Audio only game

Ed-ChigliakEd-Chigliak West Yorks (UK)
edited July 2003 in Gaming
Atleast count to 10 before you dismiss the idea completely. I know that graphics are a massive part of every recent game and don't get me wrong I love the visuals but I can't get this one out of my head. Back in the early days sound was pants like modern day mobile phones but worse but now you can do amazing sound in games and one game really stands out for me in this respect and that is homeworld. X & X beyond the frontier not even in the same league for audio but I am leaning towards a space exploration / strategy game with this idea so I'll throw it into the mix. Obviously I'm looking forward to HW2 and X2 which will be coming to a PC near me sometime soon. So what will an audio only game be like

- It will be something different where musicians and programmers can work to make dynamic interactive audio experiene.

- It will be something you can plug yourself into with a comfy pair of headphones and drift off into another reality whilst chilling out on the sofa with your eyes shut.

- It can be be as passive or as interective as you want ranging from full on micro management of resources to ambient a more conventional listening experience. AI will pick up whatever parts of the game you are not interested in so you can move about freely.

- I guess you would be some sort of creative intelligence not limited by the constraints of matter, the speed of light or the conservation of energy. So you would be omnipresent in all parts of the universe at once able to focus in on any of the action.

That's about as far as I have got with this idea.

Despite ditching the graphics I see alot of talented musicians and voice actors being required to make this work not to mention the latest in voice recognition & AI

I don't think that text to voice technology is sufficiently advanced for the main story lines but if different voices can be synthesized convincingly for each alien race that would be cool.


  • T-BirDT-BirD Montgomery, AL
    edited June 2003
    My question is - how do you interact with the game? Generally, to work a controller (mouse, keyboard, gamepad, etc), some sort of visual cue directs your replies, although many players react to audio cues - and some, such as me in my competetive quake days - are split possibly as much as 50/50 visual/aural responses.

    However, to competely take away visuals would be rough, especially if you can't supplement directional reactivity with touch or scent.

    I don't know if this could be done in space...I would think more of a city or forest setting might work better, as it could be filled with familiar sounds.

    Perhaps the game has no setting - you might need to totally break out of the box of conceiving of a "place" and instead think in terms of a state of mind.

    Also, any innovation is good innovation - even failures, should this be one (and I'm in no way saying it will be) help make things better in the long run (unless it's due to poor execution of a brilliant concept that makes everyone shy away from ever trying it again - please don't be an example of that ;)

    Keep me posted on what you come up with! And in the meantime, check out ReZ for the Dreamcast (import) and Playstation 2.
  • Ed-ChigliakEd-Chigliak West Yorks (UK)
    edited June 2003
    Wow... Rez I never new that existed. I like this quote from a review I checked out "if you like a more 'spiritual' feeling in your shoot em ups, this will impress you and suck you in like a giant brain-hoover" That's really kind of spooky because as a kid playing R-type2 and xenon2 way back on the amiga I wanted musical weapons so bad I could see the potential back then. Sound that kills and riffs for each weapon. Weapons that exploded into smaller riffs that worked as music. I'm gonna check that out on rental. My first computer program I wrote a text based racing game.. it was pants but I could see computers had so much potential.

    Maybe 15 years from now I will be checking out some audio only game. Rez has given me hope... Thanks.

    Music track by Orbital Phylosophy by Numbers... excellent start to the track and the source of inspiration for looping musical menu's. The vocals are your options and choices. You can select the choices as they are presented to you by a simple voice command 'access'. The vocals fade to music after two loops then only loop again occassionally never too often so as to become annoying and you can change this anyway to suit your ability to remember. You can have the vocal options fade back in any time there is just music playing by issuing the voice command 'repeat'. Will this work? Depends on the syle of the game. FPS not a chance but this game isn't anythink like FPS... it's a game like X that will build slowly but in your head using your imagination. From nothing in the begining it will eventually fill your brain like having to think 9 moves ahead in a game of chess. Like all good chess games AI can step in so if your not in the mood it will play itself and you can just enjoy an audio experience.

    I see indirect control by accessing and changing the AI behaviour of the 'entities' that inhabit the universe collecting AI script from different parts of the universe assimilating and compiling new AI. In the begining there isn't much... there is space and there are strange musical noises like some artist has actually used recording from space radio telescopes to make planet music I read. That's a cool begining to my game. You can investigate each noise focusing on different musical sounds. Sounds are like locations and the voice command 'focus' changes your direction. Geting there takes time and traveling is musical and different directions in £D space have different audio qualities. £D doen't work on a 2D screen yo end up almost ignoring the Z dimension and playing the likes of homeworld almost as you would any other RTS title. Anyway you can navigate so you can explore and you can discover and you know which diection you are headed and probably what speed... information garbled at first materialises at each location. Statistical data start to flow and brain starts to hoover up facts thinking 1 chess move ahead brain engaged and memory loading. Planets, moons, solar systems sythesised by vocals using fractal mathematics or some other clever techniques to create the illusion of an infinate universe. Fractal maths right... that's how Elite had galaxies in 32k RAM and something like 6000 named planets per galaxy.

    That's all I can think right now.
  • ChilakChilak Over there ->
    edited June 2003
    My question is also, how would you interact witht he game. Say you were integrate this into decent2 or 3. How would you make the ship stear from the left to the right while firing a plasma rifle and rockets, and follow the little bot? Our brain cannot process that much information consciously fast enough. Not to mention the tool would have to read brain waves or something to that effect in order to figure out what your doing.

    An idea for his would to have a joystick or something that reads your movements as you stear around in the sound.
  • Ed-ChigliakEd-Chigliak West Yorks (UK)
    edited June 2003
    Hi Chilak... I will try explain how I see interaction taking. Sorry if I have not exlained clearly but I think you jump to the wrong conclusion when I say space game because so many space games are the tried and trusted dogfight, upgrade weapons and dogfight some more. How can you do this with audio only? Well you can't. Bats have the ability to locate prey by sound but you and I would have to evolve first.

    Perhaps you are not familiar with Homeworld and X Beyond the Frontier both set in space. Homeworld is an real time strategy has the usual technology tree, resources, research & build formula. You collect resources and spend those resources to build up a fleets of ships then send them to do battle with your opponent who could be real or computer AI. When two opposing fleets engage in battle you sit back and watch the fireworks so to speak. In Homeworld you never get to pilot any of the ships so left, right & shoot control is not like decent2 and 3. There is no first person dogfighting because in Homworld your ship(s) use AI and will chase down any 'little bots' and fire plasma all on there own. The AI had 3 settings agressive, nuetral and passive and your choice changed the behaviour of your ships in different situations. I'll not go into detail about X-btf... must be your lucky day.

    Anyway cutting a long story short... you interact with the game using a microphone and a bunch of key voice commands. Audio menus in the game listen for key words to 'access' and 'select' from options which are looped vocals in the audio menu that has the current focus. Focus can be anything in the game or everything in the game. You can zoom out and the sound will be like exposure to the borg collective mind in star trek or you can zoom in to detail like the pilot crap his load when a cloaked gunship drops cloak and blows him away!

    There will be a massive library of audio sound effects which will build up the visuals image in your head.

    I use game commander all the time to interact with various games and issue orders. It really isn't that difficult to design a game that doesn't require conventional input devices.

  • T-BirDT-BirD Montgomery, AL
    edited July 2003
    Ed: Check your pm. I'd love feedback. The audio-only game idea intrigues me.
  • Ed-ChigliakEd-Chigliak West Yorks (UK)
    edited July 2003
    T-Bird Check out uplink let me know what you think. It's a recent title and got good press reviews that does not rely on fancy graphics and is set in a computer network environment.

    Let me know what you think.

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