Basic echolocation mechanics have been completed. Each object type has a sphere around it that detects when the player has entered and exited range of the object. When the player enters the sphere the object is added to a list of objects within range of the player, conversely the object is removed from the list if the player exits the sphere. When the echo command is issued all objects in the list have their sound played. In order to test navigation mechanics a few different objects with different sounds that will be used in creating a forest region have been created, trees, bushes, and rocks. Currently the only difference between objects is the associated sound. These objects have been positioned in an area large enough to test the range of echolocation and to test the spacing of objects necessary to prevent the soundscape from becoming overloaded with information while still maintaining an interesting environment.
The in-game map menu interface has been re-engineered in a few ways that either presently or in the near future will allow for an improved user experience. By modifying the system used to detect when a map slider collides with the border, feedback is now repeatedly issued so as to reduce any ambiguity about the location of the map cursor. Additionally, elements of the map have been configured to pass their data to the map interface which will allow for a smooth implementation of a variety of unique feedback identities to identify game world objects and waypoints (something which will play a major role in the audio compass mechanic, a feature to be developed and detailed in coming weeks). Design work was done to resolve some uncertainties with multiple audio interfaces. First, to minimize any inconvenience arising from certain limitations of audio interfaces, when it comes to implementing linear lists of menu items, each menu item will be associated with a brief identity sound which will play immediately preceding the speaking of the menu item name. When combined with the immediate cutoff of these sounds when navigating between menu items, the hope is providing association mechanisms will reduce time spent navigating these menus as users are enabled to identify selected items more quickly. Another feature is also being developed to combat the strict linearity associated with audio interfaces: following the identify sounds associated with navigation to a currently-highlighted menu item, options immediately preceding and succeeding this option will be communicated in a delayed manner through whispers, with the preceding item being spoken solely in the left channel and the succeeding item in the right.
Both of these features are being implemented in the in-game inventory interface for which development is underway. The plan is to have this interface internally complete (meaning external data injections from other interfaces will still be lacking) by the end of interval 2. And as all map menu functionality introduced up to this point has been made functional, additional features can be added there as well which will allow integration with game world activity in the coming weeks of development.
Echolocation needs to list the objects of interest in range of the player in a coherent manner. The sounds will need to be played to the player in order sorted by criteria such as distance, importance, or type of object. Additionally if the environment is too crowded or too scarce then it is difficult to get a sense for navigation. The objects in the soundscape will have to function as both obstacles as well as landmarks to aid in navigation without hindering the players ability to understand the environment.
There is still some work to be done to understand the audio bus interface in the Godot Engine. This technology will be essential for implementing binaural feedback in interfaces like the inventory menu. Development progress for this menu has been delayed slightly due to time invested in learning how to take full advantage of audio buses. There are also user experience challenges to be confronted as the inventory menu is completed, including: how to communicate the current player inventory capacity (open spaces vs taken spaces), should the menu cycle or be bounded by extremes, and how to handle the crafting mechanic which will require selecting multiple items from the inventory menu interface.
In order to make movement easier to understand camera functionality was added. The player can turn the camera to the left or right, but up . . .
A significant amount of work was achieved this interval with regard to integrating the Map Menu with the game world context, building on the foundations . . .