2020-06-21 07:37:49

Just to let everyone know SoundStrider now has a db page find it here.

I haven't included any mentions of the virtual instruement there since I'm not come across it in game yet, but I'll add it when I do.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2020-06-21 22:12:37 (edited by shiftBacktick 2020-06-21 22:17:40)

Thank you so much for such a lovely write-up, @Dark!

Here's some more info about the virtual instrument:

  • It can be activated and played at any time.

  • It's best experienced with a MIDI device but also has keyboard and gamepad controls. If you're familiar with a piano then you can find the white keys between C and Slash (the black keys are on the above row where you'd expect them). The gamepad controls are expressive and weird (press X to toggle and then wiggle the sticks).

  • There's no need to know musical scales. The controls are transposed such that the white keys are always correct.

  • The next update will add presets that change the sound of the instrument and can be selected from an Instrument Settings screen. The goal is to make them hidden collectibles scattered throughout the world.

2020-06-21 22:35:33

I'm currently having a play of the demo. It's weirdly relaxing. I love it!!! Good work!

Take care,
Chris Norman
Selling my soul to andertons.co.uk since 2012.

2020-06-22 04:35:02

Okay, I am officially a stupid head, I was running around wondering how exactly you use the virtual instrument when I had it all the time and all I needed to do was hit the keys, I'll add some words about it to the db page explanation.

I like the idea of collectables for it, particularly since whilst it's nice to hear an a miner scale and the tone is relaxing, it would be nice to be able to hear it do other things.
It might also be fun to have some tone matching exercises in there too, EG you come upon something and heed to match a specific tone.
Btw, I checked your blog and was quite interested in your article about posting on this site and "what a game is."

Since questions of definition are sort of like a red rag to a bull for a philosophy post graduate (I spent over a decade writing a thesis defining disability), I thought this was an interesting question.

For me, one of the key aspects, if not "the!" key  aspect  to a game is simply be able to interact with, and have a significant effect upon the world in a progressive way rather than simply experience. After all "interactive fiction", is a game whilst "fiction", is well, fiction! and definitely not a game.

I love exploration in games, just wandering around and seeing the game's world, I love the sense of freedom and space it gives me, but if I don't feel my exploring is changing either my character or the world in some way, my exploring feels more aimless.
Same with quests, indeed often in rpg games i'll do lower level quests which are mechanically no use for my character (EG doing a higher level quest with a lower level character), just because I like the feeling of having participated in a story, helped someone out and had an afffect upon the game's world.

Maybe this is just a personal thing, after all, I do tend to have a bit of a problem feeling powerless to effect the world in everyday life (most disabled people probably do to a lesser or greater extent, it's sort of implied in the word "disability", and the worse the attitudes of people around you, the worse this tends to be).

Either way, I'm glad, for all the amazingly gorgeous landscapes and relaxing audios, that there are tasks, quests and challenges to do in the game, since in their own way, that in itself is relaxing.

Hope some of this makes sense, and if anyone has any thoughts, feel free to chime in.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2020-06-22 16:24:10

hi, I've played the latest beta some more to try to help you track the performance issues, when the sound started stuttering I saved the bookmark, but when closing the game and loading it, everything's fine, the sound didn't seem to stutter. it usualy happens getting close to a loud sound, but there's no exact time  when to determine what's triggering it. it seem to happen when playing long secions, close to an hour. maybe it's something to do with memory management, i'm not sure because I don't know anything about programming, I'm sorry. just trying to help.
like I said it's not going tt make me stop playing the game, I have played for 8 hours so far according to statistics, but of course if it runs perfectly it would be a better experience. can't wait for the new additions to the instruments!

contact info
matrheine at gmail . com

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2020-06-29 19:23:28

news from the itch.io page:
Hi folks!
I’m excited to announce that soundStrider will leave beta on July 10. On that day it will become available for purchase on Steam for $9.99 USD (with a launch discount). The price will be updated here to reflect the new price (with a similar launch discount).
I understand that some may not be able to afford soundStrider at its new price. For low income and marginalized folks I will be offering a limited supply of community copies. More will become available whenever soundStrider is purchased at or above its recommended price. I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity if you qualify whatsoever.
I’d like to thank all early access players for their feedback and support. Reaching this moment would not have been possible otherwise.
In the meantime, there will be one final beta update this week that brings some new features and enhancements. On release day a final update will add polish and resolve some issues. After that, soundStrider will enter a maintenance period and receive small hotfixes. It’s possible that free minor updates may include new sounds and features. However, I’m still assessing its future at this time.
Thanks for playing!

contact info
matrheine at gmail . com

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Yesterday 21:28:18 (edited by shiftBacktick Yesterday 21:34:07)

@Dark: Thanks for checking out my blog. I've been meaning to dive into your response. Your background (and analogy of being a bull seeing red lol) is fascinating to me. Could you please PM or link me to where I can learn more about your dissertation and your findings about disability? Perhaps there's a thread in your post history I could dive into?

I agree that the definition of a game extends beyond interactivity and that impactful change is an excellent litmus test. I had a chance to play a few games since your reply and it certainly made me think. Two observations:

Devil Daggers is an arcade shooter (with binaural audio so it might be possible to play in the dark if the menus had screen reader support or VO). It has only one level that spawns baddies in waves that you need to shoot and avoid, a leaderboard that ranks players by how long they survive, and only one achievement earnable after 500 seconds. For me it was way too difficult but playing felt like a thrill ride or rollercoaster.

Here I'd argue that most arcade games like Devil Daggers don't satisfy that criteria (unless your name in the high scores is sufficient change) yet they are still operationally "games" because the neurochemical response is similar to eating a bowl of candy. It feels good just to eat and that feeling in itself is escapist.

Lately I've also been diving into the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality which had over a thousand games for $5. Lots of rare gems in there that I absolutely loved. One that I'm trying to get into is Overland, in which you lead some folks on a roadtrip across a post-apocalyptic US. Each playthrough you'll meet new characters and get into a variety of situations that usually lead to disaster. There are permanent consequences to every action that affect the rest of the game. It's like a modern Oregon Trail.

Games like Overland definitely satisfy that criteria because player actions feed back into the world. But something else I love about emergent game experiences is how they can permanently change ourselves. We form unique memories and take away lessons like reading a book, hearing a song, or going to therapy. They exist outside the game space through the stories we tell.

I can find these aspects in my game but it's certainly closer to candy and therapy than challenge and emergent stories. I'm glad to provide a weird and joyful world you can see and escape into. And I'll take everyone's suggestions to heart for wherever we go next.

Yesterday 21:49:09

@drg: Thanks for re-posting my announcement!

About community copies: I want to make sure that y'all can have access to the game no matter your situation. Thanks to all of your generous purchases here, the pool will start with 7 free copies that anyone can claim. If those ever run out, please PM me to receive a unique coupon code.

About this week's update: Today I released the last beta version. It has 23 collectible instruments that can be played on the keyboard, a gamepad, or any MIDI device. There are some slight changes and improvements to other things that may improve performance. Enjoy!

About next week's release: I'm reviewing the feedback here in this thread and will attempt to make further optimizations and fixes. There won't be any major new features but it will polish some things so it's ready for retail. This won't be the last soundStrider update. I plan to support the game with bug fixes, and I've outlined a few ideas for free content updates.

I've been working on this full-time for over six months. It's been an incredible experience and I'm super grateful. But I need a short break to catch my breath before my next big thing. I'm looking forward to engaging you all in other threads and playing more audio games. Thanks!

Today 17:31:39

I just read that blog post Dark did and found it really interesting.
First I should apologize for the initial response.  As you said, the information in the first post could have been more complete, and maybe you personally don't feel that an apology is warranted but please humor me.
We are a community which is frustrated and starving for content, often bitter do to feeling left behind by the mainstream, and with a high percentage of members who have issues with anxiety or depression do to social and financial pressures.  We have tropes that most of our small library of successful games have followed since the beginning of our history, and the majority of our active posters are teens or young adults, many of  whom are isolated by circumstance   and had their social skills shaped by the confines of the blind internet community.
These aren't excuses, but they are reasons.  No one was outright hostile to you from what I saw, but by the same token, very few were very constructive or open minded in their feedback either, which is an unfortunately common occurrence on this forum these days.
Particularly knowing now how nervous you were about posting here, and how worried you had become over the lack of interest in other communities, I feel it appropriate to extend this apology on behalf of the community.

But moving on from that, I would like to thank you sincerely for being open to fixing things and sticking with it.  We have a handful of developers who like you, decided to really dig into the accessibility options and try out a screen reader for them selves, and much to the appreciation of the community, they have become great examples to others by doing so.
Maybe it shouldn't be surprising coming from someone in the academic field, but the speed at which you grasped the importance of a continual commitment to accessibility through periodic testing and fixing was still impressive to me.  Maybe it speaks to the unfortunate state of things within the development sphere that such a thing stood out to me, but regardless I want to show my appreciation for it.

Your community copy pool system is also quite generous, not to mention interesting from a conceptual point of view.  I'm lucky enough that I don't need to take advantage of it my self, but I've been on the other side of the fence several times in my life and can tell you how much that would mean to me.

Buy the worlds greatest machine gun. It's about 50 inches in length, It's huge! & it can shoot really far, &, it's cheap!
Lets demonstrate this: stand still Thom...
Okay ma.aaa!
Oh! crap!

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