Assessing the Effect of Adaptive Music on Player Navigation in Virtual Environments

Manuel López Ibá ñez; Nahum Álvarez; Federico Peinado
DAFx-2018 - Aveiro
Through this research, we develop a study aiming to explore how adaptive music can help in guiding players across virtual environments. A video game consisting of a virtual 3D labyrinth was built, and two groups of subjects played through it, having the goal of retrieving a series of objects in as short a time as possible. Each group played a different version of the prototype in terms of audio: one had the ability to state their preferences by choosing several musical attributes, which would influence the actual spatialised music they listened to during gameplay; the other group played a version of the prototype with a default, non-adaptive, but also spatialised soundtrack. Time elapsed while completing the task was measured as a way to test user performance. Results show a statistically significant correlation between player performance and the inclusion of a soundtrack adapted to each user. We conclude that there is an absence of a firm musical criteria when making sounds be prominent and easy to track for users, and that an adaptive system like the one we propose proves useful and effective when dealing with a complex user base.