When translating from a video game to an audio game, there aren’t a lot of options to present all the information you need to play the game.
A game can make different types of sounds, or can tell you what’s going on, or when you wear headphones, can position the sound somewhere between your ears.
For most games, having more than about 6 or 7 sounds is excessive and makes the game too complex. In a fast-paced game, sounds can only be one-quarter to one-half second long; playing several sounds at once is too confusing.
Speaking phrases, like the score, or the cards you are holding in your hand, is easy, but most phrases take 2 to 5 seconds to speak. That’s fine for slow games, but too long for action games.
Giving you auditory positioning information via headphones, as in Blindfold Pong, Blindfold Racer and Blindfold Hopper, is useful, but most people don’t like to play games with headphones or earbuds.
As I was creating a baseball game, I needed a way indicate how far the ball was from your bat, so you could hit the ball just as it got to your bat. I started experimenting with modifying pitch of a sound. As the ball traveled from the pitcher to you, the pitch of the ball sound got higher and higher.
I tried different ball sounds: simple notes (like A flat), a rattling sound, and a ball rolling on a table sound. None of them sounded convincing as the pitch changed. I tried some “dual tone multi frequency” sounds – the same as you hear on a phone – and concluded that the tone for digit nine sounded good at slow, medium and fast pitch.
I was even able to layer other sounds – high frequency beeps – on top of the varying pitch ball sound, to tell you when the ball was coming close to your bat, when it was in the right spot to swing, and when it had traveled past your bat.
I’ll use the pitch method for some other games I’m building, including a variation of Flappy Bird. More about both baseball game and the flappy bird game in another blog.
To download the baseball game called Blindfold Home Run Derby, tap here: