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rakketh

FPA - First Person Audio

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I had an idea for a game similar in layout to Wolfenstein 3D, but instead of displaying it on the screen, convert it to audio. For example, the closer the wall the higher the pitch from that point. Obviously you'd need good surround sound. The two systems I can think of are to either alter frequency or volume to determine proximity. If I wanted to add enemies to shoot rather than just have it as a maze, I could alter the wave pattern for the sound in that direction. Taking damage could be indicated by a dimming of the volume, either as a health indicator so the volume stays at the new level, or as a fluctuation just to indicate you were hit. I could also try doing it like a sonar, so you hear a blip, then a sound in all directions delayed to the distance of the wall/enemy/whatever. I'm wondering if this could work, whether there would be enough granularity in audio positioning to get a good picture of the area around you? Although I hadn't thought of this as an aid to the blind, rather just as something cool to try, is there anything out there that does anything similar? Either in gamin or as an actual imaging aid?

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Why not go ask a blind person?

Or take a blindfold, put it on, and walk around like that for a day or so. See how it feel, how you experience it, but there is one thing that is lack and that is touch which you might try force feed back vibrating controller or force feed back socks and gloves. You could also morph the camera from visual to using it like a cane of sorts where the cane is moved/dragged by a right analog stick or control and then the R3 button is used to tap

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I'm actually working on a game with the same idea.

It's a basket ball game for the blind. No graphics at all, just sound.

It's a one-on-one with a simple A.I. that trys to block your throws or try to score if it takes the ball. You can tell where the A.I. is by the sound if it foot steps (or ball bounce).

My client - who's also a sound engineer - suppleis the sound files. He got everything from crowd cheers and foul sounds to ball-throw sounds and shoe squakes.

As for me, due to the fact that I'm not blind and not so good with my ears, I had to make a samll 2D representaion of the game (just squars and circles) to see were everything is (and for testing). I plan to disable it when the project is done.

For what I have seen (and hear), for this type of games the quailty of the sound is important (where in graphical games, gaphics don't have to be that good if the game play is good). We kept adding more sounds to make it a bit easier for the blind players to know where they are. Example, the player can request an extra crowd cheers so he/she can know if they already passed half the court or not.

I'm using the SDL_Mixer for this. It has distance and sound panning.

Hope this helps :)
Cheers
Farraj.

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Something you may find interesting/useful - if you haven't already researched it - is Binaural Recording http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binaural_recording

Here's an example (get your headphones):

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Thanks for the replies, but I think everyone is misunderstanding my idea. I am not trying to emulate blindness, but rather to hear the full environment around you all of the time.

Picture a wall 2 foot infront of you and another 1 foot to the right. With my output idea you would hear a high pitch to your right and a lower pitch infront.

The binaural recording wiki is interesting. If there is any example of binaural recording being emulated in code, or the theory of doing so, it could be interesting to try to implement it as a headphone option.

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Quote:
Original post by rakketh
Thanks for the replies, but I think everyone is misunderstanding my idea. I am not trying to emulate blindness, but rather to hear the full environment around you all of the time.

Picture a wall 2 foot infront of you and another 1 foot to the right. With my output idea you would hear a high pitch to your right and a lower pitch infront.


Why would you want to do that? that would help with giving a better answer.

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Myself and my housemate worked on something similar in University.
We built a headset which consisted of a number of sensors (ultrasonic, digital compass, accelerometer, ubisense), RF transmitter and a set of wireless headphones. The sensors gave use a persons position and orientation as well as distance to an object, which was transmitted to a PC and audio feedback was generated (using FMod for 3D sound and a soundcard with hardware HRTF functionality). Basically, we built an audio based augmented reality framework.

What we did with this is simulate environments through sound and allow the user to move around them. Some demo applications we built were playing sounds in certain locations as waypoints and then guiding the user along a path; a game where you had to "find the sound"; a virtual band where different band members/instruments were played at different locations in the room, which could be walked around; playing sounds when the user walked up to or along walls.

We thought a lot about how to represent information through sound and how to give feedback for different scenarios like walls, obstacles, doors and stairs. For representing sound in 3D, binaural recording makes a huge difference on quality (ie, how easily a person can correctly and accurately localize sounds) and failing that, HRTF can yield usable results.

I'd be very interested in seeing audio games or audio interfaces (supplemental maybe) for games or applications. Representing information through sound has not been fully exploited yet, IMHO.

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