- Measuring the effect of sound on the emotional and immersive experience of players in a video game: a case study in the horror genre
- Coppins, William M. T.
- Resource Type
- Bachelor Honours - Bachelor of Information Technology (Honours)
- Sound is considered an important concept in modern video games, where it facilitates an immersive experience for players. Immersion, as a concept, has many varying definitions, and the role of sound in creating this experience is still a point of debate. However, the importance of sound in games generally, is well accepted. Efforts to further understanding of the precise contributing factors of sound to the player experience are of importance and value to the broader game design community. In this thesis we approach the problem of defining the impact of sound on a player’s videogame experience through the use of both survey instruments and physiological measurement. Specifically, we do this by measuring a player’s self-reported level of immersion through surveys, and their affective response via facial electromyography. Participants in the research played Parsec Studio’s Slender: The Eight Pages, a freely available video game within the horror genre. Experiments were conducted both with and without audio accompaniement, and results were studied. We hypothesised that those participants who identified as being more easily immersed would demonstrate a larger gap in affective response between scenarios. The analysis of data failed to find statistically significant differences in the sound on/sound of experiment conditions and the self reported level of immersion in the game. Despite this, the EMG startle responses were higher during experiments with the game sound on, and these results anecdotally indicate that sound does increase the emotional experience of players. However, a statistically significant higher proportion of participants exhibited valid EMG startle responses while actually playing the game compared to viewing a play-through of the game, suggesting that the fear state of the game is enhanced through player interaction and increased attention. Sound appears to play a lesser role in this process.
- games; startle reflex; sound; immersion; honours
- Copyright 2015 William M. T. Coppins
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