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February 24, 2011

Dynamic sound in AS3

Filed under: doodles,flash,Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Brandel Zachernuk @ 10:11 am

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Warning: Setting the squareness below 0 will result in a much louder sound than anything else, so be aware that you might need to turn the volume down!

I’ve been reading a textbook called Human-Computer Interaction. It’s an excellent and extensive primer on the subject for someone who hasn’t studied it formally in the past, although at nearly 8 years old it can’t be expected to be up-to-date on everything in the field. At first I thought that one of those areas was the use of sound in HCI, though when I thought more about it, I realized that sound is almost always an afterthought – in games, and especially in applications.

One of the reasons that sound-based UI isn’t explored more is that an interface that uses pre-recorded sound samples is limited in the number of ways that those samples can be used to convey information. Sound can be generated on the computer, though, so I decided to look at where more fine-grained feedback could be given to a user through sounds that can be modified at will to reflect even minor changes. In order to do that I had to put together a system that would be able to generate a wide range of sounds that can take a range of parameters, and what you see before you is the initial result of that exploration. Source code can be provided if desired. I’m hoping to use this generative sound output in the near future – stay tuned!

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