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Planet Xerilia: Crafting Navigable, Narrative, Audio-driven Spaces for VR

Poster

Poster

Planet Xerilia: Crafting Navigable, Narrative, Audio-driven Spaces for VR

Recent advancement in 3D audio for headset-based immersive technologies provide new toolkits for composers to create audio-driven spaces for the audience to explore freely in VR. Due to the inherent conceptual and platform-specific constraints of such an approach, the composer needs to find new methodologies for the spaces to be effective. Based on practice-led research via the development of a new narrative, user-navigable audio-visual experience for the Oculus Quest 2, the poster discusses the issues and solutions arising from the experience’s implementation with Google Resonance Audio, FMOD and Unity.
The author tested several strategies to craft environments, among them using reverb, the blending of audio formats and recreation of recorded soundscapes. Each of these strategies required special adjustment to support the experience’s concept. For example, Google’s reverb implementation offers only one space to be simulated at a time and obfuscates sound localisation in larger spaces with distant sound objects, demanding mindful application. Furthermore, to disguise the lack of dynamic distance attenuation, ambisonic sound files suited only situations with minimal user movement. However, stereo files afforded the creation of volumetric sound objects and layered space effects, but required complex configuration in FMOD, large-scale visual objects and specific listener orientations. Finally, with recorded soundscapes as a guide, the author turned to extensively crafted, multiple point sources to design most of the spaces, which necessitated dynamic behavioural shaping of the sounds for full (re-) construction.
Ultimately, Google Resonance Audio in combination with FMOD and Unity becomes a powerful tool in the creation of immersive, navigable, audio-driven spaces if the sound designer utilizes its opportunities and limitations. The author found limiting factors in the spatial resolution, reverb, and sound format implementation. Further research could extend the toolset’s constraints, facilitating its application.

Constantin Popp, Damian Murphy


University of York

Biography

Constantin Popp is a sound designer and XR Stories research associate at the University of York AudioLab and investigates the application of sound art in VR with particular focus on audio-driven storytelling and the creation of space.

Damian Murphy is Professor in Sound and Music Computing at AudioLab, where his research focuses on the development and creative application of immersive audio and virtual acoustic modelling.

Planet Xerilia: Crafting Navigable, Narrative, Audio-driven Spaces for VR

Gallery

Planet Xerilia: Crafting Navigable, Narrative, Audio-driven Spaces for VR