Jack Menhorn is composer/sound designer for games. Jack is co-founder of Gale Force Logic an indie game studio in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina.
GREENSBORO, N.C. –
A senior music major at Greensboro College is among the members of a team that won the grand prize today in a global computer-game modification contest.Jack Menhorn, 24, of Winston-Salem composed the musical soundtrack for a modification called “The Haunted,” based on “Unreal Tournament 3,” a game created by Epic Games of Cary, N.C.Epic and computer-chip maker Intel co-sponsored the contest, “Make Something Unreal,” with prizes totaling more than $500,000 in cash, plus program licenses and hardware. In the contest, teams competed to develop modifications of Epic’s games. In game modifications, known as “mods,” teams introduce variations such as new levels and characters.“The Haunted” is a multiplayer game in which one player fights to survive against creatures such as demons and zombies, played by other players. Or a single player can compete against the game’s artificial intelligence.Menhorn’s six-member team, most of whose other members live in Germany, won first place in the Best Game Mod category. The team’s prize is $50,000 plus a commercial license for Unreal Engine 3, the base programming for the game. That developer’s kit, Menhorn said, will enable the team to turn “The Haunted” from a modification into a true game.Grand-prize winners were announced today at the 2010 D.I.C.E. (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) Summit convention in Las Vegas. Prizes already have been awarded in four preliminary phases, during one of which Menhorn’s team won another $15,000.
Menhorn got into computer-game modification as an outlet for his skills as a musical composer. He had long known that he would major in music in college, and he had wanted to compose – “anything from punk rock to symphonic orchestras” -- ever since taking up cello in sixth grade. He was attracted to Greensboro College because Associate Professor of Music David Fox “seemed real interested in what I wanted to do, and it seemed like a real good fit for me,” Menhorn said. After high school, he took two years of private instruction in guitar and composition before enrolling at Greensboro College in 2007.He became interested in composing soundtracks for computer games because they offered him the chance to compose in many different styles. “I can compose a symphonic piece for one game, and a simple piano piece for another,” he said.He got the chance to do so through an online community, the Game Audio Network Guild. He composed music for a modification of the popular “World at War,” a World War II-based computer game. He wrote music for several other modifications, some of which haven’t been released yet, before joining the “Haunted” team.Menhorn plans to keep working on mods even as he pursues graduate studies and a teaching career."I want to teach electronic music at the university level,” he said. “To be a competitive musician, you need to be computer-savvy.”
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