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Audio And Graphics: Role Switch
by Alexander Brandon on 04/25/11 03:24:00 am   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

Hidden Heroes is a concept conceived by Chris Serani, and executed as a video by us both. Chris wrote the script and handled the video and editing, as well as a majority of the voices. I did the rest (music, sound, and the voice of Tarius). 

Hidden Heroes Video

I had met Chris while he was shooting photos of the Music and Gaming Festival in Alexandria earlier this year (the ultimate "con" for game music, so attend if you can), and we discussed various topics since then, from Avatar: The Last Airbender to indie projects. Chris asked "what if you had a game that had low quality graphics and high quality sound?" I admitted that this was a fairly novel idea being played with in several ways by online video remixes and mashups, such as Super Mario Bros. NextGen AAA.

This is an interesting idea, but if the game itself featured sound as part of the gameplay as well, letting the player figure things out using sound but also conveying a more compelling story with sound alone. Essentially the concept lends itself to an "in between" of games such as Be The Wumpus and projects like Drake's Fortune, Portal 2 and Dragon Age 2, with audio and graphics both being high end.

Many game elements have emerged since "character" text adventures (not to be confused with text adventures such as Zork) that for obvious reasons have not been applied in text adventure environments, whether they be time control (Braid?), spacial control (Portal?), sandbox (Deus Ex / Half Life), character faction alignment (Kotor2?), there is a smorgasbord of options that can be easily executed (though of course, not "ripped") in such a world with minimal effort, with audio to bolster the experience beyond simply stepping back in time and playing Rogue.

An interesting idea arose for the story as well, where the player would be seeking "Hidden Heroes", which are human / "self aware" personalities trapped inside the computer. In a somewhat Tron / Matrix way, the system detests any free thought and seeks to imprison and restrict such behavior.

If the player finds these heroes and frees them they "elevate" to a higher plane of existence. However, as in any decent modern story the computer may not necessarily be "evil", since the heroes in some ways have a negative influence on the system running properly. It is up to the player who to side with.

It occurred to us that one could achieve a truly unique experience in a new way with far less budget, so we are firing it off and seeing if anyone is interested in participating in making this a reality as a full game. It seems ideally suited as an independent project.

Regardless of where this goes, we hope you enjoy the concept.


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Comments


Joe Cooper
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"what if you had a game that had low quality graphics and high quality sound?"



There's any number of older games that still shine due to their sound and in spite of aged, Playstation graphics. I've always observed that sound quality is crucially important, but under appreciated in the media, possibly because of how games are advertised.



But the big winners almost always have respect for sound. The same is not true for graphics.

Daniel Gooding
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Gonna have to agree with Joe on this one. I am obviously biased being in audio, but I always tell people, it's easier to find a memorable game with bad graphics, than it is to find a memorable game with bad audio.



In comparison I like to think of it like this.

Emotions = Storyline = Music

Ooh Aah = Graphics = SFX



If you want to "wow" people use good graphics or awesome SFX. If you want people to have an emotional attachment, have a good storyline, or emotional driven music.



Example

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94Tsezcm8yA

Glenn Storm
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A commercial approach similar to this concept is available for iOS:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/soul-trapper-episode-1-ollie/id292
616556

Luis Guimaraes
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It just inpired me an awesome design for a future project...


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