I propose the construction and deployment of a non competitive and non linear goal oriented interactive text game. But where most games involve the deployment of a single subject interacting with a written description of a visual space, I intend to concentrate on the description of acoustic phenomena. Descriptions of sounds will be the vehicle that guides the game player through my environment.
The playing subject of the game will be the Listener. The Listener will need to visit and pass through a series of locations and events where sounds are heard and need to be identified or understood in certain ways so that it is possible to decide where to go and what to do next. Some sounds will occur on their own; others will have to be triggered or affected by the listener. The gaming environment will most likely be an ordinary urban space, such as a residential or commercial property, a city block, or a mass transit way station.
The descriptions of sound events might range from the delineation of the source or agent of a sound— “Door Creaks,” for example—to the description of more abstract and subjective psychoacoustic phenomena (e.g. “Standing Waves With Static Peaks and Troughs Envelop You”). My goal is to come as close as possible to producing a kind of acoustic mimesis, where the Listener begins to, as an engaged text parser, assimilate the permutations of the narrative and generate a dynamic, interiorized sound world.
I intend to create the gaming environment using an extant interactive text programming language or authoring system such as Alan, Hugo, Inform, or TADS; ideally, I will be able to select a development system that will allow me to generate a cross platform game that will work not only with Windows and Macintosh OS based computers, but also will be portable to handheld systems such as PDAs. At the very least, I expect to, while making the desktop version of the game, determine the most feasible options for eventually making a PDA version.
I will begin by developing strategies for describing a rich sound world and will use my blog and moblog text projects Effects and Walking in the City as sources for create interesting sound descriptions. I will then map out a template for the game players environment and locate objects and events that will in some way be sound focused. Once the overall scheme has been established on paper, I will then begin to program the game.
The earliest text based computer games were developed on the DEC PDP-10 and were based on simulations of immersive and compressed subterranean environments. Concurrent with this, program developers and composers used the PDP-10 and similar mainframe computers to design and implement algorithmic sound synthesis systems for the creation of variable and interactive sound worlds. It is my desire to examine these two creative platforms (interactive fiction and algorithmic sound synthesis) by inverting the aurally focused form of listening to sound and instead providing a textual field for eyes and minds to reprocess how to feel and experience sound.