Welcome to the Resources Section. These resources provide useful information for the creation of audio games, game accessibility and background information of the industry in general. Most links link to the authors website. In some cases (like GamaSutra.com and AudysseyMagazine.org) it is necessary to register (which is free) to read the article. We also maintain several backup copies for availability reasons (for when the source server is down) and accessibility reasons (some files, such as .pdf files, may not be accessible for all assistive technology). If you are an author and for any reason do not want to have a backup copy of your work on this website, please email us and we will remove it.
Game Developers Conference 2012 Audio Report by Sander Huiberts
In March 2012, Dr Sander Huiberts of the Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU) visited the audio tracks of the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco. The GDC is the world's largest professionals-only game industry event. In order to share the information of the GDC with peers, students and other professionals, Sander has written an extensive report containing relevant information.
Captivating Sound: the Role of Audio for Immersion in Games by Sander Huiberts
PhD-thesis about the relation between game sound and (computer) game immersion.
Publications by Niklas Röber
Niklas Röber has a listing of several articles on audiobooks and audio games on his website.
"Depthrow: A Physics-based Audio Game" by Stefano Papetti, Delphine Devallez, and Federico Fontana (2008)
In this paper for the 14th International Conference on Auditory Display, the authors discuss an interactive audio game designed around the auditory perception of distance and the use of physics-based models for simulations of the dynamics, the sound source, and the acoustical environment. The game consists in throwing a virtual sounding object inside a virtual open-ended tube which is inclined. The task is to keep the object inside the tube, in other words the user should adjust the initial velocity applied to the object such that the latter does not fall out at the far end of the tube.
"Pyvox 2: an audio game accessible to visually impaired people playable without visual nor verbal instructions" by Thomas Gaudy, Stéphane Natkin and Dominique Archambault (2008)
In this paper for the 3rd International Conference on E-learning and games, the authors discuss the design of an audio game without any verbal feedback, comparing it to the design of sound toys.
"IEZA: A Framework For Game Audio" by Sander Huiberts and Richard van Tol (2008)
In this technical Gamasutra feature, two academics compare film audio to game audio to reach a definitional framework for game audio.
Printer friendly (more accessible) version
"Audiomenus" by Sander Huiberts @ Captivating Sound (2008)
Self-voicing audio games often use audio menus (interfaces without visuals). This article is based on a thesis (2002) written in Dutch containing guidelines for the usability of audio menus.
"The Role Of The Mouse In Audio Games" by Brian Bors (2007)
Article on Game-accessibility which explains the use of the mouse in audio games.
"Ouch Guide to ... Switch Gaming" - by Barrie Ellis (2007)
This BBC article is written by Barrie Ellis, member of the GA-SIG and long-time webmaster of his excellent website on one-switch games, OneSwitch.org.uk. One-switch games? Yep, a different kind of accessible computer game! A must-read by anyone interested in game accessibility!
"Gaming with a visual handicap at Game Accessibility" - by Sander Huiberts and Richard van Tol (2006)
A concise overview of the scope of games for the visually impaired.
"What blind games want the industry to know" by Sander Huiberts and Richard van Tol (2006)
Document containing the experiences of blind gamers.
"Barrierefreie Spiele" by Felix Knoke (2005)
Recently several people of the accessible games community and the audio games community were asked to do an interview for an article in Der Spiegel, an established German magazine. We were asked too but were too busy to reply (sorry, Felix). The article discusses several games accessible for the blind and also how blind gamers manage to play regular videogames.
"Improving Game Accessibility" by Kevin Bierre (2005)
Kevin Bierre, member of the Game Accessibility Special Interest group, has published an in depth introductionairy article about game accessibility on GamaSutra.com. You can read the article through this link. We have also added a link to our Resources. Thanks for mentioning AudioGames.net, Kevin!
"Paper, Plastic or Playstation? - Adapting a game across a wide range of technologies" by Scott Kim
This is a video recording of a presention given by Scott Kim at the People, Computers, and Design seminar at Stanford University on Oct 8, 2004. Scott is a puzzle designer who has worked in a wide variety of electronic and nonelectronic media, ranging from paper and physical toys, to the web and mobile phones. Working in many media has given the designer a good perspective on the strengths and weakness of each medium. In this talk Scott will show how a game mutates when moved from medium to another, and discuss how to take advantage of the unique capabilities of each medium while being aware of its limitations. This presentation contains a lot of valuale information for every audio game and accessible game designer. The link above links to an .asx videostream. You can download the slides of the powerpoint presentation through this link.
I'd like to add a comment Scott made while explaining how a Tangram puzzle can be adapted to the computer medium:
" (...) or you can go after the players experience. Which is 'what do you think about' or 'what is interesting about the game', mentally, when you are playing? The deeper you go the bigger the jump you can make. If you go after the core experience, the player experience, you might do something with sound. It might not even be a visual game."
"Designing Sound for a Pervasive Mobile Game" by Inger Ekman, Jussi Lahti, Jani Nummela, Petri Lankoski, Frans Mäyrä
This paper focuses on sound design in pervasive mobile games. The paper describes how sound can be used as a primary information channel facilitating the use of physical movement as a main game mechanics (audio game anyone?). The link links to a .doc file.
"Playing Audio-only Games: A compendium of interacting with virtual, auditory Worlds" by Niklas Röber & Maic Masuch
This paper gives an overview of playing audio-only games, ranging from techniques for actually playing these games, to methods to author and design auditory environments. More information about the authors and their projects can be found at http://isgwww.cs.uni-magdeburg.de/games/audio/. The link links to a .doc file.
"Playing in the Sandbox: Developing games for children with disabilities" by Paul Kearney
This paper highlights many of the issues surrounding computer games and disabled children. It suggests areas on further study and opportunities for developments in this area. The also details the ongoing research with Cerebral Palsy students using computer games that help them “feel like real people”. The link links to a .doc file.
"Game Toegankelijkheid" by Richard van Tol & Sander Huiberts
This is a Dutch-language article on game accessibility, written by yours truly for the Accessibility foundation.
"Undergraduate Engineers Devise Basketball System for the Blind" by Johns Hopkins University
This article describes an auditory basketball system. The backboard over the hoop has a sound emitter, and so does the ball, so that blind players can "hear" their way around the court.
"Breaking the 64 Spatialized Sources Barrier" by Nicolas Tsingos, Emmanuel Gallo, and George Drettakis
Spatialized soundtracks and sound effects are standard elements in today's games. However, the number of available 3D audio hardware channels remains limited, usually ranging from 16 to 64 in the best case. The authors introduce the idea of clustering strategies which can be used to map a larger number of sources to a limited number of channels with little impact to the perceived audio quality.
"Design With Music In Mind: A Guide to Adaptive Audio for Game Designers" - by Guy Whitmore
In this article about "adaptive audio" and "interactive audio" the author explains ways that game designers can work more closely with composers to achieve a more integrated soundtrack for games.
"Andrew Barnabas - The Multi-tasking World of Game Audio" by Jim Batcho
A very short interview with Andrew Barnabas (composer for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe) in which he mentions a few techniques and terms related to game audio design.
"Your Audio Design Document: Important Items to Consider in Audio Design, Production, and Support" - by Keith Zizza
This already older article, demonstrates some effective, practical methods in designing and supporting audio for games, using an Audio Design Document.
"The Blind Fragging The Blind" - by David Cohn
Article on audio games on popular website Wired.com, featuring interviews with many developers.The article covers quite a large scope of the field of blind-accessible gaming.
"Blind computer users are playing by ear" - by Hiawatha Bray
A fairly basic article on blind-accessible gaming, including an interview with Justin Daubenmire of BSC Games.
"Play Along - An Approach to Videogame Music" - by Zach Whalen
In this essay, the author attempts to develop a workable theory of videogame music that approaches the question of music as a part of the narrative component of games.
"Blind Gamers Get Their Own Titles"- by Geoff Adams-Spink
This BBC-article focuses on games for the blind and includes an interview with yours truly.
"User Interface Augmentation: Vision and Sound" - by J. R. Parker
In this paper, the author describes an virtual audio card game which uses aspects of the real world and simulated computer perception. The augmented input scheme uses hand gestures, in particular those that would be used if playing a game with real cards. An augmented output scheme uses audio, especially voice descriptions of cards and relative hand positions, in three dimensions. The result is a game that is playable by anyone using any flat surface with no actual cards and no need to touch or look at the computer. A large class of interfaces can profit from these ideas, and visually impaired users have expanded access to existing systems.
"i3 Magazine - Spring Issue" - by various
This is the 2001 spring issue of the i3 community (view more of their issues here). In it is an article about games for the blind, as well as some very interesting (but dated) audio projects such as an interactive disco.
"Audio Games - New Perspectives on Game Audio" - by Johnny Friberg & Dan Gärdenfors
Both authors work for SITREC which is involved in many audio game research projects. This highly informative paper discusses the design of audio games as well as mainstream music games. In the TiM project (Tactile Interactive Multimedia), SITREC develops three sound-based games that point out new directions for game audio design. The TiM games demonstrate different ways in which games can be designed around an auditory experience. Several unique features of audio games are presented emphasising unexplored potentials for interactivity and future development areas are suggested. This document is a .pdf file.
"Computer games for children with visual impairments" - by Yvonne Eriksson and Dan Gärdenfors
The Swedish Library of Talking Books and Braille (TPB) has published web-based computer games for children with different kinds of visual impairments. As the target groups have very different needs when it comes to the use of graphics and sound, TPB have developed two kinds of games. Image-based games aim to encourage children with partial sight to practise recognising visual objects, while sound-based games also intend to be accessible without relying on vision. Based on the results of two pilot studies, this paper discusses central design issues of the graphical and sound-based interfaces for this type of applications.
"Sonic WarGame " - by SonicWargame.net
Sonic Wargame is a musical game for 4 teams of 3 (electronic) musicians each and a referee. The teams are positioned in the 4 corners of the space and the referee is in the middle. The audience is free to move in between. The whole thing is somewhere in between a performance and an installation. You could also call Sonic Wargame a collective musical instrument, although it is actually more of a "meta-instrument".
"Audio Spellen" - by Dennis van der Heijden
This dutch article is about audio games and there's an interview with us (SoundSupport.net / AudioGames.net) about our perspective on audio games and game accessiblity.
"IGDA Game Accessibility White Paper" - by various
The purpose of this white paper is to provide information about game accessibility. Currently, game accessibility has been addressed in only a limited manner. By providing information about what game accessibility is, how important it is to disabled gamers, and by looking at the current state of affairs, the authors hope to start discussions on how games can be made more accessible to a wider population.
"Gaming With A Disability" - by Christian "Catachan" D'Amico
In this short article the author looks into the subject of game accessibility.
"Audio Space Invaders" - by R J McCrindle and D Symons
This paper describes the development and features of the resultant Audio Space Invaders game. The aims of the described work are to prove that the standard features of a traditional space invader game can be replicated using a 3-D audio (ambisonic) environment and that through combining audio and visual interfaces with force feedback joystick movement that it is possible to produce a multi-modal game that can be played by both sighted and non-sighted users, thereby enabling them to share the same gaming experience. This document is a .pdf file.
"A Cooperative Game Environment for Interaction between Blind and Sighted Users" - by UNKNOWN (please contact us if you have written this!)
This paper presents a software system implementing a remote synchronous collaborative “battleship” game which can be played by two persons. The system provides two different interfaces, one to be used by sighted people and the other to be used by blind people, thus allowing sighted and blind people play against each other, without knowing if the adversary is a sighted or blind person. This document is a .doc file.
"Composing Interactive Music" - by Kurt Harland
In this article the author describes some of the basics of interactive music for games.
"Scoren met je Oren" - by Marieke v.d. Heyden (BNN)
This article includes an interview with yours truly and Top Speed co-developer Pieter de Ruijter about audiogame fun in Holland.
"Audio Surfer " - by Martin Riches
Audio Surfer is an experimental arcade audiogame. It is developed by Martin Riches and is part of his exhibit called "The Machines".
"TiM Project Report" - by SITREC
This document describes the games and applications that have been made with the TiM game developer tool and includes a little background info on the TiM project, as well as several very interesting (audio game-) designer problems and solutions! The document is a .pdf file.
"Designing an Auditory W-LAN based Game" - by various
This research paper describes how the location-based audiogame Dark Circus was concieved and what it is all about. An interesting read! The document is a .pdf file.
"Access All Games" - by gamesTM
This very professional and throrough article on the TotalGames website focuses on the ins and outs of accessible gaming. The authors names several developers such as Adora Entertainment and GMA Games. You can follow the discussion following the article on the Armchair Arcade forum.
"Interactive Music " - by Rob Bridgett
The article gives a good insight about the state of interactive music. A good read for everyone who wants to incorporate interactive music in their game!
"Off Screen Sound in Interactive Media" - by Rob Bridgett
This is a small article on non-visual communication in interactive media such as games.
"Subtlety and Silence" - by Rob Bridgett
An interesting article on the use of subtle sound design in games.
"Interview with Jim Kitchen" - by MediaLT
This is a 30-minute recording of an interview with Jim Kitchen recorded by MediaLT on the 6th of march 2001. MediaLT's is a Norwegian developer of software for visually impaired users and has created some accessible games as well. You need RealPlayer to play this .ram file.
"Spelen met je oren" - by Marieke Kruithof
This paper describes an experiment conducted by the author in which sighted gamers are asked to play audio games and share their experiences and thoughts. With it, the author researches the potential of audio games for the visual gamer. With sub-questions like "What are the possibilities to market audio games for sighted and blind users?" the author explores edges of audio game professionalisation. The document, a .pdf file, is in the Dutch language.
"Auditory Direct Manipulation for Blind Computer Users" - by Fredrik Winberg
This work is related to another work of the same author and is already featured in our 2003 Article Section. Direct manipulation is a fundamental property of graphical user interfaces which makes the interface easier to use by presenting all objects continuously, allowing physical interaction, and giving immediate feedback on the user’s actions. The object of this work is to find out whether auditory direct manipulation is possible, if blind computer users could benefit from having auditory direct manipulation, and if this could support collaboration with sighted users.
"Virtual Environment Interaction through 3D Audio by Blind Children" - by Jaime Sánchez, PhD. & MauricioLumbreras, MSc.
This academic thesis is about AudioDoom, a virtual 3D audio environment that enables testing non trivial interfaces and cognitive tasks with blind children. The authors explored the construction of cognitive spatial structures in the minds of blind children through audio-based entertainment and spatial sound navigable experiences. An interesting read. The link above links to a .pdf file.
"Audio games: May your ears be with you" - by Ben Shapiro
This article is a general story on audio games and is just one example of the growing interest of the sighted audience in audio games.
"Demor Research Report" - by G7
This is the official research report that was written while developing Demor. The report is in Dutch. The link above links to a .pdf file. To read a possibly more accessible version, download the .doc version here.
"Audio games. Games fuer Blinde " - by Games Talk mit Andreas Lange: Reboot FM
This is a 90-minute recording of a radioshow called Game Talk mit Andreas Lange which was broadcasted on the 21st of March 2004 by Reboot FM, a German radio broadcaster. The show focuses on audio games. Unfortunately, the subject of audio games is approached as solely "games for the blind" (which differs from our personal point of view). The absence of interesting audio games like Demor and Terraformers (and Drive of course :) is a pity, because those developements would have brought more insight into the current state of the market. However, several games can be heard, like GMA Tank Commander, Super Tennis, Time Adventures and Insomnia. Max Schrapnell is also mentioned. The broadcast is in the German language. Author and Licence holder is Andreas Lange.
"The game environment from an auditive perspective" - by Axel Stockburger
This paper was presented at the Level Up Digital Games Research Conference 2003. It focuses on how sound is used in game environments. The author analyses the sound in games using a observant, non-semantic method and introduces some very interesting ideas on spatial game sound. Highly recommended!
"Ohren Auf und Durch" - by Felix Knoke
This is is a very small German article on blind gamers. For who's interested.
This is not a static article but about an entry in the Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia using Wiki technology. The thought behind Wiki is that everyone can add knowledge to a knowledge database and edit existing information. Since "audio games" were not yet featured we've added it to the Wikipedia. Everyone is free to add and edit here!
"Accessing games through sound, motion and emotion" - by Ben Williamson
This article, which features SoundSupport, the AudioGames.net website and Terraformers, is about the developement of making games accessible for people with visual and motor impairments.
"Micro-Narratives in Sound Design: Context, Character, and Caricature in Waveform Manipulation" - by M. Back & D. Des
This paper reviews sound design techniques used in professional audio for music and theater and proposes a conceptual approach to the construction of audio based in narrative structure. A necessity for every audio game developer.
"Musical Aspects of Sound (pitch, dynamics, timbre) as the core elements for interaction in sound based computer games" - by George Primentas
Together with 2 other MA students, the author conducted an audio game researchproject. This paper is his MA dissertation. You can read more about the final game here.
"Designing Sound-Based Computer Games" - by Dan Gärdenfors
In this document Dan Gärdenfors, developer of several Flash audio games, describes his views on and experiences with designing audio games. Very interesting!!! Notice: The link links to a .pdf file so you need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it.
"Drive Research Report" - by Richard van Tol, Sander Huiberts & Hugo Verweij
This is the official research report that was written while developing Drive. Although the report is already a little dated it still provides valuable information for future developers.
"Blind Games - Software Developement Project" - by Various
This link refers to a website that describes the developement of a blind-accessible game. Although the final game is not an audio game, the site is still a good resource for anyone planning to create an audio game.
"Adaptive techniques in difficulty management - part1" - by Robison Bryan
This article is a reprint of an exclusive article for Audyssey Magazine. The author researches the value and potential of several adaptive gaming techniques. Part 2 of the article will follow in time.
"Audio Games: Fun for all? Just for fun?" - by S. Targett and M. Fernström
This paper, presented at the ICAD 2003 convention, shows the academic interest in games based on sound: audio games! The authors describe their research on speechless audio games and also mention Grizzly Gulch Western Extravaganza.
"Christopher Lewis: The Formula 1 Audio Racing Game " - by AudioGames.net
AudioGames.net has had the privilege to an EXCLUSIVE interview with audio game developer Christopher Lewis about his upcoming audio racing game: Audio Formula 1! This game is set to be the most realistic Formula 1 audio game ever!
"The Sonified Towers of Hanoi" - by Fredrik Winberg & Sten-Olof Hellström
Winberg and Hellström did extensive research on the use of continuous sound presentation and the direct manipulation of that sound within a given interface. They used a sonified version of the ancient puzzle game The Towers of Hanoi for their research.
"De toekomst van audio games" - by Dennis van der Heijden
This dutch article deals with "the future of audio games", as the title mentions. Our team (Soundsupport) got interviewed for this article as well. Part 2 of the article will follow in time.
"Accessible Gaming " - by Sile O'Modhrain
This article, published by the BBC, gives some general information on accessible gaming. The author (who has a masters degree in Music Technology and a Ph.D. for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics) mentions The Curb Game and Terraformers.
"Modern Audio Technologies in Games" - by Aleksei Menshikov
This article is based on the authors presentation on 3D sound in games given at the Game Developers Conference in Moscow in 2003. Aleksei Menshikov is a professional developer of 3D sound based engines for modern games.
"Interactive Music...er, Audio" - by Rob Ross
This article presents some thoughts and facts on the quality of interactive audio in games.
"A Better Picture through Sound" - by Jonathan Hoffberg
This is already an old (1997) article on the use of sound in games. But it provides some crucial basic information for anyone who's designing sound for games.
"Using Audio to Create Blind-Accessible Games" - by Gavin Andresen
The article describes the developement of a 1st person 3D audio game. The author also mentions his thoughts on the potential of audio games.
"VideoGames voor Blinden" - by Bart Simons
This interesting paper describes the past, present and possible future of audio games and accessible games. The article is in Dutch.
"Terra Sonica" - by Various
In this document, a group of students tell about their "TerraSonica"-project. It gives some useful insights on how to develope an audio game in which the aspects of sound play an important role in the game's storyline. Unfortunately, the project is abandoned now. You can read a short summary description of the game here.
"Guided by Voices - An Audio Augmented Reality System" - by Various
Most of the people that visit this website probably haven't considered the option that audio games can also exist outside the personal computer medium. This article is about a prototype for a Live RolePlaying audio game.
"Sleuth - An Audio Experience" - by Various
This article presents another prototype for a Live RolePlaying audio game, based on knowledge presented in the previous article. Notice: The link links to a .pdf file so you need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it.