White Space is a large, open, multidisciplinary working area located on the ground floor of Abertay’s Kydd Building. Behind all the activity – small computing seminars, group projects, tutorials – there are some large sofas and coffee tables for taking a break at and it was here that I sat down to talk to Dr Dayna Galloway, head of Abertay’s Games and Arts division.
Firstly, we discussed the role of audio in video games. He described the vast difference between a small company where the production team – writer, artist, programmer, musician – works closely together in a highly collaborative process where each person might work across fields; and the big studio working on AAA games where a musician is only involved late on in production. Musicians and audio designers, he told me, were much like writers in that not only are they often consulted after all the visual design is completed but are also bought in from the outside and are not generally regular employees of game developers.
I then asked Dayna about his own creative practice. He told me that his projects begin with feelings, a sense of the environment he wishes to evoke, with interactions. It begins, in short, with user experience design. Game mechanics, he said, may be the third or fourth thing he considers at the beginning of a project, and this is very much the approach I want to follow in my work. This is not about designing a really clever game using audio and haptic feedback, it is about creating a playful and social experience for blind people.