3D sounds and virtual environment

Using 3D sound as a navigational aid in virtual environments by R. Gunther, R. Kazman and C. MacGregor. Behaviour & Information Technology, Volume 23, Number 6 / November-December 2004

As current virtual environments are less visually rich than real-world environments, careful consideration must be given to their design to ameliorate the lack of visual cues. One important design criterion in this respect is to make certain that adequate navigational cues are incorporated into complex virtual worlds. In this paper we show that adding 3D spatialized sound to a virtual environment can help people navigate through it. We conducted an experiment to determine if the incorporation of 3D sound (a) helps people find specific locations in the environment, and (b) influences the extent to which people acquire spatial knowledge about their environment. Our results show that the addition of 3D sound did reduce time taken to locate objects in a complex environment. However, the addition of sound did not increase the amount of spatial knowledge users were able to acquire. In fact, the addition of 3D auditory sound cues appears to suppress the development of overall spatial knowledge of the virtual environment.

Why do I blog this? Because I believe that sound awareness is important in VE. This paper provides good references.