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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Music

Postgraduate Course: Interactive Sound Environments (ARCH11010)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course looks in detail at non-linear design scenarios, particularly those that pertain to computer games. However, the course introduces notions of non-linear and open-ended structures by exploring contemporary listening habits, examples of interactive environments and recent changes brought about by listening on headphones, ubiquitous and portable devices and digital distribution.
Course description Over this course you will progress from developing assets for use in an interactive sonic environment to developing a working game world scenario using professional tools. Participation in this course is intended to lead to a deep understanding of the issues encountered in designing for non-linear situations, in particular, detailed structuring of audio in computer-game interactions and you will create a range of interactive sonic environments using cross-cutting themes of Narrative, Space, Modularity and Parameter.

You are expected to keep a record of you design methods and to submit information about your approach along with your practical design work. You will apply a professional approach to the development of original assets used in the project and should aim to avoid/limit the use of commercial libraries or resources that you have not designed yourself. You will be encouraged as designers to develop your creative and expressive voice and challenged to apply concepts introduced in lecture and tutorial sessions in order to develop works that may end up in your professional portfolio.

Overall the work you produce will be interactive environments that are rich and multi-layered experiences and teaching and learning activities will support collaboration and offer opportunities for interdisciplinary exploration.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Familiarity with professional sound recording, editing and mixing software (e.g. Reaper, ProTools, Logic)
Experience using professional sound recording hardware
Students from areas outside Sound Design, Acoustics & Music Technology and other sound related areas must discuss their prior audio experience with course organisers before registering.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  58
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 24, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 12, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 3, Online Activities 12, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Other Study Hours 24, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 120 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework is used to assess progress in, and understanding of, the practice of developing virtual environments, and allows students to develop and apply knowledge and skills across the duration of the course as the focus shifts from generating assets to structuring interactions. Practical work is accompanied by a written reflective critique informed by design theory and practice.

Submission 1: gameEngine pieces
For this submission you will prepare a game engine piece/system that can be performed alongside other game engine pieces either simultaneously or in sequence. All sound assets should be generated and designed by you, not from 3rd party libraries or the internet. If you need to break this rule, please explain clearly why and give reference for the origin of the sounds you chose. (40%)

Submission 2: gameEngine Worlds
Computer game sound design constructed in audio middleware tools as Wwise, FMOD or other computer-games audio environment, implemented in the Unity Game Engine or similar technology using non-linear approaches and scripting languages (60%)

Feedback Formal feedback will be provided as part of the assessment of both submissions. The feedback for the first submission will be provided in good time to be of use for continuing work. Further formative feedback will be available through crit and studio sessions, and through preview and presentation sessions of work-in-progress.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Acquire skills in programming and designing interactive sound environments.
  2. Understand technologies used in complex computer games environments.
  3. Translate adventurous design ideas into a plausible presentation.
  4. Critically understand aesthetic and technical issues around interactivity
Reading List
1. Rob Bridgett, From the Shadows of Film Sound, Cinematic Production & Creative Process in Video Game Audio, Collected Publications 2000-2010 (, 2010),
2. Karen Collins, Game Sound: An Introduction to the History, Theory, and Practice of Video Game Music and Sound Design (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2008).
3. From Pac-Man to Pop Music: Interactive Audio in Games and New Media, Ashgate popular and folk music series (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008).
4. Jens Blauert, Spatial Hearing: The Psychophysics of Human Sound Localization, Rev. ed. (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1997).
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Non-linear sound design, interaction design.
Additional Class Delivery Information Tuesday afternoon 2pm-4pm (occasional tutorials, 11am Wednesday mornings, to be advised).

Most lectures and tutorials will take place in the Graduate School Sound Lab, School of Arts Culture and Environment, Alison House, 12 Nicolson Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9DF.

Students advance through a series of lectures, demonstrations, practical project work, exercises and critique in a group context. Full attendance and punctual arrival is expected of all students whether auditing the course or taking it for credit.
KeywordsComputer Games Sound Design,Non-linear sonic structures,audio programming,interactive sound desig
Course organiserDr Julian Rawlinson
Tel: (0131 6)51 4336
Course secretaryDr Ellen Jeffrey
Tel: (0131 6)50 2430
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