Week 4: Spatial Sound Maze

We’re moving into sound design for virtual worlds created in Unreal Engine. I spent the week exploring and acquainting myself with the interface and its blueprints. For my sketch I drew a scene with primitive objects that was originally inspired by ancient stone circles but ended up somewhere between a stone forest, a de Chirico painting, and Wolfenstein 3D sans Nazis.

My scene utilizes first person perspective and navigation takes the user through sound “hotspots”. Each sound was placed in specific positions with attenuation parameters, including the shape of the space it inhabits and dynamic volume levels that change as you move through it. A separate, non-localized background track plays consistently during play mode; I learned that is called head-locked audio. I reworked the sounds in Audacity before placing them into my landscape to create a my own sound palette, but you can hear the originals below.

The soft point lights mixed with the harsh shadows and direct light from skylight above are meant to disorient. I’m exploring how to use sound to map one’s location in the environment since the visual cues of the repeating columns are more-or-less similar. Do the sounds help you navigate to the same places or not?

Credits from Freesound.org:
Crickets_04.wav by RSilveira_88
Cuckoo[1].mp3 by Navadaux
Ghostly Whispers by dimbark1
Mystery_chime.ogg by Unaxete
pulse echo_01.L-Joined-0001.aiff by martian
Valece, komische Grillen, zirpen.WAV by VMan533