Friday, September 17, 2010

Audio Mostly in Piteå

Before continuing the Flow-series of posts, I'm presenting you a conference report. Audio Mostly is a conference for interacting with sound, so what was I doing there? Well, coincidentally, the organizing party is collaborating with us in the II City project, and my work just happened to be in demonstrable condition. Of course, now that it's been demoed I guess I can also write a post describing it a bit. Later though.

While I'm no audio expert (in fact, I just know how to listen to music - but I do think I'm fairly good at it!), the conference had much to offer, mostly in the department of game audio. It was also a good glimpse into the field of audio design, something I previously had little or no idea about. So now I know a little bit, and I can put my knowledge to use in game design or elsewhere. Although I will still have to rely on someone else to actually produce the audio - I have vowed to stay off the arts. That is of course a time issue - if I had the time, sure, I'd like to be my own graphics artist and audio producer.

The more interesting papers were about researching how people perceive audio. What kind of audio is suitable for different situations, how well audio expresses something, is it possible to tell stories using non-speech audio only and so on. From game design point of view, this kind of information is highly valuable (there even was one paper about horror game sounds). From the interface point of view, I'm kind of skeptic. As I am writing this, I'm listening to music and I have turned off every single audio signal from my operating system. There is only so much audio that can fit into one environment. Audio feedback is good, but relying on it too heavily can backfire. But that is just my opinion, and I should probably check some papers on the topic.

Since it was a small conference (they're keeping it that way intentionally) the atmosphere was really relaxed and enjoyable. I met a lot of people who were doing interesting things, and many audio-related conversations were had. Overall, Audio Mostly was more fun than Foundations of Digital Games, but not as useful for my research. Also, the chances of me going there again are kind of slim, especially now that I'm slowly transferring my work to a new project from II City (which also ends before Audio Mostly is next held in Piteå, which would be 2012 - they're having it in some more remote location every other year).

No comments:

Post a Comment