Projects: Musical Games | Laptop Ensemble | GHI | NanoThang

Musical Video Games

Sure, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and DJ Hero allow gamers to pretend they are playing music by imitating musical play. But, what if a gamer's years of playing non-musical games could translate instantly into precise musical control? Gameplay as musical performance opens the world for a wealth of new game concepts and deeper player immersion.

For my Dartmouth College Masters Thesis, I worked for thirteen months to develop three "musical video games" to allow gamers to make music while playing games: Cube (a platform game), Pyramid (a first-person shooter), and Sphere (a stealth game). The games and the complete 137-page written document are below; check them out below!

This work ("Developing Musical Video Games Through Principles of Player-Music Interactivity") is copyrighted to Alex Wroten. It is provided for fair-use educational purposes only. Contact me at alex AT before using this work for any commercial applications.


The written thesis component for these games, "Developing Musical Video Games Through Principles of Player-Music Interactivity," describes the theory and design for the project. It also serves as the reference manual for the games.

"Developing Musical Video Games..." (3.12MB PDF file)


Cube, Pyramid, and Sphere (download links below) do not need to be installed to run, but there is some setup that must be completed for them to work properly.

Unless you have a full version of MaxMSP, you will need to first download and install the MaxMSP runtime for your operating system.

You will also need a USB-compatible game controller. For the Mac versions, the games expect a DualShock 3 controller with the Tattiebogle drivers by default; for the PC versions, a DualShock 2 controller with a USB adapter is the default. The games can all be reconfigured easily to use any compatible controller.

A simple set of instructions are included with the game downloads below. Please follow these instructions to ensure proper game behaviors.

Game Downloads

Although this software is officially unsupported freeware (use at your own risk), email me at alex AT if you are having immense trouble, and I can try to help.

Download Mac OSX versions here (25.12MB ZIP file)

Download PC versions here (22.64MB ZIP file)

Download source code here (24.85MB ZIP file)
You will need Unity3D to use the source code.

These games are all copyrighted to Alex Wroten. They are provided for fair-use educational purposes only. Contact me at alex AT before using them for any commercial applications.

Click here to download Alex's resume
Site design and all contents © copyrighted to Alex Wroten unless otherwise indicated.