Beyond the noise: an exploration of informative sound design in video games
Informative sounds in video games are those that are played with a functional purpose. These sounds are meant to inform the player of some change in the state of the game, be it in their character’s status or something in the environment around them. This thesis seeks to deepen the understanding of this type of audio through a series of experiments measuring the play experience of a game as affected by different sonic conditions. The results show a need for informative audio feedback, and define the boundaries between abstract and non-abstract game sounds, showing that there is a contextual difference in effectiveness and experience between the two. There were, however, no statistically significant physiological effects relating to the absence or presence of these sounds. From these results, a set of sound design guidelines are contributed, as well as a deeper understanding of game sound and several areas for future research.