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AUDIOGAMES: AN ARSGAMES PROJECT

Installation video (http://vimeo.com/40665809)*1

Abstract
AudioGames is an interactive sound-game installation that allows users to experience and perform different activities within a three-dimensional sound space in a playful way. Player interacts with the playground and the objects that populate it through his body movements. The main idea of this installation is to experiment with other technological interfaces that transcend the classical sight-oriented ones. We consider it an interesting field of experimentation that can lead to a new relationship with space and technology through sound.

Description
AudioGames is an interactive sound-game installation that allows users to experience in a three-dimensional sound space in a playful way. The playground is populated by virtual objects that become sound objects in the game space. These objects are intangible and invisible, but in the virtual world they have a specific mass and weight and their own physical behavior. When the player collides with them, they move and bounce around the game space, generating a real-time sound composition. User’s position in the space is detected by custom-made tracking software, creating an interaction between virtual and real world. We developed audio software that generates sound for the 3D world in real-time depending on the user’s position and movements on the
1 * Please note that this video is from a previous version, the new version has improved visualization, sonification and includes gameplay and levels.

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playground. The user, who may be blind, moves around a virtual sound space (4x4 m2) interacting in real-time with a 3D augmented soundscape. Meanwhile the public can see the user's interaction in real space and have access to a 3D visualization of the interaction with the sound space through a video played on a screen outside the user's vision. We took Pacman’s game play as a basis to set up the basic rules of the first game. Audiogames finds inspiration in synaesthesia studies, elaborating new ways to investigate personal and collective relationships between sound and vision. Synaesthesia effect is mainly focused on the spectator who will somehow transcode the game's visualization into meaningful sound. Through this project we experiment with other non sight-oriented technological interfaces, trying to build a common game space where both blind and sighted people can play together. We believe this is an interesting field of experimentation that can lead to a new relationship with space and technology through sound.

Background
Audiogames finds inspiration in synaesthesia studies elaborating concepts about the colorsound relationship, as studied by the team and described in different papers.2 In the framework of synaesthesia based technology we are especially interested in cases like "The vOICe", augmented reality software for blind people that uses sonification techniques. This program was the first inspiration that we found to start AudioGames project, in which we sonify not real spaces, but the fictional ones in a ludic way. Building a playground through the sound allows us to break the unidirectional relationship between image and player, generating an emmersive space that totally surrounds and involves players. In classical image perception patterns, a vector is constantly directing the subject's look to the image location. Look’s direction is always towards a point. When we experiment with threedimensional sound, as in audiogames, space perception becomes omni-directional allowing the player a 360 degree interaction in a really meaningful way.

History and current development
AudioGames starts as one of the selected projects of PlayLab, an experimental videogame’s creation workshop, organized by ARSGAMES and MediaLab-Prado, with the support of Playstation, during January and February 2010 in Madrid. The first prototype we worked out during Playlab was an interactive sound space developed by Euridice Cabañes Martinez, Luca Carrubba, Oscar Martin, Carlos Padial and Jaume Castells.
2 See the research page on our web site.

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The same year the first prototype of AudioGames scores a Special Mention in the grants for digital creation section of Telenoika 2010. Audiogames is now a R&D project of ARSGAMES coordinated by Eurídice Cabañes, Luca Carrubba and Carlos Padial. In 2012 the current version of AudioGames:

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Has been selected among a total of 367 projects from 22 countries to be showed during the IN-SONORA festival. Artist residency at Espacio Trapezio Artist residency at LABoral Art and Industrial Creation Center where we are collaborating with ONCE 3Asturias in order to improve the installation. Has been one of the selected projects in the Stress Test call for project proposals organized by Espacio Trapezio.

From this beginning as an interactive installation, the project is now being developed as a platform/framework for video games experimentation focused on sound. We want to organize different workshops about videogames in which sound interaction is prominent. In this sense, we offer the festival not just the installation, but a conference and a workshop too.

Artist statement
We like to consider ourselves as digital artisans. Our practice expands from the philosophy of DIY (Do It Yourself) to the ideas of DOT (Do it Together) and DIWO (Do It with Others). We strongly believe creative process is part of the final art work. To make this statement true we only use free software and creative commons license for our digital creations. Our artwork, theoretical work and writings and considerations are made possible thanks to connective intelligence behind the networks: as creators we elaborate our strategies taking advantage of common knowledge. The usage of free licenses and open technologies is our way to give it back. In trying to implement this production-consumption cycle we always share the codes, practices, strategies and documentation we produce in our daily activity. Our goal is to make innovation working on the grey area that technology market leaves aside. We believe games are great tools and a language for creation: they connect people quickly and unchain temporary closeness zones. A temporal connection between people and culture that can have unpredictable results and give rise to lovely reflections over space and time.
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Blind People National Association

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Who
ARSGAMES is a Cultural Association composed of professionals, artists, researches, students that work in the video game framework along the following lines: 1- GAME STUDIES, video games theory research 2- GAME ART, art and video games relationship 3- INNOVATION, Technological and industrial innovation. 4- CURATING, Exhibitions and social events. 5- FORMATION, formal and informal education and popularization of video games. More information: www.arsgames.net Eurídice Cabañes: is philosopher and has specialized in philosophy of technology , She is writing her doctoral thesis about Computational Creativity in the PhD of Logic and Philosophy of Science; for this reason, in 2010 she was a visiting researcher in the Computational Creativity Group at Imperial College of London. She has organized and participated as a speaker in various conferences and seminars related to Philosophy, Synaesthesia, art, videogames, etc. both national and internationally. As an ARSGAMES founding member and coordinator, in 2012 has been president of the organizing committee of the 6th International Conference on the Philosophy of Computer Games. In recent years her research focuses particularly on the study of video games from a philosophical, pedagogical and gender point of view, both theoretically (with the generation of reports, articles and chapters for books) and practice (as with participation in the project Gamestar(t) or designing games that experiment with the interface as Audiogames). More information: www.euridicecabanes.es.tl Luca Carrubba: is an artist, digital craftsman, and independent researcher and educator. His artistic production focuses on the interaction between audio and video (always sharing the practices and code of both disciplines) in relation to the human perception. His practice expands from the philosophy of DIY (Do It Yourself) to the ideas of DOT (Do it Together), DIWO (Do It with Others), knowledge sharing, accessibility, recycling, social movements and videogames. He has organized and participated in many workshops about free and open source software/technology/culture in Italy, Spain, Germany, France, UK, Argentina, Brazil, Palestine, Colombia, and China. Graduated with honors in Sociology of Communication from the University of Rome La Sapienza (Italy), Carrubba developed his artistic practice in institutional and underground media labs in Barcelona and Madrid. His recent projects include Qeve/gemQ (funded by Telenoika and Hangar) which focuses on the creative process of real-time dataflow creation in audiovisual live performances. Carruba is currently a lecturer in New Media for Arts at the Carrara Academy of Fine Arts, Bergamo (Italy). He recently joined ARSGAMES group with the focus of videogame as a

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tool for digital art’s creation. More information: www.estereotips.net Carlos Padial: is a visual craftsman currently working mainly with open source tools. He studied Visual Arts and Design and specialized in Photography in the Oviedo Art School, where he spent three years working as a color photomechanical technician and learning a lot of handcraft beyond the press industry. He attended the Cinematographic Lighting and Camera Annual course in Séptima Ars, a traditional film school in Madrid, and worked in a variety of visual-related jobs for ten years. He also set up with a few colleagues Aventuras Visuales, a kind of guerrilla-film-makingworkshop-school located in Lavapiés, Madrid, where he discovers the work of educating, and dedicated since then to teach courses and organize workshops about photography, cinema and open source software. He has worked as a freelance 3D artist in 3D mapping, TV spots and even opera shows for the last two years. He has been using and constantly learning Blender since 2009, which he regards as an excellent platform for creating almost any type of visual content. He currently conducts an independent investigation on an open source camera and a possible integration with Blender in an open cinema workflow. More information: www.surreal.asturnazari.es

Technical description
Global installation’s area is about 10x5m. Playing area 5x5.6m hexagonal surface. (see picture below). Four programs are running at the same time: • tracking software to track people movements in play area; • sound software to sonify objects spatiality • 3D software to visualize objects and calculate physical parameters • orientation software for android smartphones to get head's player roll Tracking software is made using Pure Data and two kinects on the floor. Tracking data is sent to blender game engine through OpenSoundControl and used to move the player's avatar in the virtual world. Player's orientation is attained by using OSC software for android 2.3 and sent to game engine using a wireless network. Physical parameters calculations and object positions are sent to a Pure Data program for sound spatialization. Final audio output is sent to wireless headphones using radio frequencies. Final video output is projected into the screen.

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Technical Rider
• 2x Computer core duo processor, nvidia graphics card (only one needed) with at least 1 GB of memory, sound-card, wireless card • 2x Microsoft kinect* • Smartphone* • Wireless headphones* • 23 inch screen or projector • 2x Monitor • 4 x 5 m usb extension • Audio mixer • 2 large audio cable (3 meters) mini jack/RCA or minijack/jack (it depends on the output of the mixer) • power strips (4 or 5 connections each one) • ethernet router (4 ports) • 2 x ethernet cables (5 m) * We can provide this material.

Mounting instructions
Global installation’s area is about 10x4,6m. The play area is about 4x4m. The playground has to be drawn on the floor with adhesive tape following the measures detailed in the picture below. The 2 kinects are placed in the left and right corners, 2.6m apart from the playground. This area can't be crossed while the installation is being used. The computer has to be placed outside the global installation area, between the left or the right corner. Finally adhesive tape of a similar color to that of the floor will be necessary to cover the cables and plexiglas box (or something similar) in order to protect the kinect cameras from possible accidents.

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With the support of:

More information: www.audiogames.tk

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