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Independent Games Summit: Hitting the Right Notes: Tying Gameplay to Music in 'Soundfall'

Nick Cooper  (Co-Founder, Game Director, Drastic Games)

Location: Room 2009, West Hall

Date: Monday, March 20

Time: 9:30 am - 10:30 am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass, Independent Games Summit Pass

Topic: Independent Games

Format: Lecture

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: All

Soundfall is a rhythmic top-down looter shooter where the entire world moves in time with the music, and each level is procedurally generated from a song—including support for player-imported tracks.

This session will cover how everything in the game was synced to the beat: animations, SFX, VFX, enemy behaviors, input, abilities, and more; how this worked across a wide range of BPMs and even through mid-song tempo changes; and the tricks behind getting this all feeling smooth and seamless in online co-op.

It will also go into the procedural generation of levels based on audio analysis of songs, and how the resulting data was leveraged in biome selection, level generation, encounter generation, enemy generation, and the loot system. Finally, this session will discuss ideas for expanding on these concepts in future games and experiences.


Attendees will gain insight into the design and technical challenges involved in integrating music and gameplay. They'll learn about novel ways that audio design can enhance other elements of their gameplay, or add entirely new gameplay, whether it be in rhythm games or different types of interactive experiences.

Intended Audience

This is for developers who are interested in new ways of integrating music with other aspects of their interactive experiences, and learning about how audio design can enhance game mechanics more directly. Also, attendees who are interested in learning about the most challenging technical and design hurdles faced in the development of Soundfall.