1221 by Phenomenon Group a great success!

The physical free-roaming binaural experience was a very successful project. With only one day to let people play the game and people standing in line for the attraction, just a few were given a chance to experience it. We hope that one day we can rebuild the installation for a longer period of time so that we can reach a larger audience.

1221 takes place in a fully furnished eerie room where one can walk around to find an object. The narrative is explained through binaural audio. As lead programmer and assistant sound designer on this out-of-control-schoolproject, I am technically responsible for throwing the player in a world of suspense and full immersion.

The audio team, consisting of Timothy Scheek and myself, had a few months to research the possibilities and limitations of implementing binaural audio in a free roaming world. The research basically taught us, that in this day and age, a next to perfect binaural reproduction in a free roaming setting is simply impossible. Thousands of sub-factors contribute to the quality of binaural audio. Alas, way too much to implement them all in a fully adaptive and interactive game environment where multiple distinguishable sound sources are needed.

The serious CPU limitations forced us to make a lot of compromises in the versatility of the binaural audio, while trying to prosecute the quality standard of testers being able to point out where a sound came from. In the end we succeeded in balancing between high fidelity and CPU-“Friendliness”. People where very impressed with the audio and I am very, very pleased with the result.

If only we could bring this to the masses…

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