Friday, 9 November 2007

Audio Game Walkthrough

I find it difficult to play audio games. I imagine this is because I do not have the quality of auditory attention that blind players do, and despite having many many years of experience playing and developing conventional games, this difference in auditory skill clearly affects my ability to design a game for a blind player.

In order to try to immerse myself in the space of an audio game I've been listening to Ivan Fegundez's walkthrough of GMA Games' Lone Wolf Mission 2.

My initial reactions to this recording and to my own playthrough of Terraformers were similar in that I felt confused and alienated by the audioscape. I wonder though if this is simply a question of interface, context and meaning that presents a similar state when playing or watching someone else play a new game.

Aside from the mildly comic interuptions from the speaker's mother and the ringing phone, I found it very interesting to listen to this game as it gave me an opportunity to try to get inside the head of an accomplished audio gamer. One of the most interesting aspects was the way I tried to adapt to the audio-only stimulus: by shutting my eyes I found that I could increase my concentration on the sounds of the game, and despite the extremely fast speech announcements after some time I found that I was filtering for only the relevant information based on pattern recognition. After hearing the spoken announcements from the game I became used to the structure of the sentences, and was able to focus my attention only on those key phrases which contained the variable data. For example "Island 100 off port twenty three hundred yards", and with this data I was able to construct a mental model in real time. Projecting myself into this mental space I felt my relation to the other game entities in terms of direction and distance, such that when the submarine's engine was running I could imagine myself moving forwards through the space, using the announcements to maintain triangulation between myself and the other objects in the water.

No comments: