Creating Audio Object-focused Acoustic Environments for Room-Scale Virtual Reality

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Abstract: Room-scale Virtual Reality (VR) affordance in movement and interactivity causes new challenges in creating virtual acoustic environments for VR experiences. Such environments are typically constructed from virtual interactive objects that are accompanied by an Ambisonic bed and an off-screen ("invisible") music soundtrack, with the Ambisonic bed, music, and virtual acoustics describing the aural features of an area. This methodology can become problematic in room-scale VR as the player cannot approach or interact with such background sounds, contradicting the player’s motion aurally and limiting interactivity. Written from a sound designers perspective, the paper addresses these issues by proposing a musically inclusive novel methodology that reimagines an acoustic environment predominately using objects that are governed by multimodal rule-based systems and spatialized in six degrees of freedom using 3D-binaural audio exclusively while minimizing the use of Ambisonic beds and non-diegetic music. This methodology is implemented using off-the-shelf, creator-oriented tools and methods and is evaluated through the development of a standalone, narrative, prototype room-scale VR experience. The experience’s target platform is a mobile, untethered VR system based on head-mounted displays, inside-out tracking, head-mounted loudspeakers or headphones, and hand-held controllers. The authors apply their methodology to the generation of ambiances based on sound-based music, sound effects, and virtual acoustics. The proposed methodology benefits the interactivity and spatial behavior of virtual acoustic environments but may be constrained by platform and project limitations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7306
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2022


  • Virtual Reality
  • sound design
  • Spatial audio
  • six degrees of freedom
  • game audio
  • room-scale
  • spatial interaction
  • human–computer interaction
  • audio and haptic interfaces

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