Gameplay Mechanic a Month: Audio Adventure
Month 6 - June 2013
This month I wanted to create a game that vision impaired people could play.
Further, many people (particularly Americans) have told me they like my accent/voice, so the thought of a game
where all the player could hear was my voice speaking to them captured my imagination.
So the mechanic for this month draws on old-school text adventure games, but turns it into an audio adventure game instead.
That is, there are no graphics in the game, only audio.
The player must listen to descriptions of rooms and create a mental map of the area they are exploring. To move around the
area players enter the first letter of the room they want to travel to, but you can only move to rooms that
are linked to the room you are in currently. Players need to listen for hints on where new rooms are.
Playable in the following game:
Web, PC, Mac, Linux, Android
Imogen 5000 is a bored AI alarm system that has caught you sneaking in to the mansion she protects.
Instead of handing you over to the police, she decides to play a game with you. She turns out all the lights
in the mansion and tells you clues about the other rooms in the house that you can get to.
Navigate rooms by entering the first letter of a neighbouring room you want to go to and try to find the jewels
and the exit before the police arrive.
There are no graphics in the game itself, since the game is audio only. So there are no screenshots for this game.
- Start up the game using whichever platform suits you best.
- Listen to what Imogen tells you very carefully.
- To move to a new room:
- IF using a standard keyboard: Type the letter of the room you want to go to.
- IF using a smartphone (touch) keyboard: Enter the letter of the room you want to go to and press "done".
(Note: if keyboard disappears or flickers, I recommend returning to your home screen and then clicking on the icon for the
game to go back in to the game. This should bring the keyboard back up, if not, repeat until it does.)
- You can pick up items in some special rooms by entering the first letter of the item you want to pick up.
- Once you have found the exit, the game is over.
This month you can play the game in a number of ways:
- Web browser:
Simply click in the link and play in your browser (will take some time to load, so be patient).
- PC download:
Download the PC version, unzip and play on your Windows computer.
- Mac download:
Download the Mac version and play on your Mac computer.
- Linux download:
Download the Linux version, unzip and play on your Mac computer.
- Android app:
Download the game from Google Play for free and play on your Android device (Note: this may not work on your device, since
I do not currently have the ability to test devices appropriately. If it doesn't work on your device, please use one of the
other methods of playing the game).
An analysis of the gameplay mechanic written by me in March 2015.
Context: I created this game because I had a ton of Americans tell me they loved my accent. So I thought a game where they could only hear my voice would be a great joke. I wrote the script and then had to rewrite it when I realised that spoken text is very different from written text.
What Went Right:
- The short very scripted story meant that people felt they could replay it quickly and get the two different endings.
- It was clearly signposted that someone was making a branching choice at the one place you could do it. So people were forced to make a clear choice.
- Recording voice was a new experience, but ended up being quite simple. I really liked working with voice in terms of all the nuance that I could put into the script that you wouldn't get in written words. I was really impressed with how much emotion and nuance can be conveyed just in a voice. I drew the room plan first and then created the story around it and found that I did pretty well at estimating the scope of it.
What Went Wrong:
- Not having a soundproof recording room. I was less impressed with my cat who kept butting in to the recordings when she thought I was speaking to her.
- The story was small and compact, which was a strength. But it means that if I want to do something else for this game it would probably have to change a lot. Keeping a mental map of a house in your head is tough work. Also, there are only 26 letters in the alphabet, so if I expanded the game more I might run out of letters.
- Having a black screen was kinda weird. I liked this because it meant that the game is accessible to blind people, but it also made it hard to have "screenshots" of the game!
Hug Rating:4 hugs
Verdict: A very tight and good game. I’d like to explore this mechanic again since I think there was a lot here that worked well or could be built upon.