A Tayside student has used his studies to create a horror game which captures imagination through the use of sound.
Alasdair Marnoch launched the audio-only game called FHear, at Abertay University’s digital graduate show.
The 22-year-old created the game in which players are completely cut off from visual elements and are forced to use environmental sounds and music to evade a malevolent creature.
Marnoch developed the game as part of the Dundee university’s Sound and Music for Games course and while the game can be enjoyed by everyone, it allows people with vision loss to immerse themselves in the game.
From the Developer:
The sounds we hear all around us can have a profound effect on our emotions and decision making processes. Over the last two semesters I have been researching, experimenting with and implementing the techniques composers and sound designers use to take audiences on a journey through the wide range of emotions evoked through the medium of horror.
In the game, the player is completely cut off from any visual stimulus and immersed in a 360° soundscape where they are forced to use both environmental sounds and music to evade the grasps of a creature built up in their imagination, whilst following the voice of a friend to safety.
In order to fully immerse yourself in the experience, the player is required to play with headphones and play in as dark a room as possible or cover their eyes with a face mask.
You will also need an Xbox or PS4 controller to play the game.
In FHear, players find themselves stranded in a dark forest and must use their hearing to identify the direction of a guide and escape the creature.
Music forms a key part of the game as it is used to heighten the sense of fear as the creature gets closer.
“I grew up playing the violin and piano so I guess you could say that music has always been a passion of mine,” said Marnoch, who is originally from the Isle of Lewis. “I’ve always enjoyed playing computer games and have loved learning about how sounds and music are used within the computer games industry whilst at university.”
“Students at Abertay have been working from home, which has made the research and development stages of my project more difficult than it should have been,” he said. “On the other hand, it’s cut out many forms of distraction in my life to focus all my attention on developing FHear.”
The final year student will graduate later in 2020 and hopes to use the experience to move into a career as an audio designer for a games development studio.
Marnoch said: “I’m going to start reaching out to games development companies and sound designers and see if there’s any interest in the concept. It will also be a great way of show prospective employees what I can do, within sound design, music and games development.”