VR Audio: Past, Present & Future

VR Audio (article by award winning video game music composer Winifred Phillips)In this blog, I thought we might take a quick look at the development of the three dimensional audio technologies that promise to be a vital part of music and sound for a virtual reality video game experience. Starting from its earliest incarnations, we’ll follow 3D audio through the fits and starts that it endured through its tumultuous history.  We’ll trace its development to the current state of affairs, and we’ll even try to imagine what may be coming in the future!  But first, let’s start at the beginning:

3D Audio of the Past

Alan Blumlein (article by award winning video game music composer Winifred Phillips)In the 1930s, English engineer and inventor Alan Blumlein invented a process of audio recording that involved a pair of microphones that were coincident (i.e. placed closely together to capture a sound source).  Blumlein’s intent was to accurately reflect the directional position of the sounds being recorded, thus attaining a result that conveyed spatial relationships in a more faithful way.  In reality, Blumlein had invented what we now call stereo, but the inventor himself referred to his technique as “binaural sound.”  As we know, stereo has been an extremely successful format, but the fully realized concept of “binaural sound” would not come to fruition until much later.

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Arrangement for Vertical Layers Pt. 1: A Game Composer’s Guide

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The art of arrangement.

This week, I’m beginning a three-part blog series on the art of arrangement for dynamic music systems in games. I’ll be exploring the techniques of arrangement as they relate to interactive game music by discussing examples from the music I composed for video games from the blockbuster LittleBigPlanet franchise.

Arrangement for interactivity is a complex subject, so I thought we should begin by developing a basic understanding of what arrangement is, and then move on to the reasons why it’s especially important in interactive music.

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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!!!