Will Robertson

Will is a senior New Media major and Electrical Engineering minor from the Class of 2020. In his time in the New Media program he became interested in design; focusing on how projects can best be built to suit the user’s needs. He has many hobbies, such as gaming, art, and music, and enjoys thinking about how design principles can manifest in these areas. For his Capstone, he made a program in MAX MSP to create music for video games.

His Capstone:

Since Will had a combined interest in gaming and music he thought that max msp would be a good choice for his project “I think audio is a powerful tool that can be used in video games, and I wanted to create something that developers could use to add music to their games” (Will). The reason why he chose max as a development option is because of its vast capabilities in manipulating audio data.

The way that this algorithm works in the program is by first generating a set of chords using a model known as Markov chains and this where each state has a set number of possible transitions and a probability of transitioning to each state


This chord map gives a good example of what the transitions implemented in the program look like

The blue square is a chord based on the key of a piece of music. The picture gives a general idea of how certain chords can transition to different chords and this essentially forms the basis of the Markov chain used in this algorithm.

Will wanted to keep the music short in this program to create rifts for games so you are limited to 8 measures for each song. He states “For the first measure, the algorithm generates a chord at random, and then transitions to other valid states for each other measure. From each chord, a scale is then constructed to select notes for the melody.”

This is an example of what people will be shown when they open up the program and will have the creative freedom to make the song they would like

This is an example of a an algorithm that is able to create music. It may look completely different when other people make their music, but that is what is great about the program you can be versatile about what you want to create

His Talents:

Wills biggest talents are his analytical mind and his coding skills. Both of these skills were thoroughly developed when he was in the engineering program, but when he went join the new media program he felt like these skills evolved because of how different the project structures were in the program. He felt like he was able to break the chains that the engineering program was restraining on him when he joined new media because of the ability to tailor your work towards your interests

Why New Media?:

For this section, I think it is best to hear it from the person himself that has been in the program for a full year to give general consensus on new media is

I will say, that new media was not my first choice in a major. I originally started in the electrical engineering program, and almost graduated. In the end, I wanted something that allowed for more creative freedom so I decided to switch to new media with the intent to focus on learning skills related to game design. This goal has shifted from game design to more general design practices as I’ve been introduced to the concept of design throughout the program. Although I still enjoy games, there are some issues with the industry that I’m wary of, mainly the working conditions and uncertainty so I’m looking to get more into general design after I graduate.” 

Where are you from and Where do you plan on going?

Will is from a town in Maine called South China and has two different areas he wants to try to pursue after college. The first is working in the field of design. He has some experience in web design, but he thinks he will want to branch out to different other types of design other than web design. The second area he wants to work in is in video/audio production or video/audio editing. Will has been working a lot with After Effects and Premiere and has been enjoying using them, so he plans on using them way after he graduates and evolving his skills in those programs