Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Sean Cassidy 

BA [Hons] Creative Music Production

Hi, my name is Sean. I am a final-year student in IADT. I am passionate about Audio Production, especially Audio Post Production and Game Audio. Throughout my time in college I have developed my skills in Sound Design, Production, Mixing and Mastering. This year, I decided to focus on Game Audio as my major project. In my spare time, I also create music at home.

Project Description

My aim with this project was to learn more about Game Audio. I created and implemented sounds for a walking simulator style game. These sounds are a combination of field recordings and synthesised sounds. One aspect I focused on was generative audio. This was to avoid repetitive sounds and loops. I utilised FMOD Studio's Scatterer instrument to play back specific sounds randomly so that the player would not grow tired of the audio. I also used this instrument to create background textures and music that would not repeat or loop. I tried to make the audio dynamic and created ambience for both the interior and exterior environment. I gained a lot of experience in Unity and FMOD from this project.

The Effect of Audio on Player's Engagement with Games

The thesis used the walking simulator game as a base to run an experiment on the effects of audio on players. I created two sets of sound effects for the walking simulator to do this. These sound effects intentionally create different vibes and narratives. I studied the literature on creating fear with sound design and utilised it in one set of sound effects. Additionally, I wrote a script in Visual Studio that made the game pick a random bank of sound effects to load when the game started. This ensured that I had no choice in who heard what set of sounds.

Once I completed the game audio, I ran some experiments and got some participants to play through the game. I measured how long it took them to complete the game alongside their heart rate while playing. This was done with a FitBit while also screen recording their game session. The participants also had to fill out a post-playthrough survey that asked them questions about the perceived narrative of the game. It was found that the participants who played the game with intentionally creepy sound effects had a heart rate that fluctuated more than the players who played the game with the regular set of sounds. They also believed the narrative to be more sinister.

If you are reading this and wish to see the entire thesis, game and sound design done for the project, feel free to email me.