I got sent home from work early tonight and I wanted to get some work done on my game since I hadn't worked on it today. While going through my sound files I went through the same thing I've experienced during each of my previous games, dozens if not hundreds of sound files and I can't find the one I'm thinking of! One after the other I opened each file to see if it was the one I remembered from some past time I was going through them. It is time consuming and very frustrating!
The problem with the sound files is that you have to take the time to hear each one before you know if it is the right one. When it comes to images, sighted individuals benefit by being able to arrange images as thumbnails and quickly scan over them to find the one they want. For those of you who have never been able to see, this might be hard to grasp, but scanning through image thumbnails means our brain can get basic information about dozens of images at the same time. When one stands out as being similar to the one we are searching for, we can quickly put more attention on it to verify if it truly is the one we seek or if it is merely similar but not quite the same. If it is not the right one we can instantly switch back to spreading our brain power over a lot of images simultaneously.
This whole process is a lot like opening up many windows on your computer so that each one can be doing something different. It is much faster than doing each window, waiting for it to do its job, and then opening the next one.
My huge annoying list of sound files got me wondering if the same basic principle could be applied to sound files. From what I can see, people in this community collect sound files in the same way sighted people collect image files. With that being the case, odds are each of you could have hundreds of collected sound files on your computer. Like images, sound files are hard to specifically name. Sure you can name one "Dog barking" but that doesn't help when you are looking for 1 particular bark and you have 50 recordings of dogs barking. Bad example I know, but hopefully you understand what I mean. Many sounds simply cannot be given proper names either, like all of the many beeps and buzz sounds that would be hard to associate to a file name.
I threw together a tool that arranges sound files into a series of thumbnails for quicker searches. At the moment there are 2 files but I plan to take it down to just 1 if people think this is useful. Stick the files into a folder you're storing sound files in and run it. Each of the folder's wav files will be laid out in a 2 dimensional array. Use either the arrow keys or the mouse to move between them. To get the true thumbnail effect you'll need to use the mouse or a track pad. Sliding through them will allow you to hear each get louder or softer as though they are each little radios on your desk that you are moving over. Because you can pick up multiple sounds at the same time, this attempts to simulate the eye's ability to spread attention among multiple objects simultaneously to save time. Move over the one you want and left click to copy it to the windows clipboard. Shift + click will add or remove more files to the list in the clipboard. Once you've grabbed the ones you want you can press Escape to close the program and now the desired files can be pasted wherever you wish using Ctrl+V as usual.
While navigating you can press the right mouse button to center yourself on whichever sound you are closest to.
Holding shift and pressing Up or Down will adjust the volume.
Pressing spacebar will display every file in the current directory, pressing a letter or number will only show the files that begin with that letter or number. When jumping back and forth between files that begin with certain letters, the program will continue to remember which files are selected so that you can keep adding to it.
Arrow keys will jump you between sounds but they do not let you spread your attention between multiple files, and therefore, are not the thumbnail experience.
Enter works the same as the left mouse click to select a file.
Shift + Enter works like pressing shift and clicking, where new files are added to the selection list or existing files are removed.
This was just something that got me side tracked so please let me know what you think. If this tool is not useful then don't be afraid to tell me, I'm just testing to see. Any suggestions are welcome also of course.