Honours Project Final Gameplay
Updated: Nov 20, 2019
So here is a final video presentation of my Honours Project. It's different than the original idea but based on the same principles.
I closed Dissertation in 6558 words (the limit was 6000 +-10%) for the main stuff and 9684 words total with appendices etc. I got only 6 participants in-game testing and survey which is rather not impressive especially to draw any serious conclusions but better this than nothing.
So, the project is finished now it's time to jump to another: 2D platformer made in Unity and Wwise.
Synaesthesia is a neurological condition where stimulation of one sense triggers stimulation of the other sense. One type, auditory-visual synaesthesia is characterized by a subjective sensation of sight (images, colors) stimulated by the sound stimuli. Condition is well known but unexplored thoroughly and many questions are still unanswered to this day. The aim of this project is to develop a video game with audio-visual puzzles based on a review of a variety of peer-reviewed books, academic journals and scientific research about synaesthesia and surveys carried out on synaesthetes, test it on on-synaesthetes and draw a conclusion based on the survey if correlation between sound stimuli and visual concurrent is reserved only for synaesthetes or those correlations are common for everyone. This dissertation will cover what synaesthesia phenomenon is in greater detail, describe the process of the game development and will draw a conclusion based on the video game testing and survey results on participants that are not affected by the synaesthesia phenomenon.
This project aimed to develop a video game based on a research result about auditory-visual synaesthesia and to draw a conclusion if people not affected by this phenomenon can recognize connections between a sound and an image but without the additional stimulation of a sight sense.
People with this type of synaesthesia while under the stimulation of sound experience visuals triggered by those sounds. Correlation between former and latter is different for each synaesthete but after the research and surveys carried out for this dissertation it is possible to find a common correlation between the pitch of the sound and vertical position and brightness of the color of a concurrent. Some connections are also found for the type of a musical instrument and a color of a visual concurrent, but those seem to be also related to pitch of the sound as some instruments play in limited pitch range. These correlations formed the basis for a puzzle in the video game developed for this project.
A small number of synaesthetes participated in the survey but it was enough to create three levels in the game containing eight puzzles each. During the process of game creation minor and major issues affected the development process. A major issue was an inconsistency in the responses from survey participants for synaesthetes which led to a smaller range of possible combinations of sound and image puzzles and the game had to focus only on a few on correlations that were consistent and supported by the scientific articles. The more complex the puzzles would be the higher chance for inconsistency where project such as Honours was already in danger of it because the number of test participants was small.
Additionally, because of the nature of the project the game had to use simplified graphics and extensive post-processing was forbidden to not affect the visual side of the puzzles.
Even without the experience of programming and visual art creation, the game was successfully finished, and known bugs and issues were fixed. The development of audio assets was the easiest part because of the experience in that field and forced simplicity for the sound stimuli.
A number of participants of the final game test and a survey were smaller than expected which makes it impossible to make a consistent conclusion that could reflect if non-synaesthetes are more likely to perceive the connection between sound and image in a similar manner to synaesthetes. For that reason, it is important to keep in mind that the conclusion of this project is based on only six respondents.
The respondents were more likely to admit that they saw a relationship between sound stimuli and images of the puzzles. None of them chose the option ‘disagree’ or ‘strongly disagree’ but even then, two of them had eleven failed attempts before they finished the game. The game level where the correlation between color and pitch of the sound was introduced was chosen as the most difficult but based on additional notes it seems that another puzzle with distorted image and sound was the reason for it.
Half of the responders' group found a correlation between the pitch of the sound and color as the most coherent which confirms that they can see these correlations in the same way as synaesthetes as in both cases this is the most consistent relationship in both groups.
This really small survey gives a potential for further research in this matter because results of this project together with the survey seems to confirm for a small scale that people are naturally endowed with the ability to see correlation between the brightness of a color and the pitch of a sound either they are or are not gifted with visualization which only occurs for synaesthetes.