Process and development

Not only does Organum require the collaboration from its players, it has required collaboration by a team from multiple academic disciplines.  The design process we have followed reflects techniques from art practice, drama and performance, computer science, game studies, and interaction design. 

Using the team as a cast, we have participated in a number of role-playing activities ranging from the predictable – experiments in group singing – to the seemingly ridiculous – the hands-free use of straws to move a ring of modeling clay up model of a voice box.  Additionally, we have progressed through our designs using a number of small tests, that have helped us work out ideas.  These tests have come in the form of animated movies, game simulations, and lo-fidelity interactive prototypes.  Finally, we have integrated techniques from the user-centered design process by conducting a user needs assessment through interviews and observations.  This runs against traditional notions of how artwork is typically created, but is in sync with game designers' notion of play test (see Art and Interface Design: Investigations into user-centered design process for the creation of interactive art).

We have had two public play tests of the game. The first, at the open house for the Berkeley Institute for Design, showed us that we were heading in the right direction. While the participants had fun, we could see where we needed to improve. Since then, we have made significant changes to all aspects the game. The second, ongoing at the UC-Berkeley Art Department's Faculty art show, is helping us find the changes necessary to create a more meaningful experience.


Organum has been built with Max/MSP and Jitter. Level design was done with Alias | Wavefront Maya. It runs on a Macintosh G5, running OS X. Our audio hardware includes an Edirol FA-101 FireWire Audio Capture Interface, a Focusrite Octopre Microphone Preamp, and microphones. While the latest play test uses a 24" flat panel monitor, the game is meant to be played on a larger scale.

Audio input in Max/MSP