Semester(s) Offered: Spring
Credits: 4
Course Call Number: GAMES-GT 213, GAMES-UT 213
Taught By: Corey Bertelsen

Music and Gameplay is an intensive course concerned with games in which the gameplay is fundamentally influenced by or oriented around a musical system. In this course, students will engage with music games in a variety of ways, through critical play, design practice, and hands-on development. This multifaceted approach will foster a deep understanding of how interactive mechanics can be linked to music. Throughout the course, we’ll be drawing inspiration from a variety of music games, across 3 major categories:

  • Sound Toys: Sound toys are undirected or quasi-directed “playful instruments” that can enable the player to create or compose music. Examples: Electro Plankton, Thicket, Seaquence.
  • Rhythm Games: In rhythm games, player input is measured against the rhythm of a pre-existing musical piece. Success depends on the player’s dexterity and timing. Examples: Rockband, Dance Dance Revolution, Elite Beat Agents.
  • Synesthesia Games: A catch-all category for games in which musical content has a direct impact on gameplay, but which does not require beat-matched rhythmic timing (as in Rhythm Games), nor necessarily affords player-directed composition (as with Sounds Toys). Examples: Rez, Sound Shapes, Fract OSC.

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:
1) Understand the history and design evolution of music games.
2) Describe the unique considerations for developing digital music games from a programming standpoint.
3) Identify the various feedback, control, and UI designs used in music games.
4) Incorporate audio reactive visual “juice” into gameplay projects.
5) Construct levels and challenges from musical data files.
6) Create music-driven gameplay with a unique theme or artistic voice.