Hey, these are all great replies and they sound mostly positive:
-Yes, files could be huge, but normal downloaded games easily hit 100s of megabytes; I don’t see much resistance unless this happens to be a community of people playing IF games on DOS machines with 2400 baud modems. Is there? I tend to keep up with PC tech in my home so the idea of holding back to reach a larger audience is a mixed one for me.
-I also agree that the conflict of audio vs sounds in one’s head is a critical one and here is my take:
…In the spirit of the sharing philosophy amongst IF fans, the code would be available and another enthusiast is welcome to replace the sounds with their own and release it as a variation. I also realize that this seriously breaks away from the conventional relationship between text-only and IF, which used to be called text adventures. Changing to ‘IF’ in some ways killed that requirement and opened the doors to many experiments within the broader concept. And WHAT other game-writer’s forum is going to support any kind of text-dominated interaction except for the IF community? IF remains very traditional but a backwater amongst the bigger gaming world. Right now there is no middle ground to play with hybrids. (I even thought about how I might implement a totally real-time action game with nothing but text I/O, not turned-based. Bizarre idea? Yes. Your typing skills better be good!)
…Allowing to turn off the sound is a given, although it kind of misses the point! But I understand. I tend to put on atmospheric music when I play because it is one of the few game-playing activities that gives me that option. (although I did not find any acceptible ‘spooky circus’ music to go along with playing Ballyhoo recently.)
…Music IS subject to taste but people who create are committing to artistic choices with every project; and the critics will supply a thumbs up or down. That being said…
…Music could be an aspiration but I was mostly thinking ambience, not music (think rain sounds in the opening scene of Anchorhead). Part of the reason I have been conceiving audio with IF is that IF is mainly expository and there is a limit to how much exposition a player will accept. A normal story has total freedom to shape the perception of the reader with conciseness compared to the IF medium.
…Some advantages to sound: As soon as you enter a room, audio-ambience will immediately push you into a passive mental state that requires no effort. I can overlook a change in the text but I am far more likely to notice the clock is not ticking anymore. If I add text ‘the clock is not ticking’ really gives the show away because its presence is itself a clue that it (may) be important. Again, the clicking clock doesn’t have to be important, just another element of the ambience.
…By its nature, sound (compared to the other senses) is highly tuned to interpreting the 3D world around us. It is intrinsically dynamic and reveals the space around us in 360 degrees all at once.
(tidbit of interesting info: I used to work on cochlear implants and the most interesting thing I learned is that deaf people complain of loneliness and isolation more that blind people, despite the huge difference in handicapping! Apparently visual is good for physical interaction with the world around us but sound conveys more mood and feeling and, very important, what is happening behind us.)
Despite all that, I sometimes prefer to read a book with no music playing to allow the books ‘voice’ to dominate; I completely understand some desires to skip past all sensory import. Hell, I might even discover that I hate my own idea once I actually try to play it. Plus, everybody has heard the saying ‘everybody is a writer’, which purports a creative palette accessible to everybody, whereas I am guessing that there is definitely a lower tolerance for bad sounds because they’re harder to tune out. The quality and choice of even background non-music audio like rainfall or wind blowing could be irritating if your particular creative choice does not interlace well with a player’s imagination.
Well, that was a lot of babble on my part but good convo, thanks! There are probably a lot of IF fans who are mentally screaming NO!, don’t mess with the format! But isn’t art ultimately about exploration and pushing boundaries? There is ALWAYS friction in the artistic community.