Murmur and Ebb

Like the flow of the tides.

When my computer imploded (a combination of demanding it run Aion at max graphics and a faulty motherboard) I was forced to live solely in the real world. I don’t say that meaning to imply that I’m some kind of virtual-space junkie or even that I’m abnormally antisocial and afraid of human contact.

I mention it because I have spent so much time in virtual spaces. So much so that when I came back to the real world there was a sense of disconnect. Suddenly the world I live in feels new.

I live catty-corner to a small baseball diamond and enjoy a large garden on my corner lot. While I was outside, getting dirt on my typing fingers and crisping my pale gamer complexion, I suddenly started noticing sounds. I’m not talking about the wind in the trees (I have none) or the birds (I ignore their name-calling). I’m talking about the distant chatter that carried across the road from the baseball diamond. I’m talking about the faint crunch and scrape that a wheeled carraige makes when it travels over slightly run-down concrete.

My small town gets a good amount of foot traffic. As I’m working outside I can hear snippets of conversation as they swell and die off depending on how close the speakers are, and how boisterous their discourse.

And suddenly, out under the sun, while admiring the worms, I was reminded of a grand idea I had for the future of MMO gaming back around 2005.

Right now, the best a game can do to immitate a living breathing world with sounds is to have some kind of looping background track, triggered by zone. The clever producers will layer multiple background tracks, fade them in and out depending on area, and stagger the looping.

It’s a good short-cut, but when I look down and squint at a chat log to see what other people in the zone are saying I’m left feeling the disconnect. Or I should say, I felt nothing at all. I was so used to relying on a chat-log for the murmur and ebb of the world around me that I took it for granted as something that just was.

In 2005-06, somewhere around there (in the era between my college and professional life at the very least) I tried out Dungeons & Dragons Online. Now, when I think back to what I thought of the game, three things stand out (all positively). The active playstyle, the DM-esque narration in the dungeons, and the in-game voice chat in groups.

This was great! It’s like couterstrike, jumping in and being able to chat with real people! Then, a little worm of an idea began to work at me.

Would it be possible to institute server-wide voice chat systems? Would it be possible to engineer them in such a way that a voice is broadcast from the player’s avatar so that one could walk down a crowded market street and hear the general chatter of the community? A snippet of conversation here, a waft of someone’s intense barter there.

As only a lowly graphic artist I have no idea if a system like this is even possible with today’s technology, but I like to think it’s a nice thought.

(for any who miss my Guild Wars 2 themed posts, I don’t really have anything new to say that hasn’t already been said and I hate repeating news)

Oh, I do have one thing.

The next GW2 class to be revealed? My money's on that one.

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  • Comments (8)
  1. Don’t ever feel like you have to post about gw. Or that you have to explain yourself when you don’t.

    anyway. I’ll take your money, because I think it’s going to be the male norn with the axe on his shoulder behind the ele!

      • Tigerfeet
      • June 7th, 2010

      You’re on! I’ll lay 1 plat 🙂

    • Silvanus
    • June 5th, 2010

    Orly now… What makes you so certain that’s the one? ;P

    If anything, my money’s actually on the one to the Ele’s right hand side (to the left looking at the pic). And i’m going to guess it’s the Ranger.


      • Tigerfeet
      • June 7th, 2010

      I’m certain because I saw it in a dream 😛

    • San Darkwood
    • June 6th, 2010

    It was nice seeing you at the event last night 🙂
    I seriously laughed out loud at your reason for speculating the next profession revealed. 😛

    As for the rest of your blog post, I agree, in game voice chat is good fun, however there may be a problem with grievers if a system like this was available. There are always people who think it is fun to ruin everyone’s gaming experience by verbally abusing anyone in earshot

      • Silvanus
      • June 7th, 2010

      or the people that would decide to stand in the middle of the square blasting the most horrid music imaginable……………. rap >_<

        • Tigerfeet
        • June 7th, 2010

        I’d do to them what I do to excessive noisemakers IRL, call the authorities >:3

  2. I like the idea of in-game voice chat. It shouldn’t be too hard to achieve, just connect players to another’s voice feed when they’re in range to hear them. Heck, players could even have voice mods (to go higher or lower), and those without mics might be able to do text-to-speech. There’s no reason devs shouldn’t implement this.

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