar-input devices were in evidence, no doubt as a result of the popularity of Guitar Hero and Rock Band. The prevalence of faux-guitars began to feel like one of those post-Oscar fashion rundowns, when some tabloid displays how a half dozen starlets all wore the same designer dress. As always, last year’s innovation is this year’s plug’n’play; there were plenty of vendors showing how once-proprietary and singular systems, like motion capture and facial reading, are now available to be licensed by any game developer.

It was exciting to see that at least one game in the Independent Games Summit corridor in the North Hall was a music-based one, Cinnamon Beats from the studio Secret Exit (secretexit.com, from which the above concept image was sourced).

There were a heap of panels and lectures on audio and music in video games, and I’m hopeful that footage of some of these will pop up on the Internet in the future. The ones with asterisks are of particular interest:

Many sessions were dedicated to specific games: And there was a session with Masafumi Takada, the composer on Killer7, Samurai Champloo: Sidetracked, God Hand, Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, and No More Heroes.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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