A COMPOSER’S GUIDE TO GAME MUSIC wins a Global Music Award (GMA Book Award)

The Global Music Awards has presented a Gold Medal Award of Excellence as a GMA Book Award this year to the book that has been judged as exceptional in the field of music.  I’m very proud that my book, A Composer’s Guide to Game Music, has received the GMA Book Award!

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As the GMA Book Award winner, A Composer’s Guide to Game Music has been awarded the Global Music Awards medallion.  The GMA medallion was designed for the GMAs by the Northwest Territorial Mint, creators of the official US Presidential Inaugural Medals, the Medal of Honor, the National Medal of Science and the Pulitzer Prize. GMA Awards feature the art of Thomas Hart Benton, who is considered the “Mark Twain” of American art.  The Global Music Awards is an international awards program honoring the music industry through the recognition of unique voices and talented international musical artists.  

Thanks so much to the judging panel of the Global Music Awards for this wonderful honor!  I’m very excited to be a recipient of the GMA Book Award!

A second printing (ALREADY!!) for A COMPOSER’S GUIDE TO GAME MUSIC!

Friends, I’m very proud to announce that my book, A Composer’s Guide to Game Music, has just gone to the printer for its second printing!  The first printing has already depleted, and now it’s nearly sold out — so the MIT Press will now be sending a whole fresh batch of books to retail outlets everywhere!

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Around nine months ago, my book made its first appearance.  It’s been a fantastic journey this past nine months, and I’m grateful for the numerous appearances on the Amazon bestsellers lists, dozens of enthusiastic customer testimonials on Amazon, and wonderful reviews from publications like Music Connection Magazine, Sound on Sound and music journalist extraordinaire Jon Burlingame!

As my book now enters its second printing, I am thrilled to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to everyone who has supported my book, as well as those tremendously generous souls who have spread the word about it!  This second printing is a direct result of your enthusiasm and support, and I can’t thank you all enough!!

It’s the second printing, everybody… let’s PARTY!!!

Berklee College of Music seminar on being a game music composer

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I was recently honored to participate as a speaker via Skype in a Berklee College of Music seminar focusing on video game scoring.  Hosted by the Berklee Video Game Music Club and moderated by Chase Toland, the seminar explored all sorts of issues related to a game composers profession, from the techniques of interactive music creation to the kinds of research and preparation that can help a game composer during a project.  The audience asked some wonderful questions — it was a great experience for me!

Below, I’ve posted a short excerpt from the Skype seminar. Since this portion of the seminar focused on my work for the recently-released LittleBigPlanet 3 video game, I thought that the LittleBigPlaneteers among us might find it interesting.  Included in the video are three excerpts taken from among my many music compositions for LittleBigPlanet 3.  Thanks again to the Berklee College of Music for the great event, and to Chase Toland for inviting me to speak!

Game Music Composer and Sound Designer Resources

This week, I thought I’d pull together a few free instructional resources that are available for the aspiring composer and/or sound designer. These educational sites can potentially aid those who may be intrigued by the subject matter but not yet sure if this career is right for them.

Coursera.org

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This site offers free “Massive Open Online Courses” or MOOCs. The coursework is free of charge. Most of the courses I’ve seen here are introductory, so they are a good way to explore the subject matter with a more non-committal approach, to discern whether the discipline would be a right fit. Some of the current offerings in the field of music include “Survey of Music Technology,” “Introduction to Music Production,” “Fundamentals of Music Theory,” “Introduction to Digital Sound Design,” “Fundamentals of Audio and Music Engineering,” and “Introduction to Programming for Musicians and Digital Artists,” among others. More information can be found at Coursera.org

The IAsig Interactive Audio WIKI

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This is a repository of articles focusing on “assisting the audio community to learn about audio for electronic games and other interactive media and applications.” It’s an evolving collection of instructional content, and though it is far from complete, there are some interesting articles on interactive music and sound in this WIKI. Read them at the Interactive Audio Special Interest Group Wiki.

Game Audio Relevance

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The Game Audio Relevance blog contains a bit more advanced information about the topic, but the depth of information on offer here makes it worthwhile for beginners and advanced practitioners alike. The articles are curated by a group of game audio professionals who cull the contents of such resources as the #GameAudio hashtag on Twitter for their content. Speaking of which…

#GameAudio

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The #GameAudio Twitter hashtag is a mixed bag, including quite a bit of promotion and publicity from game audio professionals, teams and projects who are using the hashtag to promote their services and accomplishments. But there are also great links to educational pages and tutorial videos about the craft and art of game audio. Some very enlightening articles can be found in here, and it’s a lively social community. The content is constantly growing and evolving. Find it at twitter.com/hashtag/gameaudio

LittleBigPlanet 3 Unboxing – Plush Edition!

Today’s the big day!  The release of LittleBigPlanet 3 in the USA. I’m so proud to have composed music for this project and been part of the extraordinary music composition team for LittleBigPlanet 3!  Just got my LittleBigPlanet 3 Plush Edition, and I couldn’t wait to see what was inside.  A new LBP3 sackboy will join my previous LBP2 pal. Here are some pics from the unboxing.

My very own copy of LBP3! Sackboy looks interested back there...

My very own copy of LBP3! Sackboy looks interested back there…

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I think Sackboy is taking over this unboxing.

I think Sackboy is taking over this unboxing.

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Sackboy is wondering what's in there...?

Sackboy is wondering what’s in there…?

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A fantastic new LittleBigPlanet game! And a smaller Sackboy in a plastic bag!

A fantastic new LittleBigPlanet game! And a smaller Sackboy in a plastic bag!

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Sackboy uses his crafty scissor tool to release his new friend from his plastic bondage.

Sackboy uses his crafty scissor tool to release his new friend from his plastic bondage.

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Fresh air for Sackboy's new friend!

Fresh air for Sackboy’s new friend!

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Pals for life! :)

Pals for life!

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It was a thrill to compose music for LittleBigPlanet 3! My two new sackboys will live in my music studio and provide me with daily inspiration.  :-D

It was a thrill to compose music for LittleBigPlanet 3! My two new sackboys will live in my music studio and provide me with daily inspiration. :-D

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Can't get these two kids to stop playing with the box that the game came in.  ;-)

Can’t get these two kids to stop playing with the box that the game came in. ;-)

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Video excerpt from my game music talk at the Montreal International Game Summit

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Last week, I spoke at the Montreal International Game Summit.  It was a fantastic experience, and I wanted to share a video excerpt of my speech with you!  The speech was called, “Music, the Brain, and the Three Levels of Immersion.”  I’m grateful to Clement Galiay and Nicolas Bertrand-Verge of the MIGS for the opportunity to speak at this great event!  Also, I’d like to give a shout-out to Jean-Frederic Vachon for the tremendous support and encouragement for me to get involved in the MIGS — thanks, JF!!

More about the Montreal International Game Summit:

MIGS was founded in 2004 to meet the needs of the video game sector, which currently represents close to 9,000 workers in Quebec. Ten years later, its mission remains: developing the transfer of knowledge and expertise, increasing exposure for Quebec players abroad and promoting exchanges and communications between stakeholders, making MIGS the East Coast’s leading professional-only event for the games industry.

Talk Description:

Music, the Brain, and the Three Levels of Immersion
Music has the power to deepen player immersion through psychological effects documented in scientific research. This talk explored the influence of music on the brain, and how these effects can aid game designers in meeting the criteria necessary for the “Three Levels of Immersion.”

Montreal International Game Summit 2014

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Just came back from a fantastic experience speaking at the Montreal International Game Summit 2014!

Montreal is a beautiful city, and that’s reflected in the fantastic rainbow-tinted windows of the convention center where the summit was held – the Palais des congrès de Montréal.

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The weather was relatively warm while I was there, but I spent most of my time at the summit… although I did enjoy the city views from the enormous walls of windows.


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This year’s summit was more vibrant than ever, and the fun began in the wide hallways where attendees could test their video game trivia knowledge by taking part in “The Game Masters” quiz show.  I wasn’t brave enough to compete, but I had to get a picture of the set:

MIGS-Game-Masters The show floor was very exciting this year, with a lot of the activity centering around the two Oculus Rift stations.  My attention, though, was caught by two things.  First — the AudioKinetic booth, where the Wwise middleware was on display:

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And second, this big green guy who was hulking inside the Ubisoft booth.  He looks brutish, but don’t let that fool you — he’s a real charmer.

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Here’s the big schedule of sessions that was posted at the event.  My speech was towards the end of the second day of the summit, right before the MIGS Brain Dump (which is kind of similar to a GDC rant).

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My talk was titled, “Music, the Brain, and the Three Levels of Immersion.”  It was a great audience!

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I had a wonderful time sharing some ideas about the role that music can play in helping gamers to achieve immersion. I’d first explored these ideas in my book, A Composer’s Guide to Game Music, and it was such a joy to explore these ideas with such an enthusiastic audience!

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I’ll be posting a video excerpt from my talk soon.  It was wonderful to speak at MIGS 2014, and thanks to all the creative and inspiring people I met this year in Montreal – it was a tremendous pleasure!