You've been logged out of GDC Vault since the maximum users allowed for this account has been reached. To access Members Only content on GDC Vault, please log out of GDC Vault from the computer which last accessed this account.

Click here to find out about GDC Vault Membership options for more users.


The Number One Educational Resource for the Game Industry

Session Name:

How Music Enhances Virtual Presence


"Virtual presence" is a state in which gamers fully accept their existence in a virtual world. This talk will explore how game music can enhance virtual presence in VR gaming. The talk will begin with an exploration of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's flow theory and Paul Cairns' research on psychological engagement in video gaming. By understanding how player mental activity interacts with game design, composers can create music that induces psychological states conducive to virtual presence. The discussion will include techniques to draw attention to mission objectives, facilitate concentration, enhance emotional empathy and intensify player focus. Also discussed: some of the drawbacks to virtual presence, including its fragility when exposed to negative emotions, and its possible susceptibility to the "event boundary" phenomenon. Musical solutions will be explored. Phillips' talk will offer techniques for composers and audio directors seeking to employ music to enhance virtual presence.

Did you know free users get access to 30% of content from the last 2 years?

Get your team full access to the most up to date GDC content

  • GDC 2019
  • Winifred Phillips
  • Generations Productions, LLC
  • free content
  • Audio
  • Audio