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!

Game Music Talk at the Montreal International Game Summit

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I’m pleased to be speaking again this year at the Montreal International Game Summit 2014!  My talk this year is entitled “Music, the Brain, and the Three Levels of Immersion.”  It will take place at 4pm on November 11th at the Palais des congrès de Montréal convention center.

The Palais des congrès de Montréal convention center

The Palais des congrès de Montréal convention center

If you’re attending the event this year, please feel free to say hi!  It would be great to meet you!  Also, I’ll be very happy to sign your copy of my book, A Composer’s Guide to Game Music, so please bring it along!  Here’s the official description of my upcoming talk at the Montreal International Game Summit:

Music, the Brain, and the Three Levels of Immersion

Game Music Talk / Game Audio Track – 4pm November 11th – Room 522 – Palais des congrès de Montréal

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Music has the power to deepen player immersion through psychological effects documented in scientific research. This talk will explore 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.” According to research, these levels of immersion require specific mental states that music can help the player to achieve. Through a discussion of several scientific studies, the talk will investigate the power of music to alter time perception, deepen our appreciation of visual details, enhance our mental prowess, increase the intrinsic motivation of activities, change our understanding of plot, and enhance both our attention spans and our memory capacity. The talk will also explore the techniques of music composition and implementation that provide practical strategies for composers, audio teams and game designers to maximize the ability of game music to help players achieve total immersion.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Attendees will gain an understanding of the effects of music on the brain, and how music can alter the experience of the player through specific documented effects.
  2. Study data will be discussed, including the “Three Levels of Immersion” from the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (sponsored by the Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction), as well as several research studies on the relationship between music and cognitive function.
  3. Tips and strategies will be explored for the application of practical techniques to exploit the power of music to alter the mental state of the player, thus enabling deeper immersion in the gameplay experience.

Music, Audio and Immersion (for Game Composers and Sound Designers)

Immersion

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Since I’ll be giving a speech at the Montreal International Game Summit in November about “Music, the Brain, and the Three Levels of Immersion,” I thought I’d use this blog as an opportunity to look at three other perspectives on the role of music and sound in the Immersion phenomenon – in which we lose all sense of reality and surrender ourselves completely to the gameplay experience. My speech in Montreal will include some ideas that are detailed in chapter three of my book, A Composer’s Guide to Game Music, and the connections between aural experience and the immersion effect will be correlated to some specific research studies that are explored in my book. However, there are certainly multiple ways to approach the topic, and immersion is a complex subject to tackle, particularly when we’re attempting to understand what role audio and music may play in the experience.

In the article, “Papa Sangre and the Construction of Immersion in Audio Games,” author Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo attempts to understand the immersive power of the audio-only game Papa Sangre, while also touching upon the effects of gender exclusion on the ability of non-represented genders to become immersed. The author’s conclusions about the internalized nature of audio-only immersion are intriguing.

In part three of the article, “Video Game Technology: Immersion Through Sound,” author Hugo Aranzaes makes some interesting points regarding the effect of increased audio channels (surround sound systems) on the immersive power of sound, particularly in the case of First Person Shooters, in which such positional audio information can be used strategically during gameplay.

Finally, an article by Connor Bridson provides a highly personal and subjective viewpoint about an equally personal and subjective experience – the horror game. Entitled “Immersion in Horror Video Games,” the article contends that audio in an atmospheric horror game occupies a greater position of importance than visuals in the experience of immersion.