Archive for Utrecht School of the Arts


Documenten samenwerken:

  • Luister – Nederlands (alleen intern op HKU verspreiden!): link
  • Listen – Engels artikel: link
  • Improving communication with your sound designer: link


Zie ook:

Austin Wintory & Robin Hunicke – Samenwerken voor Journey (Indievelopment):

The video below, kindly sent to me by Tom, shows a panel discussion featured at Casual Connect Seattle (July 2012) about exactly this topic. I just love the word handshake in this context, as it’s spot on for the ideal collaboration. Might be a video just for you, dear Captivating Sound reader!

Communication between developer and external audio team has never been more important. This discussion will highlight the materials needed to properly execute a project, our process as audio designers, why it’s important for the developer to understand this, and how we can improve the audio experience. The panel features a cross-section of audio designers, all with a unique perspective on interfacing with the developer.

Respawn 2017 • Markus Schmidt: “Communiceer duidelijk met een componist”

Sound vs. Vision & Time vs. Space (Gaver, Buxton, Bly)

If you’re designing interfaces, this small table that summarises the chapter contents by Buxton, Gaver & Bly (1991) concerning the use of sound and vision in interfaces might be handy.

Time Space
  • sound exists in time
  • good for display of changing events
  • available for a limited time
  • sound exists over space
  • no need to face source
  • a limited number of messages at once
  • vision exists over time
  • good for display of static objects
  • can be sampled over time
  • vision exists in space
  • user must face source
  • messages can be spatially distributed

Refer to: Buxton, W., Gaver, W. & Bly, S. (1991). The use of non­speech audio at the interface. Tutorial no. 8. In CHI’91 Conference proceedings, Human Factors in Computing Systems, ‘Reaching through technology’ (pp. 85‐90). New Orleans, ACM Press: Addison‐Wesley.

Listen – Improving the Cooperation between Game Designers and Audio Designers

Guitar Heroes - by SNDR

Guitar Heroes – by SNDR

In the design research investigation Listen! the multi-disciplinary collaboration between game design and audio design students is researched. The research focuses on gathering more insight in the creative design process of game audio and presents general recommendations and pitfalls for the development of game audio.

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NLN-player: interactive music

At the Utrecht School of the Arts, the adaptive music systems research group investigates the design of music for non-linear contexts. Post-graduates that conducted research in this group have formed a company – GreenCouch – and recently they’ve sent me an example movie of one of their projects.

The example movie contains an explanation of the music system used in the Xbox-game Shortburst. It’s pretty self explanatory and shows the flexible system in real-time.

The description of the video:
“cell-based music”, or “horizontal resequencing” in a browser-based, simple, nln-player, with the music for the Xbox-game Shortburst.
The web-version of the nln-player was built with the Schillmania Soundmanager 2 library, php and javascript. The idea was to shift the focus from organising the musical material with, often complex, data-structures, to a very simple model in which the limitations for the composer were greater, but the administrative work and the needed understanding of (meta-)data was much less.
This same framework was used for the implementation of the interactive music in XNA5 for an Xbox game, Shortburst.

More information on and

PhD Thesis Captivating Sound: the Role of Audio for Immersion in Games

PhD award

PhD award

The word is out: I hereby present you my PhD thesis! After the final writeup in 2009, it took some time to get my viva arranged in August 2010. Sorry to keep you waiting…but now, it can be downloaded via this blog.

This thesis addresses the role of audio for immersion. Yep, the I-word…almost just as Impossible as it is Irresistible to designers. Yet, I’ve tried to come up with some useful theory for those who want to know more about the design of sound, music and speech in games and the conceptual decisions that are involved.

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Symposium Music Design – Mapping the field 2010 (in Dutch)

Just a quick pointer for those who are interested in a symposium about Music Design in the Netherlands. Mind that the symposium will be held in Dutch. I’ll be presenting my research concerning the cooperation between game designers and music designers (sound designers and composers). For more, click more below the flyer.

Mapping the Field Symposium Music Design

Mapping the Field Symposium Music Design

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Lecture at Festival of Games

Yesterdag Richard and I gave a keynote at the Music Summit of Festival of Games in Utrecht. After visiting many international conferences on audio for games, it’s great to meet all the local peers and professionals. At the bottom of this page, you can find a link to the slides and a special link page.

By the way, it was a great venue, featuring a truly wonderful performance installation by Matthias Oostrik. See the two pictures below I made before the summit started:

Festival of Games in Ottone

Festival of Games in Ottone

Festival of Games in Ottone

Festival of Games in Ottone

[Download the Slides as PDF]
More information and weblinks at

See a slideshow below the break.

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Lecture at Festival of Games 2009


Saturday June 13. Richard van Tol and I will present developments in game music at the [email protected] Summit of the Utrecht Festival of Games. Attending this summit is free, but registration is required.

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Game Audio Lab featured on AES International Conference: Audio for Games 2009

My colleage Kees Went and I attended the AES International Conference Audio for Games 2009. We presented a paper about the Game Audio Lab that was developed in 2008 at the Utrecht School of the Arts.

Game Audio Lab: a educational framework for the research and design of realtime, nonlinear sound and music design

Game Audio Lab: an educational framework for  research and design of realtime, nonlinear sound and music design. Photo © Sander Huiberts

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Adaptive music prototyping

In 2007, I supervised an internship for the Adaptive Music Systems Research group under Jan IJzermans. The group [1] researched adaptive sound design and composition for games and developed the Adeptive toolkit, which helps composing in nonlinear settings.

To make things clear: we’re not talking about composing a song from the beginning to the end (linear music); the composer makes a large amount of musical ‘cells’ and the system selects new cells based on the rules of the composer (nonlinear music). Such an approach can be highly suitable for games, that mostly have a nonlinear character, as the music is able to correspond with the narrative or the presupposed experience of the player. And at least, we’re preventing the repetitive background track that drives players crazy.

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