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The importance of audio in horror games
The importance of audio in horror games Exclusive
April 18, 2012 | By Staff

April 18, 2012 | By Staff
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    10 comments
More: Console/PC, Exclusive, Audio



In a new Gamasutra feature, developer and researcher Raymond Usher (Crackdown) determines that horror games benefit most from players hearing audio as they inhabit the game world.

In the study, two groups of players -- one with the game's audio muted -- were asked to play a group of three games, including popular horror indie Amnesia: the Dark Descent. Their heart rate and breathing were monitored.

"Before starting each game, participants had to be in a resting state," writes Usher. "If participants were not in a relaxed state when they began the game, it would be challenging to determine the effects of gaming on physical responses."

"[Amnesia] best demonstrates the affect of audio in games. The audio group obtained significantly higher heart and respiration rates compared to the no-audio group during game play," he writes.

"This is more impressive given that in the section of game all participants played through, very little happens. There are no enemies and no fighting -- just exploration -- and the results suggest that audio can yet increase immersion in games."

The full feature, which also delves into the puzzle (Osmos) and racing (Flatout: Ultimate Carnage) genres, is live now on Gamasutra.


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Comments


R. Hunter Gough
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I've found that players are REALLY bad at "In the Pit" with the sound turned off. :)

Tore Slinning
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Very true.

Darkness Within is a prime example of this.

An adventure game with myst camera and literally no danger moments still made me paranoid over creaks and panic without seeing any monsters but but simply hearing their sudden groans.

Mark Ludlow
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Maybe there's something more to it in the full article but this kind of seems obvious since it's something the film industry has known for quite a long time.

Vytautas Katarzis
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And yet somehow things that are supposed to be obviuos often get overlooked.

Brian Taylor
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Games like Amnesia and Silent Hill rely on sounds. Downpour probably would have lost a lot of its scare had I not heard whispers here and there and dolls running around in the centennial building.

Rob Wright
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Don't forget the original Dead Space. Probably the best use of audio I've ever seen -- er, I mean, heard -- in a game.

Rob Wright
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Don't forget the original Dead Space. Probably the best use of audio I've ever seen -- er, I mean, heard -- in a game.

Rob Wright
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Don't forget the original Dead Space. Probably the best use of audio I've ever seen -- er, I mean, heard -- in a game.

Rob Wright
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Don't forget the original Dead Space. Probably the best use of audio I've ever seen -- er, I mean, heard -- in a game.

thay thay
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Hard to believe this was not already well known. Horror games, as well as horror movies, need to build fear, suspense, and tension which is achieved with sound, preferably 5.1.


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