3.5 Serious Gaming and Spatial Audio

Table of contents

  1. 3.5 Serious Gaming and Spatial Audio
    1. 3.5.1 Serious gaming
    2. 3.5.2 Spatial audio

To learn about how to help induce and maintain ASCs, I briefly reviewed the literature related to serious gaming and spatial audio.

3.5.1 Serious gaming

Like meditation, games can also help one learn skills transferable to the real world (Ritterfeld, Cody and Vorderer, 2009). Games have rules and goals and are designed to facilitate immersion through sensory, imaginative and challenge-based strategies (Mäyrä and Ermi, 2011). Serious gaming is a type of gaming that has educational instead of entertainment purposes. For instance, a serious game can help people learn about historical events or help them make behaviour changes in their lives. When making a serious game, the developer must first ask who the players are and what will motivate them to play. Knowing these will help the developer successfully market and develop a game through which players can learn new skills effectively (Godin, 2018). What motivates gamers to play is investigated through the uses and gratifications theory (Wu, Wang and Tsai, 2010; Sherry et al., 2012) and the self determination theory (Uysal and Yildirim, 2016). Both theories highlight the importance of players’ needs for autonomy/control, competition/challenge and relatedness to their interests. In addition, the uses and gratifications theory notes that playing should also provide diversion (something different) and social interaction. A specific type of serious gaming is called persuasive gaming, in which the method to help change or reinforce specific attitudes is persuasion.

[Persuasion is] a successful intentional effort at influencing another’s mental state through commu- nication in a circumstance in which the persuadee has some measure of freedom. (O’Keefe, 2015, p.5)

The theoretical framework for persuasive games by De la Hera Conde-Pumpido (2017) aims to help design games that balance players’ preferences (e.g. old habits) with persuasive goals (e.g. new habits). Her framework proposes three types of persuasion strategies: exocentric, endocentric and game-mediated.

The goal of exocentric (game-centric) strategies is to change the attitude of players beyond the gaming session by (1) conveying messages with signs embedded within the game, (2) the system itself allowing players to interact with the signs of the game and (3) the context in which the persuasive games are played. She says these messages can be implemented by ‘linguistic persuasion, sonic persuasion, visual persuasion, haptic persuasion, procedural persuasion, narrative persuasion and cinematic persuasion’.

Endocentric (player-centric) strategies aim to motivate players to play and keep playing the game. For these strategies to be effective, they need to ‘consist of relational structural elements designed to connect with the players’ personality traits and their life context’. She recommends these messages to be implemented by (1) arousing sensory experiences, (2) arousing emotions, (3) delivering intellectual challenges and (4) encouraging players to establish relationships with other players.

The goal of game-mediated (context-centric) strategies is the same as that of the exocentric strategies; however, they focus on ‘designing a game session in which the context in which games are played is under control and specifically designed to favour persuasion’. Based on Hung (2007), to design this context, De la Hera Conde-Pumpido suggests to ‘(1) construct new rules and protocols on top of ones existing in the game, (2) guide and foster offline conversations among players, and (3) design sessions that take advantage of the locally constructed and contingent factors of the context.’ 1

3.5.2 Spatial audio

Spatial audio denotes the attempt to capture the salient parts of a sound field and reproduce it in some form at other, possible distant places (and times), such that a human listener perceives the spatial characteristics of the original sound scene to a large extent during reproduction. (Herre et al., 2015)

Spatial audio can (re)produce more immersive experiences than one-dimensional mono or stereo can offer — it can create 2D and 3D soundfields. Content creators who use these higher dimensions can create more realistic and immersive environments in which they can embed their stories. Apart from spatial audio’s most common use in the film industry, gaming (Grimshaw, Lindley and Nacke, 2008), virtual realities (Çamcı and Hamilton, 2020) and electro-acoustic music (Bates, 2009), it has also been used to support inclusivity for visually impaired people (Heuten, Wichmann and Boll, 2006; Lopez, Kearney and Hofstädter, 2018) and for understanding data through listening when scientifically validating brain activity (Papachristodoulou, Betella and Verschure, 2014; Schmele and Gómez, 2014).2

  1. How I implemented some of De la Hera Conde-Pumpido’s recommendations in my BCMI-1 system is discussed in Chapter 4 and that I consider implementing some of these recommendations in the BCMI-2 system is added to my new goals in Chapter 6. 

  2. How I implemented spatial audio to help my audience become immersed in a soundscape generated by BCMI-2 is discussed in Section 5.5.