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Music in Virtual Reality


Winifred Phillips (Composer, Generations Productions, LLC)

Location: Room 3002, West Hall

Date: Thursday, March 22

Time: 3:00pm - 3:30pm

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference, Audio Conference + Tutorial - Get your pass now!

Topic: Audio

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: All

This lecture will present ideas for creating a musical score that complements an immersive VR experience. Composer Winifred Phillips will share tips from several of her VR projects. Beginning with a historical overview of positional audio technologies, Phillips will address several important problems facing composers in VR. Topics will include 3D versus 2D music implementation, and the role of spatialized audio in a musical score for VR. The use of diegetic and non-diegetic music will be explored, including methods that blur the distinction between the two categories. The discussion will also include an examination of the VIMS phenomenon (Visually Induced Motion Sickness), and the role of music in alleviating its symptoms. Phillips' talk will offer techniques for composers and audio directors looking to utilize music in the most advantageous way within a VR project.


Through examples from several VR games, Phillips will provide an analysis of music composition strategies that help music integrate successfully in a VR environment. The talk will include concrete examples and practical advice that audience members can apply to their own games.

Intended Audience

This session will provide composers and audio directors with strategies for designing music for VR. It will include an overview of the history of positional sound and the VIMS problem (useful knowledge for designers.) The talk will be approachable for all levels (advanced composers may better appreciate the specific composition techniques discussed).