Ben Houge - Dynamic Music Solutions for Just About Anything

06/13/2012

Tom Clancy’s EndWar was praised by GameSpot for its “fantastic audio” that puts you “in the thick of the action.” As audio director of that title, Ben Houge cites the game’s innovative music system as a key contributor to the game’s immersiveness and replayability.

In his presentation, Ben will share how a cell-based musical approach allows for tight synchronization in an unpredictable, open world environment without compromising production values. These ideas are relevant to sound design as well as music, and could equally be applied to animation or visual effects. Further, he will show how these techniques can be applied in other real-time scenarios outside of the world of games, with examples from his recent sound installation work and his new asparagus opera, in collaboration with Chef Jason Bond, as featured on NPR:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/05/29/153950254/the-sounds-of-asparagus-as-explored-through-opera

Ben Houge has been developing audio for video games since 1996, including seven years at Sierra (Leisure Suit Larry 7, King’s Quest: Mask of Eternity, Half-Life: Opposing Force, Arcanum) and four years at Ubisoft (Tom Clancy’s EndWar, Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30). His string quartet soundtrack to Arcanum was praised by the Seattle Times as “sophisticated enough to pass muster on its own as an extended string quartet,” and has been widely performed in a concert setting. Ben is also active in the world of digital art, and his work has been exhibited at the Today Art Museum in Beijing, the True Color Museum in Suzhou, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Shanghai eArts Festival, the Boston Cyberarts Festival, e4c in Seattle, and Studio Z in Saint Paul.

Prior to relocating to the Boston area over a year ago, Ben lived in Shanghai, China, for the previous six years, where he worked for Ubisoft’s Shanghai studio and was active in the underground music scene. Currently Ben teaches video game music at the Berklee College of Music and Boston University Center for Digital Imaging Arts, and last winter he was a visiting artist at the MIT Media Lab, working on sonification of data from real-time sensor networks. More information about Ben is available at http://www.benhouge.com.

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