In the design of this game, working title “Ethereal”, we will explore voice as an input device for the control of a graphic sprite by rescripting vocal responsivity parameters in terms of the physical properties of the sprite as it acts in its graphic environment.  Ethereal is a take on traditional puzzle-platform games experimenting in particular with vocal properties of

1) volume

2) duration

3) pitch

The voice is a means of interacting with the gameworld physics, but also will be explored as a force that has an impact upon the molecular structure (the material properties) of the sprite (player object) itself.  Specific vocal actions may also unlock certain qualities or attributes of the sprite.   Questions to be explored in this project will be:  How effectively can voice be used as a game controller?  How might certain vocal actions be linked to the graphic rendering of physical interaction?  How can voice be rendered graphically to instill an experience of material properties?  What kinds of vocal actions can be deemed intuitive or counter intuitive when employed as a controller, and consequently, what are the parameters of ‘difficulty’ when pursuing the use of voice as a control device?

A rough prototype written in processing and drawing on the Minim audio library has already been prepared by Amanda Williams and was displayed at Concordia University’s FOFA Gallery during CONGRESS 2010.

Here are some of Amanada’s sketches of the sprite, though Ethereal will go in a completely different direction.

  • Pitch changes make the sprite move up (pitch rise) or down (pitch fall).
  • Volume:  speaking louder or softer makes the sprite grow larger or smaller (gain or lose physical volume).
  • Duration (making continuous sound with voice versus silence) makes the sprite move forward, or stop.  We have played with the idea of having silence result in backwards movement, minimal vocal activity keep the sprite at a standstill and then extended vocal activity move the sprite forward.
  • Attributes:  Certain kinds of vocal activity may trigger (for a limited period of time) certain qualities or attributes in the sprite.  For example, a defensive “ears-in” posture.

One Response to “Ethereal”

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