Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Innovation In Game Sound - AudioSurf

Audiosurf - Innovation in Game Sound

Better late than never, to find a game that really is worth a look at. i was informed of this game about this time last year in an Interactive Audio lecture at uni. But it took me until this morning (9am 4th Nov 2008) to download a demo and then actually buy it! (Only £6 from steam)as the demo simply wasnt enough!

What is it?

The game is a cross between guitar hero and wipeout and it centers around the use of the players own music, which instantly makes it appeal to almost everyone. The player selects their chosen track from the HDD or a CD and the games engine analyses the track with respect to Tempo, intersity, amplitude, Pitch and main Hit-Points. The information is then compiled into a visual form creating the 'Track' that the player will now compete on.

The first thing that is obvious is the way that the colored blocks that the player has to crash into to collect; match with most of the main hitpoints of the chosen song. there is also a direct correlation between the speed of the craft and the current tempo of the track, this is represented by the slope of the track. As the tempo increases the track becomes a steep downhill where you can barely react fast enough to crash into the blocks. Wheras the tempo slows the track becomes an uphill which slows your craft's progress to almost stopped.

Sound Effects

The sound effects do make for some interesting listening, each hit point that the user gets plays one of a selection of sound effects, sometimes these match perfectly with the points of the music which is quite satisfying to hear. As the player makes a hit the pitch of the block also seems to vaguely match the pitch of the note in the song making the sound very interactive. For example during a section of Tamacum by Rodrigo y Gabriella a drum beat is produced by striking the body of the acoustic guitar; as the player contacts the colored blocks the sound effects almost perfectly match the sound of the song.


This most recent release of the game (15 Feb 2008) has an improved audio engine which improves the analysing of the track and improves the sound effects also. in terms of moving the audio game industry forward; rather than bringing music to a video game such as 'Guitar Hero or Rock Band', audiosurf brings a very effective game to your music! this makes a refreshing change from games such as 'Guitar Hero' where a team of people have to physically break the music down and then release the new tracks as an update. the audio proessor in Audiosurf analyses the track and creates all the relevant hit points within about 10-15 seconds and then stores each reference as a .ASH file. these are then called upon when the player loads the same track to reduce the loading time.


In terms of playability and keeping th eplayer interested, Audiosurf is fantastic. however when the level of dificulty increases the colored blocks come about so quickly and frequently that the sound effects can reduce the music's listenability considerably. it is of course possible to turn the sound effects off, but then you are merely playing a puzzle game with your music in the background.


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