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The DigiPen Audio Symposium is held each year in May and features experts from industry and academia speaking on a range of topics relevant to audio for games, audio engineering, music composition, 3D audio, and audio programming and software.

On Saturday, May 16 at 1:00 p.m. PST, head to organizer Lawrence Schwedler’s Twitch channel to attend the symposium and join in the discussion. Note: A Twitch account (free) will be required to interact and ask questions in chat.

Speakers at this year’s Audio Symposium will include:

The symposium is free to attend and open to the public. Go to twitch.tv/lschwedler on Saturday, May 16 at 1:00 p.m. PST to attend.


My Process From Sketch to Ship

This will be a personal in-depth exploration of how I compose music for games. I’ll be showing and playing examples of my earliest musical sketches for games such as Halo, Destiny, and Golem – taking them all the way through to final production, interactive implementation, and shipping versions.

Every great idea started small. Having the patience and confidence to nurture seemingly insignificant ideas and help them to grow all the way to the final product is perhaps the most important skill and, for me, is only grasped after years of experience.

The audience will come away with the insight and tools to acquire a process that will enable them to make good music for games and see their work in the hands and ears of the fans.

About Marty O’Donnell

Marty O’Donnell is a multiple award-winning composer and audio director. He earned his Masters of Music degree with honors from USC and founded Total Audio producing music and audio for film, TV, and games. His credits include Riven, the Sequel to Myst, the Myth series, the Halo series, and Destiny where he collaborated with Sir Paul McCartney on an orchestral suite called Music of the Spheres. In 2014 he founded Marty O’Donnell Music LLC, and is also co-owner and founder of Highwire Games LLC, developers of the PSVR game Golem, which was released in November of 2019. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Game Audio Network Guild in 2016. In late 2017 he released Echoes of the First Dreamer, the musical prequel to Golem. His music for Golem was nominated for a 2020 DICE award for the Best Original Score.

His multiple speaking engagements include the 2014 AES Richard C. Heyser Memorial Lecture, keynotes for audio and design at GDC, twice keynote for GameSoundCon, plus many others.


Music Clarity: Ensuring Efficiency and Accuracy during the Orchestral Rehearsing or Recording Process

The journey of new music from the imagination of the composer to the ears of the listener is varied in its complexity, especially when it has the potential to involve over one hundred performers. Composer Angelique Poteat, recently featured by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra for her new Cello Concerto commission, will address efficient rehearsal strategies and the importance of creating scores and individual orchestral parts that provide musicians with a clear road map for realizing the intent of the composer when preparation time is brief.

About Angelique Poteat

Angelique Poteat is a native of the Pacific Northwest. Described as “engaging, restless” (New York Times), her music has been performed around the world by ensembles including the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Emerald City Music, Claviola Trio, CernaBella, and Seattle Music Exchange. Poteat is the recipient of the 2015 American Prize in Composition for Beyond Much Difference commissioned by the Seattle Symphony, as well as grants from Seattle 4Culture, Artist Trust, and the Allied Arts Foundation. She is also a 2015 CityArtist from the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, and is currently the Composition Director for the Seattle Symphony’s Community Youth Chorus.

Poteat also enjoys a versatile performing career as a clarinetist. She has been featured on several occasions as a concerto soloist with the Yakima Symphony Orchestra and frequently performs chamber music with the Seattle Modern Orchestra and the Yakima Symphony Wind Quintet, in addition to performances with Emerald City Music, Seattle Chamber Players, and on the Seattle Symphony’s [untitled] Series. As an orchestral musician, she regularly performs with the Yakima Symphony, Seattle Symphony, and Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra, among others. She has also performed in numerous recordings for video games and theme park exhibits, as well as premiering and recording many works of living composers.


Writing and Using Custom Synthesis and DSP Effects in UE4

This talk will walk through the UE4 audio effects and synthesis API and discuss how it is designed to empower audio programmers and sound designers to innovate and experiment in audio. Specific examples will be detailed and demonstrated. Although programming architecture and APIs will be presented, the capabilities of the native UE4 audio engine will still be inspiring and motivating to non-programmers.

About Aaron McLeran

Aaron McLeran has been the lead audio programmer of Epic Games since 2015 where he has led the development of a new multiplatform audio renderer which is now shipped on all 7 platforms for Fortnite. He got his start in the game industry as one of the composers of the procedural music in Maxis’ Spore where he got to collaborate with famed producer and composer Brian Eno. He later, working on Dead Space 2, where he was one of the first technical sound designers at EA. He moved from content production to programming in 2009 when he became Sledgehammer Games’ audio programmer, where he led audio tech innovation for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Before he worked at Epic, he was also the audio programmer at ArenaNet where he helped ship audio engine tech for Guild Wars 2.