There is a seemingly endless cycle of events that explore the nature and potential of VR happening across the world. Recently, Austin had it’s own Games Conference where specialists working across a number of games and VR titles gathered together to discuss the intricacies of everything from physics-based audio to audio for robotics.
Aaron Brown’s presentation about 5D Audio in VR was eye-catching at the conference, and after the show as well. Aaron’s theory about the 5th dimension being critical for interactive content was presented with a wealth of both theoretical information and practical application.
What is 5D audio and why does it sound like a marketing term? The good news is that it isn’t a marketing term. Aaron covers this in great detail in the video, but he posits the argument that we understand the second and third dimensions exceptionally well - they are what makes up the physical world around us and our ability to move through that space. The fourth dimension of time is also very familiar.
The 5th dimension is a concept that has undergone a significant amount of research in mathematics and physics (where it is a legitimate construct), but can be described as ‘the dimension of choice’ or ‘parallel universes’ to those outside of STEM.
Aaron applies this to creative media by highlighting that interactive environments offer choice to players, and hence there needs to be a curated experience offered to players so they can make sense of the stimulus you offer them. Aaron explores how to Curate the player experience by influencing choice, increasing mix clarity, driving immersion, driving gameplay and triggering emotions - all with wonderful examples of how to achieve these effects from his experience in sound design. He even backs up his practices with references in the area of human perception research.
This presentation is a must watch for sound designers and producers looking to understand how people perceive and react to sound in VR, and what they can do to help control and curate viewer experience.