Archive for Utrecht School of the Arts

Audio-only menus

This post is about an old thesis written in 2002 for the Utrecht School of the Arts, School of Music and Technology.[1] It contains guidelines for the usability of audio-only menus. It’s written in Dutch and I’d like to share some insights that might be useful for designing audio menus or audio games.

In the past years, I’ve designed quite some audio menus for audio games and supervised projects that used audio-only interaction for blind users. Below I share some of my experiences concerning these menus, and include the original recommendations of the thesis.

illustration by zkukkuiz

illustration by zkukkuiz

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PrettyUglyGameSoundStudy (PUGS)

PrettyUglyGameSoundStudy (or PUGS) is an experiment to gather as many examples of audio in games that people consider either to be ‘good’ (or ‘pretty’) and ‘bad’ (or ‘ugly’). On one hand we wish to get a better understanding of game audio that people consider to work well in games and on the other we would like to get an overview of (typical) game audio blunders, from which the field can benefit. We hope that eventually this archive can grow out to be an inspiration (as well as the occasional good laugh) for those working in the field of game audio.

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IEZA: a framework for game audio

The IEZA framework defines the communication by means of audio in games. Richard van Tol and I published the theory of IEZA in an article on Gamasutra.

Based on our review of literature and repertoire we have formulated a framework that uses an alternate approach to classify game audio: the IEZA framework. The primary purpose is to refine insight in the communication by means of game audio by providing a coherent organization of four domains belonging to two dimensions.

IEZA framework can be used to conceptualise the communication by means of game audio

IEZA framework can be used to conceptualise the communication by means of game audio

The authors would like to thank Jan IJzermans for his conceptual contribution to IEZA, as well as the feedback to the article.

[Read the article about the IEZA framework at Gamasutra]



  • Huiberts, S. en Tol, R. van, (2008). IEZA: a framework for game audio. Retrieved December 1, 2008, from: ieza_a_framework_for_game_audio.php

IEZA is featured in the following book chapter by Ulf Wilhelmsson and Jakob Wallén. The authors combine IEZA with the model for the production of film sound by Walter Murch and the affordance theory by Gibson.

  • Wilhelmsson, U. and Wallén, J. A Combined Model for the Structuring of Computer Game Audio. In: Grimshaw, M. (2010). Game Sound Technology and Player Interaction: Concepts and Developments. University of Bolton, UK.

Other uses of IEZA are listed at the IEZA Wikipedia page. Feel free to add your own reference:

GDC Game Audio report 2006 (in Dutch)

In 2006, Richard van Tol and I visited the Game Developers Conference in behalf of the Utrecht School of the Arts. This is an (originally intended as internal) report which contains the developments in the field of game audio, after attending the audio sessions of the GDC ’06.

Disclaimer: this is an document reporting the state of a rapidly developing field, many facts may be outdated. Mainly intended for “nostalgia” or reference! You can download the original report as PDF (Dutch) or read the article below this line, oftewel het artikel hieronder lezen: (Dutchy stuff has already started)

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