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Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. All registered attendees will be able to build their personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021. All times are listed in Pacific Time.

From 'Spyder' to 'Sackboy: A Big Adventure' in Interactive Music

Winifred Phillips  (Composer, Generations Productions LLC)

Date: Friday, July 23

Time: 3:40pm - 4:10pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass, Audio Pass

Topic: Audio

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: N/A: I would like to deliver a virtual presentation only

Game composer Winifred Phillips worked with developer Sumo Digital simultaneously on highly interactive music for the 2020 releases of the Spyder game for Apple Arcade and the Sackboy: A Big Adventure launch game for PS5. In this talk, Phillips will break down the interactive design of her music in these two games, showing how differing music implementation tactics achieve dynamic responsiveness that enhances diverse gameplay mechanics. Phillips' talk will examine traditional deployment of horizontal and vertical music assets, as well as unusual and hybridized versions of these disciplines. Strategies for exploration and action gameplay will be explored, including the ways in which similar dynamic strategies can be applied in both high and low energy situations. Finally, special cases will be discussed, such as the use of diegetic music in a dynamic framework, and how interactive implementation can enhance timed challenges.


Using specific concrete examples from the musical scores of two games developed simultaneously, Phillips will present an assortment of contrasting strategies for enhancing musical interactivity. Attendees will learn that traditional dynamic techniques can be combined in a multitude of ways to maximize the responsiveness of a game's musical score.

Intended Audience

This session will break down dynamic music techniques for composers who want to see a wider range of possibilities in the implementation of their music assets. Discussion will also benefit other audio developers when engaged in preparing music design documents and implementation plans.