DeadFright is a blind-accessible audio game created and developed by k0rt4. Centered in the survival horror genre and with a first-person perspective, the game develops in a 3D acoustic environment that uses dynamic and spatial sound to create an immersive binaural audio experience. The first chapter of the game ‘The Outbreak’ will have a gameplay time of approximately 60 minutes full of intense violence, strong language, blood and gore.
DeadFright’s storyline is somewhat influenced by several horror legends from Latin America and particularly by the real story of August Gottfried Knoche, a German doctor who relocated to Caracas, Venezuela in the 1800’s and developed a liquid formula for embalming the dead that was kept secret and lost in time. In the game, the story develops in the fictional town of ‘Ravenford’ where Dr Knoche’s daughter ‘Anna’ settles and continues her dad’s experiments resulting in a disastrous outbreak of living corpses.
As you explore Ravenford, you will encounter and be able to interact with different residents which will help you uncover the current situation in town. While the outbreak unfolds, living corpses take over town, adding one level of complexity to the navigation of the soundscape. Living corpses can notice and chase you; if you let them get too close, they will attack. You can fight them, but will end up hurt, or dead. If you die, you will become one of them and be able to play in the reverse role, searching and killing residents.
A very thorough level design with numerous auditory landmarks, sound beacons and contrasting acoustic environments will help you recognize specific places of the town. Additionally, the game features various mechanisms to help you navigate. A compass can be used to pinpoint and align yourself to the cardinal direction you are heading towards. A sonic version of a white cane will detect obstacles in your way, so you can get around them. Different walking surfaces will change the sounds of your footsteps to help you distinguish between walking on the streets, inside houses, in the woods, etc. The combination of all these elements results in an easy to navigate town map.
To generate an immersive and spatial audio experience, Google’s Resonance Audio is being used in the development of DeadFright. This technology replicates how real sound waves interact with human ears and their environment, creating a binaural rendering of the sounds according to their position in the environment.
To achieve this, Resonance Audio uses head-related transfer functions (HRTFs) to simulate the interaural differences in time, loudness and frequency between our right and left ears, caused by the human head’s acoustic shadow. To add further realism, it also simulates how real sound waves traveling between a source and listener are blocked by objects between them; an effect called Occlusion. And finally, Ambisonics; which is a full-sphere surround sound format that in addition to the horizontal plane, it covers sound sources that comes from above and below the listener.
At whole, Resonance Audio brings a dynamic and spatial sound to BlindFright creating an audio experience that is conventionally used in VR and AR gaming.
Blind accessibility was the main drive into creating DeadFright, besides a blind-accessible oriented core design, the game features voiced menus and step by steps instructions carefully placed for a fluent first time user experience.
The controls are simple enough so the game can be played only with a keyboard, but you can use the standard keyboard and mouse setup as well. It also supports a controller which adds haptic feedback to the experience. And input remapping will be available in the full version. Moreover, the game will feature an assist mode for gamers with motor or cognitive disabilities that will allow the player to adjust the game settings to match their needs and be able to enjoy the complete experience.
Genre: Survival Horror / Audio Game
Developer: Korta Interactive
Platforms: Windows & MacOS
Mode: Single Player