Hi, I’m Ken and I’m a game designer and educator
Playing a game, playing a piano, there a reason we “play” with both? Can we draw parallels between how we interact with plastic buttons on a joypad versus the silver plated pads of a flute? Does the feeling of flow summoned by musicians, gamers, and artists alike, share commonalities that can create new gameplay opportunities and soundscapes that disrupt how we think about the intersection of music and games? My goal is to create a repertoire of game design systems that can serve as an entry point for the design of interactive audio games while synthesizing the study of both audio and gaming.
Throughout my entire career, I have been a game designer and an audio designer. As a game designer, audio creation and integration were a part of my daily tasks as well as developing new levels, interactions, and in-game cinematics for my games. I have developed aural landscapes, directed interactive music scores that react to the players actions, reinvented touch screen music games in High School Musical 3: Senior Year, and created new interactions through an experimental poetry app based on the cadence of William Shatner called Shatoetry. Audio is important to me, as is the absence of it. Understanding how to integrate audio in step with the game rules is critical for successful game interactions.
All games have a series of rules. Players might be familiar with rules that are written down on a piece of paper and packaged in a board game. However, in games, we utilize a specific term called a game mechanic. A player cannot “mechanic” a game, and you cannot hire a game mechanist, but game mechanics encapsulate traditional ideas like rules, and take the concept a step further. The definition of Game Mechanics, or simply Mechanics, refers to a dynamic within a game that provides players with a structure to play in.
My primary research goals are directed toward understanding game design systems as it pertains to music and audio experiences. My ultimate aim is to create a series of game systems that effectively map out the possibilities of what a designer can and cannot accomplish within an audio-interactive game space. What game mechanics can also have a musical application? With these new mechanics, games would further musical education, the musical nature of society, and further understand the capabilities and functions of music and audio within interactive experiences.
In my work, I synthesize viewpoints on interactive experiences across game development, pedagogy, musicology, and art as it applies to interactive digital and analog experiences. The creation of new musical games spawns new genres of gameplay. Consider the billion dollar franchises of Guitar Hero and Rock Band that were developed by Harmonix, a single company dedicated to audio gaming. Except for these two games, and a few outliers throughout the history of game development, games based on audio cues and music are few and far between. By pursuing this line of research, I can contribute a significant body of new game mechanics.
I am always on the lookout for good projects and teams to work with. Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org