Tag: Introductions

An Unconventional Vistor

I am Walker White, a faculty member in the department of Computer Science.  I am also the person in charge of the game design minor at Cornell. I am going to join you all in the course for the semester.  I have almost 1000 students in my CS course this semester, so we will see how long that lasts.  But my goal is to remain with you until the end (and I have 80 TAs holding down the ship).

My interest in this course is to get a better idea of how musicians and audio engineers work.  I write a lot of software.  I have written a custom game engine for the courses that I teach at Cornell, and that includes a custom sound engine.  But software is only good if people use it, and so I need to understand more about the users of the software (both the creators and the programmers) to improve it.

The sound engine I am working on is a particularly interesting project.  All of the open source sound engines for games are 20-year old technology.  They can mix pre-recorded samples and that is about it.  If you want to do something more interesting and give more control to the audio designer, then you have to use one the commercial tools like Wwise or FMOD.  They will charge you for the number of copies you sell.  Last year CS 4152 had a student game go viral and get 700,000 downloads on Android, so that would have been very bad (they did not charge enough to cover a license if they needed one).

There is clearly a market for an open source solution between these two options and that is what I am working on.  The CS side is pretty intense — I have Masters students working with me.  But there may be some opportunities for collaboration here.


Hello, I’m Amy

I’m a sophomore studying Computer Science–just like the two before me–and minoring in Game Design. I am also a pianist, violinist and dancer, so performing is very close to my heart, especially from the dance side of things. I’ve witnessed that in dance an artist has a far more palpable goal of impressing or evoking emotion in his or her audience . . . as evidenced by the persisting fanfare, ambition and intrigue surrounding dance culture. Whenever I performed on instrument, I always felt that the performance was intrinsically a little more personal, a little more private. I hope live electronic music performance will be a combination of both.

A lot of things interest me about this course, but one of them is the opportunity to reconnect with music in a vastly different way than my classical background permitted before. In particular, discovering ways of “looking beyond [the] intended utility [of software and hardware combinations] to our own, re-imagined purposes” resonates with me for reasons I can’t yet explain, since I have only ever played instruments the way they were traditionally intended.

I’ve done collaborations before that involved music and dance, and I hope this class is another space for me to explore that realm. Besides being a musician and dancer, I also have a clutter of other interests (assets, if you will) that include being a gamer, listening to Anamanaguchi and other random EDM artists, and trying to be proficient at using my soundboard (the smaller version of Shawn Wasabi’s).

Here’s some stuff I’ve been listening to recently:


My name’s Jacob Lifton, and I’m currently a senior in Arts and Sciences. I’m a premed Spanish major, but I’ve been interested in music, particularly piano. I’m classically trained, and I’ve been in a couple of bands throughout the years, but lately I’ve had trouble finding people to play with, and I’ve gotten somewhat frustrated with the limitations of learning and playing pieces solo. I very recently realized that electronic music of some sort or another would allow me to produce big sounds just as one person, so I got Logic and a MIDI keyboard, and have been doodling around with various settings and such for a month or so now. I’m particularly interested in writing somewhat danceable/groovy-experimental/jazz electronic music. I’m hoping this class can teach me about sampling, synthesis, mastering, and the host of other techniques that can be used to make good music. Looking forward to it!


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