journal article | poster presentation | TAG blog post | original website (archived)
GameSound was a prototype database that aimed to reveal the music and sound effects present within videogames in an effort to facilitate academic study. Created in collaboration with researcher Melissa Mony, and built using Sydney University’s data management system HEURIST, GameSound’s data-set includes over two thousand audio entries extracted from the 2005 computer game Civilization IV.
Using an interdisciplinary approach for categorization and display, GameSound’s goal was to facilitate online access to a large dataset of technical and musicological parameters using dynamic search capabilities. As a prototype, GameSound hints at a potential new resource for game scholars, ludomusicologists, and independent researchers.
GameSound was created as a experimental and iterative project, meant to explore the ongoing technical challenges ludomusicologists face (data accessibility, lack of established standards, etc). Following presentations at Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Regina and the McGill Music Graduate Students’ Society Symposium and publication in Digital Studies/Le champ numérique, the project was put on hold. However, the database remains accessible in anticipation of future research opportunities.
GameSound’s initial dataset consists of 2178 audio files sourced from a Windows installation of Civilization IV. Users can interact with the dataset using an in-browser faceted search or may view a sample report (which includes all entries that currently contain both a screenshot and an associated video file). The database is currently available through the interface below, although much of its functionality is currently limited.
In addition to allowing users to search audio based on technical classification (file size, duration, and more), GameSound utilizes the IEZA framework: a two dimensional method of describing sound in computer games. Designed by Sander Huiberts and Richard van Tol at the Utrecht School of the Arts, the IEZA framework provides ludologists with a customized vocabulary for audio classification.