There was also a MIDI JAM Area where attendees could play some of the latest MIDI-equipped instruments from Roland,Yamaha, CME, Muse Research, YouRockGuitar, and others (connected through a JamHub mixer).
"Game Audio 101"
In this fun and informative presentation, game audio gurus Steve Horowitz and Scott Looney explained the evolving playing field of sound for games, highlighting both the business and technical challenges. Topics included Social Media, Mobile, and AAA games, with demonstrations of development tools such as Unity 3d, FMOD Studio, Fabric, and Master Audio.
"Dynamic Music for Games"
This talk explained the techniques and strategies for producing dynamic music scores. Topics presented included: Differences between interactive and dynamic music; Classic dynamic/interactive music forms; 10 Methods to reduce repetitions in music; Strategies to overcome technical constraints and limitations of current platforms. Scenarios were shown using Wwise, a sound engine used by hundreds of software titles including Ubisoft's Rocksmith 2014 which was also being demoed in theMIDI Innovations booth (Hall E #1086).
The Members of MMA meet annually during each Winter NAMM Show to share information and plan activities for the upcoming year. The Annual General Meeting of MMA Members began with the General Session at 9:00 am for members and invited guests. MMA President Tom White provided an overview and current status of each Technical Proposal being discussed in MMA:
Tom also mentioned the importance of OS support for MIDI and described some of the issue and opportunities being addressed by Apple, Microsoft, and Google in cooperation with MMA.
Tom then explained that with the HD Protocol Specification nearing completion it was necessary for interested product developers to consider how to make their products interoperable, and how consumers will be able to figure out what to buy and how systems will work. He said HD capabilities go way beyond those of MIDI, so interoperability will be a bigger challenge, which may need to be addressed with additional device specifications and compliance testing. He pointed out that users and retailers will also need to be educated to explain and use HD products correctly. He added that HD Protocol was not intended to replace MIDI protocol but already people on forums have been talking about "MIDI HD" and "New MIDI" so some effort must also be made to control the message. Tom said MMA operates by consensus so won't simply mandate the rules for marketing HD products, but would ask all potential developers to decide. He said the first such discussion opportunity would be an afternoon session of the AGM (see below).
Tom went on to explain that interoperability testing and market promotion/education are costly, and that MMA's current membership revenues are not sufficient to fund those activities (nor any other new projects). Tom said part of the problem is that many companies in the MI industry perceive MMA as a "standards body" and are not interested in working on standards. It is also true that many companies who are not "Manufacturers" believe they are not the intended constituency for the MMA. Tom said changing these perceptions could encourage more companies (and even individuals) to support MMA's market development and education efforts, if there were a way for them to do so separate from technical standards work. Tom said the Executive Board believes it is possible (and necessary) to address these challenges by rebranding the MMA (e.g. as the MIDI Association) and adding new classes of membership such as teachers, retailers, etc. He said the Board is looking for key people to join Advisory Committees representing these new membership classes, as well as regional committees (EU, China) and market area committees (DJ, lighting) to make sure that all stakeholders are represented.
Executive Board Members Bryan Lanser and Denis Labrecque spoke about the current state of MIDI education. Bryan said that some MI industry trade schools are not providing graduates with sufficient MIDI knowledge to be employable at MI companies, because there are no standards for what should be taught. Denis announced he would lead and an MMA project to work with educators to establish standards for MIDI education that are endorsed and marketed by MMA (including certifying teachers and/or schools and/or students). Tom White added that misinformation about MIDI is also rampant on musician forums, and even among industry people, in part because most people learned about MIDI 25 years ago, and so don't know about new messages, transports, or applications. Tom observed that manufacturers stopped including informational materials product boxes back in the 90's, so an entire generation of consumers has come along since that has not really been told much about MIDI. He said promoting accurate and current information about MIDI should be a priority for all stakeholders in MIDI, and could help MMA attract new members.
Tom then reported on MMA's participation in Music China (Shanghai) last October, and said he was looking forward to the 2nd Annual "MIDI World" event this year. He also briefly described the MMA exhibits at CES and NAMM this year, and how helpful they have been at exposing more people to MIDI and to the MMA.
After electing directors (Executive Board and Technical Standards Board) the members met in a Technical Session to review open proposals for additions and clarifications to the MIDI 1.0 Specification, and discuss other issues.
In the afternoon, an HD Protocol Business & Marketing Issues Discussion was held, as explained above. Following that discussion interested parties met to learn more about eScore Standards Activity in W3C and IEC, and to discuss methods for performing Polyphonic Legato playback with MIDI messages.