Viking Ghost Hunt: creating engaging sound design for location-aware applications

Natasa Paterson, Gavin Kearney, Katsiaryna Naliuka, Tara Carrigy, Madds Haahr, Fionnuala Conway

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review


Advancements in mobile technology have led to the development of location-aware gaming, where media can be bound to a physical space and thereby enable real world interactions. Location-aware applications refer to the overlaying of a virtual world onto a physical space that respond to contextual cues such as Global Position System coordinates (GPS). Due to the smaller visual displays of mobile phones, sound designs can play an important role in facilitating player immersion and engagement for narrative led applications. In this article we first present and describe the sound design and evaluation of audio in Viking Ghost Hunt, a location-aware game based around historical Viking locations in Dublin, Ireland. This research focused on the novel approach taken in developing an immersive and engaging soundscape that included the psychoacoustic effects of spatial audio and reverberation. The next phase of testing saw that the particular use of reverberation and spatialisation in Viking Ghost Hunt produced interesting results, especially for reverberation. This paper goes on to describe the most recent investigations in this research into reverberation properties and their influence on engagement levels of sound designs. This latest phase of testing and evaluation was based on David Griesinger’s (2007) hypothesis that the ratio between the direct sound emanating from the source, in relation to early reflections in a reverberant field, will effect engagement and immersion levels. The remainder of the article will discuss the findings of these new studies in the context of the Viking Ghost Hunt
prototype and location-aware sound design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-82
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Arts and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012


  • Location-aware gaming
  • sound design
  • audio evaluation
  • engagement
  • immersion
  • presence
  • mobile multimedia
  • multimedia devices
  • reverberation
  • spatialisation
  • location awareness
  • historical locations
  • Dublin; Ireland
  • engaging soundscape

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