Unlikely collaboration brings innovative results

Grove City College’s departments of Computer Science and Music recently collaborated on a project to create 2D and 3D video games.

During the spring semester, Dr. Brian Dellinger ’07, professor of Computer Science, and his students joined forces with Dr. Joseph Hasper, associate professor of Music and Director of Jazz Ensembles, and Mark Wasilko ’17, Music Recruiting coordinator and Music Technology teacher, and their students to create the games.

The music students began the semester by learning to use a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) program while learning the process of game music design and composition. They did so by working with games made in the previous semester in the Computer Science Department’s 2D games class.

A 400-level computer science class called Networked Game Design worked in teams all semester to develop original multiplayer video games.

Later in the semester music students were paired with three different teams of computer science students who were in the process of creating a 3D or networked game (to be played across multiple individual consoles). In this role, music students treated the game group as their client and created music to fit what they had in mind for different parts of the game including a title screen, in-game music, sound effects and menu music. “This involved a lot of back-and-forth over the course of several meetings, but I never ceased to be impressed with how well our music majors navigated this role as well as just how good the final music sounded,” Wasilko said.

John Vanderhoff ’23, a music education major with a concentration in voice, collaborated with two specific teams who created “Laser Ping,” a sci-fi air hockey game and “Abandon Ship,” a quirky, high-pressure pirate game.

Vanderhoff would bring a new recording to the weekly meetings and the teams would discuss what worked and what did not. He said it was a challenge to create music to match the theme and intensity of the games. “But over the course of this process, I thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to help them turn their thoughts into music and I look forward to the finished product,” he said.

“This is the sort of cross-disciplinary work that we do so well at GCC, it really speaks to that liberal arts core and broadly educated student body that we cultivate,” Wasilko said. “Dr. Dellinger and his students have been a joy to work with, and it has been wonderful to see our music students flourish in this collaborative work. I’m thrilled at the idea of growing this project for the future.”

“This collaboration has been discussed for a number of years and I am thrilled that we were able to make it happen this year,” Dr. Jeffrey Tedford ’00, chair of the Department of Music said.

Unlikely collaboration brings innovative results

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