Between sight and sound

“Immersive” is a word now 000-105 synonymous with modern gaming. But what exactly otcviagra-norxpharmacy SQL Server 2008 R2 Clé does it mean, and how exactly is it achieved? At this year”s Eurogamer Expo, HyperSloth”s Dream and Incus Games” Three Monkeys showed Joe Donnelly that the immersive experience 000-106 has more than one guise.


From time to time, I find myself wondering why I actually play videogames. Why do I invest so much of my time pissing about in the made up lives of made up characters?

This thought never lasts for long though, because, simply, games Visual Studio Clé are really, really good fun. They’re also entertaining and they’re a break from reality. The latter – the opportunity to temporarily abandon real life – is for me the most important reason of all, as it illuminates the unparalleled capacity the platform holds over other entertainment mediums: the ability to transport players from their living rooms to new interactive worlds, realms or dimensions.

Integral to this form of escapism lies virtual reality – a term which has reentered the mainstream lexicon recently courtesy of the Oculus Rift VR headset as, in the face of the 90s hyperbole, Oculus appears to have created a VR device which canadian pharmacy association actually works.

Disappointingly, I had missed the chance to get to grips with the Rift at E3 earlier in the year, so making amends at the Eurogamer Expo in September featured high on my ‘to do’ list. A no-frills budget airline flight departing from a cold and dreary Autumnal Glasgow morning, followed by an over-crowded and over-priced bus journey from the airport to the train station, topped off by a trans-city London rush hour train journey, all resulted in my arrival on the Earls Court show floor complete with sore feet, a square arse and a headache from already consuming double my regular daily caffeine intake. At this point, escapism couldn”t come sooner.

Listen to your intuition

The queue cialis is so expensive at the Oculus booth resembled that of a Victorian execution, so I wandered across to the Indie Games Arcade instead in the hope that I could return later on. It was here I was caught pleasantly off-guard as I encountered sound like I had never encountered sound before: Three Monkeys, an audio game in development by Incus Games.

An audio game? What, there’s no visuals? Like, none at all? Boring, right?


Three Monkeys is an epic and wholly immersive audio game which invites players to tackle a four hour storyline by exploring the open world of Byzantia. I donned my headphones and was immediately captivated by the story which saw my character, and his surprisingly forthright Irish companion Yoskar, thrust into a world where The White Witch had inflicted a solar necrosis curse upon the land, expelling the realm to complete darkness. Following Yoskar’s lead, I mastered the art of hunting by bow and arrow for food, as well as sword

fighting in order to cialis overnight chase off ruffians.

Three Monkeys has been meticulously designed and each feature cleverly thought through to justify its context. In a move to drive the genre forward, Incus has equipped Three Monkeys with features that haven’t been commonly used in past audio games, all with the hope of igniting wider interest.


“In split cialis pill the audio game genre the thing that’s most commonly used is binaural sound, which is basically 3D sound in headphones,” says sound designer Rob Allen. “We’ve kind of taken that concept and expanded it in terms of how we use it, so not only do we have 3D sound, but the idea is that we’re creating maps that can be navigable without needing to see where you are, and that’s using various sonic identifiers of fixed locations within zone, so that people can navigate and move freely, much like regular open world, but without visuals.”

Rob may not face the same restrictions as those working on visual games, but Three Monkeys’ success hangs on how well Rob and his team are able to implement the sound which works in tandem with the player’s imagination. Consultations with The Royal London Society for Blind People ensured a guiding hand from the visually impaired community kept them on the right track, however.

Kevin Satizabal attended university with the Incus team and now works in marketing and communications for The Royal London Society for Blind People. Satizabal, a music graduate with a composition degree in piano, has been blind since birth but has been playing audio games since he was 11-years-old. As these games had been mostly developed by blind programmers – doing online casino so for

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little-to-no pay – Satizabal

felt he could offer general advice in the development of Three Monkeys when he was approached by Incus producer Steve Willey.


approached me last year and told me that his company were developing Three Monkeys and it was an audio game, and obviously he recognised that someone who had been immersed in nothing else but audio games could bring certain valuable contributions to the game,” says Satizabal. “We spoke about it early on, I looked at the story and so on and I told them certain things that maybe they should look at”


Although acknowledging Incus’ effort as far as research was concerned, Satizabal was able to provide insight into how sound should alter the game’s mechanics, from a visually impaired person’s perspective.

“I’ve been beta testing some of the product and demos and also advising them really on how to best continue developing the game,” he adds. “For example, there’s a scene where the player must shoot at a bird. I

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would say things like, ‘it’d be better if the audio was centred here,’ or ‘you could shoot the bird from this particular distance because it would feel like you’re not too far away from the order cialis bird, or you’re getting a little bit closer,‘ so it was more about the logistics of the audio in terms of where things are placed, how much time I’d think people would need to have time to react to particular audio – like in a fight sequence.

“One of the things that a lot games aimed at the visually impaired community lack – mainly because they’re made by blind programmers who do it out of the goodness of their heart – is scripted tutorials. So, you’d get a game and you’d have to read a 20 page document to learn all the key strokes and that’s fine but, after a while learning all these key strokes and reading through a document, you’ve kind of lost the fun out of it. I think having a game like online casino this, that is clearly going to try to present audio techniques which have been used in a good way is going to have a certain appeal.”

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Satizibal identifies the most important aspect of audio games as not defaulting to the false correlation that lack of sight equals terror – a crime committed by several iOS audio titles – but quite the contrary; that developers should strive to find ways to empower the player. over the counter viagra He notes the infamous shower scene from Hitchcock’s Psycho as a perfect example of the power of sound, whereupon the viewer doesn’t actually see the murder, but joins the dots in their imagination via the horrific off-key piano riff.

“People really underestimate audio games,” adds Satizabal. “If you have visuals you can really underestimate the power of audio. Games like these demonstrate the power of binaural recording; the power of what you’re imagination can do, because your imagination is a powerful tool cialis if it’s harnessed in the right way.”

Eye opener

I was blown away. I knew audio games existed beforehand, but to no real extent. Three Monkeys opened my eyes to the possibilities Incus are forging by pushing the possibilities of perception, not just for visually impaired gamers, but for gamers all over. It is increasingly difficult to do something innovative and fresh in today’s gaming landscape, but Incus Games is doing exactly that.

Buoyant from my time with Three Monkeys, I then stumbled into the Rezzed area of the floor where I found HyperSloth showcasing their exploratory adventure game Dream – a game purposely built for Oculus Rift – whose booth had gathered a far less intimidating procession compared to that of Oculus’ earlier.

Exploratory games have become a genre in their own right recently – Gone Home being the most prolific example of late – and are a natural fit for Rift compatibility. Dream revolves around Howard, a disengaged, apathetical student female viagra nasal spray lacking in direction who takes to his dreamscapes to break from his mundane reality. His dreams facilitate a series of personal discoveries in his search for fulfilment. “You start off in the house and it’s Howard’s reality,” Gary Lloyd from HyperSloth tells me. “It’s not as colourful – it’s almost as if Howard escaping to his dreams is his way of breaking from that reality. Instead of playing videogames, he’s using his own dreams to fulfil that need and try and find direction in his life.”


I was suddenly finally able to fully appreciate the hype surrounding the Oculus Rift. If for any reason you don’t already: please believe the hype. And this comes from a hardened cynic who cannot and will not forgive the 90s for promising so much in the way of Virtual Reality, before delivering virtually nothing.

The opening segment of Dream saw me wandering around the delicate grounds of an English country garden. Bathed in sunlight, I stood still for a moment taking it all in. I looked straight up into the piercing blue sky and followed the flight of a gliding bird before its path crossed the sun. I winced and, by pulling my head cialis otc away, found myself looking backwards.

A towering stone fountain headed the preceding pathway, the water glistening as its spray arched from top to bottom. In virtual reality I was struck with awe, struggling to take in just how real my surroundings appeared – at 360 degrees – and struggling to comprehend just how much potential this device has. In actual reality, I was undoubtedly staring straight into the groin area of the gentleman next in line behind me.

But this is the beauty of it all: the immersion which Oculus hangs all of its promise on feels entirely real, to the point where you are in the game; there is no outside. Dream may be an indie game, however it is one where the Oculus Rift was not an after-thought – unlike most of its

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mainstream peers – it was designed specifically for VR, and it shows.


“For me personally, I do like picking up a big AAA game, but I also like being able to just relax and explore and go through a game at my own can i take viagra everyday pace,” continues Lloyd, alluding to the recent surge of exploratory can women take viagra games. “I love finding secrets and passwords and I’ve always loved that. The hidden meaning and messages behind certain environments or a character in a game [exploratory games] are coming back because people want that sense of mystery. I think people are a bit too familiar now with the sort of linearity of mainstream games.

“The guys really wanted to push the Oculus because it’s a great bit of kit and it works really well. I think [comparing] someone who plays the

game without the Rift with someone who plays the game with the Rift – their experiences are always going to be different. Their main experience in the main game will be the same, but I think the Oculus can only enhance what we’re going to be doing.”

In all of this, it’s hard to do something justice in writing which really must be experienced hands-on. I suppose seeing is believing. Then again, hearing is believing in the case of Three Monkeys.


This truly is a fascinating time for gaming, whereupon we have two games at either end of the spectrum: one completely three-dimensional, fully-immersive adventure where everything is detailed before you in stunning virtual reality; and one completely audial, where nothing is detailed at all. You wouldn’t automatically relate the two, and even considering the latter may require some extra imagination, it is no less virtual reality nor fully-immersive. Dream and Three Monkeys are fine examples of two vastly different, yet in some ways distinctly similar, games both pushing the boundaries of originality and innovation.

From time to cheap online viagra time I find myself wondering why I actually play videogames. Here are two reasons why this thought never lasts for long.

Joe Donnelly

Author: Joe Donnelly

Joe is the line editor at BeefJack and often wonders who introduced the whole 'talking about yourself in the third person' thing. Maybe one day I'll, ahem, he'll find out.

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