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Max Hayes, a 2019 Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Digital Audio graduate, grew up in California as an aspiring musician with a knack for playing guitar. Following his passion for the instrument, he decided to go to a music college in his home state to study audio production and music technology, but he quickly realized his true passion lied in the inner workings of the audio software itself.

After doing some research, he discovered that DigiPen offered one of the only undergraduate programs at the intersection of computer science and digital audio, so he pivoted from his previous studies and dove headfirst into life at DigiPen.

As part of his junior game project, Hayes began developing his own custom audio engine for Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, a task he undertook to better understand how audio engines work on the backend. While the project was initially a simple academic exploration for educational purposes, Hayes’ work got the attention of the folks at Epic Games, who soon asked him to come on board as an audio programming intern on the Unreal Engine proper.

Hayes quickly made a tangible impact at the company. His first major project, a new wave table synth feature he built for the Unreal Engine, debuted at an official Epic Games showcase at the 2019 Game Developers Conference and is set to release to the public later this summer.

Since graduating this past April, Hayes is now working as a full-time audio programmer at Epic Games. We sat down with Hayes to chat about the project that kicked off his Epic journey in the video above.