Hearing is underated

I’ve readed topics about senses and I’ve seen that hearing is disregarded, (no, I don’t mean echolocation, I mean hearing) why stoping just at the speakers when all the other senses are going to be visual? It can be made so that when your creature hears a sound a marker signing where the sound came from and at what distance from the player could appear for a while and then dissapear and evolving a stronger short-temp memory could make it stay longer (this would also give importance to short-temp memory), and the more complex the hearing mechanism you have the further away this marker will be able to appear.

Edit: please don’t turn this to a blackhole discussion like you did with the other topic.

I feel like really good hearing and echolocation have some overlap, in that hearing is basically ‘passive echolocation’. Other than that I think we can take inspiration from passive sonar to see how a creature might use it:

  • In water, primarily. Sounds propagate way better there. There’s a reason submarines have sonar while airplanes don’t.

  • Using the sound-profile of noisy things to identify them. E.g. “this one has a deep slow swooshing, like a really big tail. It must be a whale!”, “this is a constant faint rumbling. It must be a hydrothermal vent.”

  • Estimating movement. In water, you can actually tell which way and roughly how fast an object is going based on the ripples it generates. These ripples are way too small to feel, but they can be heard as a sound. This is especially useful when surrounded by moving things/people. You can’t keep all the individual debris/enemies/whatever in sight, but you can still hear exactly what is happening behind you.

How could something like this be implemented? Should we make the player just remember it themselves or should we make something that make you able to name the sounds you hear and then in an UI it shows the name of the sound? (I think that for something like the second option would be necessary an organism with long-temp memory)

Interesting that you suggested visually indicating sounds, as I recently watched a video about accessibility in games, where that technique was one meant to increase accessibility:

( I think it’s that video, it’s been a few weeks since I watched it)

Why not have the sounds actually use surround sound? I think Godot supports 5.1 and 7.1 speaker setups.

(sorry for double post)

I researched it and it seems to need a specific implant to work, now, the question surges: what if the player doesn’t have a 5.1 or 7.1 speaker setup?

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I’ve seen headphones with virtual surround sound that works by simulating the time difference for sounds to your years. I haven’t tried it myself, but I’ve heard some people who have tried it and said that you can actually tell the direction of a sound with that technology.

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Yes, but what if the player only has standard speakers? (and nothing that makes them able to use sorround sound)

Edit: You could make it an option

Sure, then they would need an alternative way to get that information from the game.

This reminds me of another video, which I sadly can’t find right now (it was about a sound visualizer for CSGO), where normal people were complaining that an onscreen sound visualizer (for directions) gave people using it an advantage. However, it turned out that in the end people with good headphones could as well tell the sound direction while still also being able to look anywhere on their screen. So it was so that people who could hear normally in the end had the advantage.

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Thought, I meant this as a main feature of the game

I think we should do both. If your species has worse hearing then humans just use normal speakers. If the same use fancy surround sound which could be substituted for by minor visual aids. Once you have surpassed that stage use more and more visual aids.

Yeah, but I think that the visuals should be displayed even if you have the surround system, for two reasons

  1. The visuals not only show you the direction of the sound but show you the distance from it too

  2. If you are playing as an organism that only has hearing (I don’t know maybe for a video or just for a challenge) it would be hard to turn around toward the sound without any reference.

Still the surround sound could be used to increase the immersion

I understand how visuals would help but I think we have to be more careful when handing them out. Every sense could use visuals. Most creatures have more than a dozen senses. It’s not hard to imagine what the player’s screen will look like if we hand out visuals like candy: a complete clusterfuck.

I think we should limit visuals as much as possible. Give every organism one or two main senses. Those get visuals. The rest will have to do without.

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Well, we could make it so that only when the sense is developed under a certain degree it would show the visuals (but even like that… there is only one sense that can do without visuals wich is hearing)

Just do what shooter games do and show a tracker of nearest sounds and smells on both a cycle bar and possibly a minimap. This would probably a lot simpler and more intuitive of a design than most, hence why most games where sound is important utalizes these methods. I think we should spread this thread to more than just the sense of hearing since most of the senses have been ignored until now and I have a couple ideas for some of them.

Given that there are dev? design docs on integrating senses, what did y’all think?
They’re on the thrive launcher, or the latest progress update here, one the off chance someone missed it.

edit: Fixed the link