Title: Understanding Audio Game Experiences: Perspectives and Guides for Design
Language: English
Authors: Urbanek, Michael 
Keywords: Audio Games; Game Design; Audio Game Experience Theory; Game Editor; Grounded Theory; Ethnographic Work; Visually Impaired
Advisor: Purgathofer, Peter 
Issue Date: 2020
Number of Pages: 129
Qualification level: Doctoral
Audio games are computer games that use sound as the primary feedback modalityinstead of visuals. In a way, their appearance and experience is flipped compared to videogames, where visuals are of crucial importance and sound complements the experience.While video gaming is a multi-billion industry targeted at mainstream consumers, audiogaming is a niche product created by amateur communities and some academics. It isof particular relevance, since it allows people with visual impairments to participate incomputer gaming. However, audio gaming is an under-researched discipline and practice.The aim of this thesis was to investigate two aspects of audio games that deserve furtherattention. For one thing, it is a striking research gap that only few genuine audio gamershave been involved in audio game research to date. That is, while researchers invitedparticipants in user-centered design projects, these people were volunteers who have notplayed or designed audio games before and thus lack a deep experience in and naturalpassion for audio games. For another, while there are some scientific papers with designrecommendations or design rules to support the audio game design process, this processitself that is, how people go about when they create audio games, how they make useof tools, and so on has not been investigated in the related literature before.To be able to address these two gaps, the research in this thesis is based on three independentbut mutually supportive strands. (1) An in-depth literature analysis informed (2)an intensive interview study with experienced audio gamers as well as (3) our own designexperiments. In other words, we sought to understand the people, who (passionately)play audio games and the audio game design process by conducting ethnographic workcombined with our own practice-based design research and accompanied throughout theendeavor by an ongoing literature research. This enabled us to draw on authentic userneeds as well as our own experience of what it takes to design audio games, while at thesame time considering the state-of-the-art literature.The research endeavor resulted in several core contributions. Among other results, wecreated a literature review about the past 20 years in audio game research. In addition,we built a grounded theory about the audio game experience of genuine players drawingon our interview data. The practice-based design research led to a set of anti rules fordesign, as we learned through hands-on experiments that prescribing design rules inaudio games might in some cases be contra-productive. Moreover, based on the feedback of the participants, we created an online platformfor creating and sharing audio games. Thus, this online platform represents a ‘livingspecification of our insights about the sort of tools designers need in order to advancethe audio game design process. As we published this online platform or online audiogame editor under an open-source license, we sought to ensure the sustainability of thisthesis work on two levels. On the one hand, we contributed 8 scientific publicationsto the scientific community. On the other hand, the audio game editor can be freelyused, modified, and advanced by the community of audio game designers (amateurs andresearchers alike).
URI: https://resolver.obvsg.at/urn:nbn:at:at-ubtuw:1-136592
Library ID: AC15630069
Organisation: E193 - Institut für Visual Computing and Human-Centered Technology 
Publication Type: Thesis
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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