Acoustic Ecology: A Half-Life 2 Soundscape [Audio]

Acoustic Ecology: A Half-Life 2 Soundscape [Audio]

Michel McBride-Charpentier recorded a short walk through City 17 in the video game Half-Life 2 and examined the soundscape.

Emma Hutchings
  • 16 may 2011

Michel McBride-Charpentier recorded and examined a soundscape of City 17 in the video game Half-Life 2. The short recording of the audio on a walk around the city gave him plenty to analyse in terms of the impact a soundscape has on the game environment.

A soundscape is constructed out of, among other things, dynamic sounds and the mobile player’s constantly changing distance to 3D sound sources. I like to call this soundscape possibility space the level’s acoustic ecology. The acoustic ecology is a fundamental part of what transforms the abstract space composed of physical relationships between objects into a place that communicates context for narrative meaning to be derived from.

He examines the three key elements of a soundscape: keynote sounds, sound signals and soundmarks. This is a very detailed and interesting examination of an aspect of the gaming environment most people overlook in favor of the mise-en-scène and the story.

City 17 Soundscape by michelmcbride

Gamasutra: Michel McBride-Charpentier’s Blog

[via Serial Consign]


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