Archive for sander

One Note Salsa and Composing for Fire Trucks. Exploring the creative design process of game composition throughout history.

By Sander Huiberts – Creative Design Practices – HKU University of the Arts Utrecht – School of Music & Technology


HKU – Creative Design Practices Research


This article addresses the findings of a practice-based investigation into the process of game music creation throughout the past forty years. In this research project, four composition students of the Utrecht School of the Arts created game music restricted by the limitations that counted for early game composers and reflected upon the implications for their design process. By doing this, we hoped to get an understanding of the way the creative design process of a game composer is influenced by such limitations, point out the challenges that arise when composing with these drastic restrictions and discern the techniques that could still be relevant for game composers.

The project was initiated by the Creative Design Practices research programme at the Utrecht School of the Arts, which researches creative design processes and investigates how designers collaborate. Four students subscribed to the project that started in spring of 2012: Alexander Wttewaall, Pablo Ham, Stijn Frishert and Yme de Jong.

This investigation of the design processes of game music formed part of a larger research project on the history of game music that was started in 2012 in cooperation with Muziekinstituut Multimedia (MiMM) and Utrecht University.
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[Solution!] Bring your Xperia U Back to Life – Fix WiFi issue, Battery Drain, Root, Remove Bloatware – Fix/Solved

Before publishing Gluddle on Android, I needed an Android device that wasn’t over-specced in order to be able to test it on a general device. I also preferred a phone that was quite small, portable and not horrendously ugly as some Android devices are. Unfortunately, this Sony has some software quirks that make it unusable, and below I’ll explain how I was able to solve this. But first, look at a U.


The Xperia U is a quite nice device compared to other relatively cheap phones, although my conclusion is that Sony did fine when designing the hardware, but software-wise they messed up a little when releasing Ice Cream Sandwich on this phone. Sony Support seems to be ignoring the issues. Look at all the complaints on the internet about this phone and the WiFi issues…and Sony suggests to do a complete factory reset, again and again. I think the issues are general Android bugs, but Sony does not release an OS update for this phone.  So…is your next phone a Sony Xperia? Meee….not so sure.

Some weeks ago I decided to get this phone working again in as little time as possible without doing a factory reset. It had become too slow to use, and the WiFi issues were becoming too annoying.

For me, there were three problems to solve:
1. The gallery thumbnails file kept on growing until it used all of the phone’s SD card space.
2. The WiFi connection was maintained when walking out of range or just because…nothing…, and some WPA_supplicant process fired the CPU and emptied the battery as fast as it could. Restarting the phone was the only solution to regain WiFi access…well, for an hour. If there was still some battery left.
3. The phone was fully packed with amazing Sony bloatware which made it too slow to use.So one step at a time…let’s start with…

Fix 1. Reclaim your storage

Well, apparently, there’s a bug in the Android version installed on the U causing the system to create a huuuuuuuge data file for the thumbnails. Deleting the .thumbdata file does not help, neither does making it read-only (src: this post). This solution fixed the issue on my phone:

.thumbdata file keeps growing
Don’t know if this will help but worth trying i guess. Delete the data/cache of your Camera, Gallery and Media Storage (you will find this under Settings/Apps/All) then reboot your phone. Pray and cross fingers.
[source, by icecrmsandwich]

Well…it helps! Moi haz space on phone now. Note: Mind that this resets camera settings, ringtone settings, alarm sounds, etc. Check before you’re embarred in public: the factory tingtones are scary (Check these ringtones by my friends at Cleartones!).

Fix 2. Fix WiFi connection and battery stamina

OK, you’ve probably noticed: WiFi is weird. It disconnects and does not want to connect, consumes the battery and slows down your phone. In order to fix this, you need to root the phone. In general, it’s a good idea to do this, so you can also fix issue 3. I used this root manual. You don’t have to flash a custom ROM.
Do try this at home, but on your own risk. Root Your Phone but Make Backups. Make Backups. Ma…ke backups. The Rooting process took me only 2 minutes because I decided to keep the original ROM, and my files and settings were kept intact, but you never know.

After rooting the phone, I fixed the WiFi issues using the file browser in Super Manager, according to this fix:

1) Turn Off the WIFI 2 (open the file explorer and go to /DATA/MISC/WIFI folder and delete the file wpa_supplicant_bgscan.db 3 Connect the WIFI (this will generate a new file wpa_supplicant_bgscan.db) wait until the new file being created. 4 Go to the folder /DATA/MISC/WIFI , select the new file wpa_supplicant_bgscan.db and change all their permissions for “read-only”. Congratulations because the bug irritant of WIFI has been solved.
[source, solution by HB76 @ kindly suggested by man1ac].

I was VERY happy to see that the bug irritant in my phone was fixed.

Fix 3. Reclaim your CPU and RAM

Now that you’ve rooted your Xperia, it’s nice to remove the apps you don’t need. I used App Master to remove bloatware such as Sony wallpapers, Retail Demo, Recommender, Timescape, Google Plus, etc.

The nice blue Live Wallpaper (Cosmic Flow) that comes with your Xperia is nice, but it’s a CPU hog, so consider to kill your darlings! I removed it, and did not regret it. Phone is fast now. I see animations of app folder, etc.


I installed Android Firewall to control the outgoing data and have the idea that the phone is more responsive.

Does this work for you? Do you have other suggestions? Let me know.

Update 3/3-2014: the phone still works like a charm. All the issues are solved and have not reoccurred up to date. 

Update March 2015: there seems to be a crack in the internals of the annoying LED bar causing the display to remain unlit. I replaced the Sony Xperia by a Huawei Honor, which I find superior to the Sony. Bye Sony Xperia.

Hearing under water…

Do we hear better under water?

Yes and no.

The detection of sound waves actually works better in water than in air because water transmits pressure waves more efficiently.

However, the difference in density means that human speech sounds are muffled or garbled underwater, making talking across a distance practically impossible. This is why scuba divers communicate by hand signals.

Underwater sound systems:
We evolved to process sound data on land, so we simply don’t hear as well at the bottom of a river — despite the ability of some divers to have ultrasonic hearing underwater. When you’re underwater, however, flooding in the outer ear prevents a lot of that necessary vibration and essentially nullifies your air conductivity hearing ability. We call this bone conductivity, the conduction of sound to the inner ear through the bones of the skull. This mode of hearing is 40 percent less effective than air conductivity, but it’s still the primary way we hear underwater [source: NOAA].
Meer info:

In-depth information:

Can I make a DIY under water speaker?

Yes, you can, with the help of a… pressure cooker:

Audio Games – Der Elektrische Reporter (Germany)

A post in German? Yes, we were interviewed by Frank J. Hofmann for a ZDF documentary on audio games!

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Play Angrier Bots – Angry Bots Audio Revisited (HKU)

Angry Bots

Angry Bots

At HKU University of the Arts Utrecht we offer a four year course on audio design for games and interaction. In the first seven weeks of the third year, students are challenged to implement their newly created sound and music into Unity‘s tech demo Angry Bots. For most students, this means a first experience with hacking, programming and coding.

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Game Sound & Immersion – Annotations

Gijs Driesenaar sent me his annotations of Captivating Sound: the Role of Audio for Immersion in Games. If you’re a little short on time but would like to know what’s in the thesis, you can consider this the essence of the book. The numbers refer to page numbers. [Download as PDF]

6. This thesis explores the relation between game audio and (computer) game immersion. Audio is studied using the IEZA‐model (Interface, Effect, Zone, Affect) and the SCI‐model(Sensory- Challenge-based- and Imaginative Immersion), and several design issues are described. This yields a conceptual framework that describes various audio design issues that can be used to reflect upon conceptual decisions relevant for the design of audio in relation to immersion.

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By request – IEZA framework high resolution PNG

Are you looking for a higher resolution image of the IEZA framework for your thesis, site or duvet cover? Look no futher, here it is, just click the image and download!

IEZA Framework for Game Audio - Large dimensions

IEZA Framework for Game Audio – Large dimensions.


Blind Games – The Next Battleground in Accessibility

Blind Games - The Next Battleground in Accessibility!

Blind Games – The Next Battleground in Accessibility!

Today appeared an article about blind gamers and audio games on! Not only is it a great article (written by David Moss) but it is also hoped that many folks in the industry get to read it. Everybody wants to safe the universe, blind gamers included.

Read Blind Games – The Next Battleground in Accessibility

Make a red hot nickel ball sing

Wow, speaking of captivating sounds! Apparently, due to the ‘leidenfrost effect’ a hot metal ball immersed in water will make the sound in the video.

Interactive Music System in Crysis 2 (2011)

A golden oldie that was pending for quite some time in my drafts posts…

Videos of designers explaining their interactive music systems in games are not quite abundantly available. In the case of Crysis 2 (2011), the composers have explained their way of working, collaborating and more. Especially the large amount of interactive material – 5 hours! [1] – made this a monster job.

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