Meltdown – Location Audio Game


A wormhole is detected.

Nothing is seen. Disturbances are felt. Things can be heard.

You hear creeptures amongst a swarm of sounds.

Find and kill all seven of them. You have ten minutes. You have your ears.

Meltdown is a location based binaural sound game in which the player must explore, find and kill creeptures within a time limit by only using their ears. It works by them physically moving around a children’s park and using an iPhone as an extension of their ears to hunt the creeptures and kill them by actually stabbing the phone forwards.

While still a prototype, the game includes a complete dialogue system and an interactive and reactive binaural soundscape. What makes it interesting is that the player interacts directly with the environment. There is no screen. There is no typical game controller. They must walk and think like a hunter. On encountering a creepture they must binaurally locate it, bring it closer to them (using a gesture) and kill it by stabbing the iPhone in the correct direction. The game is immersive not only because it is binaural but also because it includes sounds from the environment. For example, the player might hear the swing moving (properly localised with the correct distance and angle calculations) but won’t see it moving. They might hear someone running across or a dog barking without seeing any of it while they interact with the environment and react to it with their body and minds.

How did this project use Max?

Everything was built in Max 6. The iPhone communicates with a laptop (or two) over Wifi using the C74 app and object. The complete soundscape (dialogue system, granulated playback, procedural/synthetic systems, interactive mixer), GPS calculations and game logic/mechanics was built in Max and JavaScript within Max. Binaural processing and spatialisation was made possible with IRCAM's spat~