Ludum Dare 35 — April 15th-18th, 2016 — Theme: Shapeshift

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Soundscape (Find the Light)

by johnbrynte - Jam Entry

Can you hear shapes?

In this game you will experience darkness in its darkest form and learn how to truly appreciate the light in life. Use your ears and let the sound of light guide you to the exit.

- What? How do I play?

You can walk forward and turn. When you turn, the line will move to give an indication to how much you turned. Each line represents a 90 degree turn, meaning two lines make you face the way you came. You want to listen for sounds in the environment, specially the higher frequencies as they will guide you towards the light.


Walk with UP or W.
Turn with LEFT/RIGHT or A/D.

Best played in a dark room with headphones.


For the directional sound to work you will need a browser that supports the Web Audio API, which is basically all major browsers except Internet Explorer. So if it doesn't seem to work you can always try updating your browser! Tested in Google Chrome.

Please report any bugs to me in the comments below and I'll try to fix it!

Downloads and Links




uchiro says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 3:37am

I liked the idea, I played with headphones and really felt walking. That's cool.
I came to light only once. I tried to understand what I'm doing wrong, but couldn't. The sound didn't help me. Probably should add hints, such as sound.
I tried to run full-screen mode and in firefox and chrome. In both didn't move the strip.

johnbrynte says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 7:44am

@uchiro Happy that you could appreciate the game despite it didn't work properly for you, and I'm sorry that it didn't!

I'll see if I can fix the issue. Please comment here if anyone else has the same or another issue, thanks!

Apr 20, 2016 @ 12:42pm

I like the sounds! Couldn't find more than one light though. Felt like the sound wasn't directional or something...

johnbrynte says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 7:44pm

@Swedishpancaces Great to hear! Yes it can be truly difficult, but my only advice is to be patient and alert ;) Thanks for playing!

WojtaW says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 10:04pm

I like the idea, but it could guide player a little bit more. At least the hints in description could be presented in the game itself.

vctr_seleucos says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 10:06pm

Surprising game, I was not expecting something like this, good job! Maybe you should help players a bit more, as I was not understanding it at first.

johnbrynte says ...
Apr 21, 2016 @ 10:14am

@WojtaW, @vctr_seleucos Thank you both for the feedback! I agree, the player is left too uninformed and it is really hard to figure out what I as the developer intended.

It has been an experiment for me and you guys are the first to test and give feedback on it, which I truly appreciate. So keep hitting me with aggressive and kind comments, because I really would like to revisit this game idea some time! :)

Fartenko says ...
Apr 22, 2016 @ 7:21pm

Very interesting idea! The audio and mood are perfect! I like it :D

avinashd says ...
Apr 22, 2016 @ 7:26pm

Really interesting game, but I think the sound was basically monodirectional, so I couldn't find my way even with headphones. But I really hope you'll polish the idea and flesh it out a little post-jam! I really dig the idea of a sound-only 3D game.

As a JS programmer, the game is really cool (I looked at the source)! I noticed you're using pos3d in howler.js to set the position and it didn't seem to work for me (even though I'm in Chrome). Maybe you could try going straight for StereoPannerNode (it's actually surprisingly simple) and *really* exaggerate the stereo to help out players. Just a suggestion, you obviously have more experience with this :)

remiv says ...
Apr 22, 2016 @ 7:45pm

Nice idea, but it is very difficalt, It seem that one can be realy realy lost into darkness, some more clue would be cool.

johnbrynte says ...
Apr 22, 2016 @ 9:51pm

Thank you very much! Wonderful that you can see some potential, despite the rather frustrating difficulty.

@avinashd Oh nice, thanks for the advice! I also experienced some inconsistencies in the panning, but didn't have time to explore the library or the Web Audio API as much as I would have wanted to. Got some ideas how to simplify the sound model thought.

Actually, for all the JS hackers out there, if you want to cheat you can turn on a graphic debug by running document.body.appendChild(canvas) in the console ;)

ChummyWinds says ...
Apr 22, 2016 @ 10:54pm

Wildly cool concept. One thing thats most difficult is you have no indication of how much you've turned past the line. So if I wanted to walk directly many lines must pass my screen? Got 1 light! but then circled for about 20 minutes and lost. Very very cool concept tho. Don't see where the hearing of shapes comes in tho.

Walnoot says ...
Apr 22, 2016 @ 10:57pm

Great game! Love the innovative idea and execution! Like the others I couldn't get more than one light, so some more sound hints could be good.

johnbrynte says ...
Apr 23, 2016 @ 7:45am

Wow, thanks for the appreciation!

@ChummyWinds A very good point, that I failed to convey. The idea is that each line represents a 90 degree turn, so two lines takes you back where you came. I'll add it to the description!

lumscum says ...
Apr 24, 2016 @ 4:23am

Wow, so atmospheric. This is a really simple and beautiful game! Like a few other people, I was only able to find the light once. I was really engaged with this game though!

Djapz30 says ...
Apr 24, 2016 @ 7:10am

Great Idea!

Incredibly challenging as well! I was lost at first, but after I grasped the basic idea. It was a lot easier to play.

Managed to get to the end with 1 Death (Darkness) =w=)b

johnbrynte says ...
Apr 24, 2016 @ 2:45pm

@Djapz30 I applaud you for you courage and patience. Good work!

MementoGames says ...
Apr 24, 2016 @ 7:57pm

Cool entry... the ambiance is amazing. Kinda hard to figure it out the path (only found 1 light).

Klaas says ...
Apr 24, 2016 @ 9:03pm

I managed to find one light ... but only by luck, I feel. I think the sound needs to be more directional. It seems to me that if you're standing very near a light, the volume from left and right seems the same no matter which direction I am facing. If the panning was more extreme, I think you could get rid of the direction bars altogether. Very cool! Nice work!

Odyssey says ...
Apr 24, 2016 @ 10:17pm

I liked the idea but I think it would be greatly improved by making sure that the sound source moves along with the player. That part got confusing but otherwise, great work!

Apr 25, 2016 @ 2:46am

wow! what an original and beautiful game... the footsteps are awesome, like from tarkowski's movie; however it's quite hard. sometimes the sounds, lower pitched, don't mean light, right? also the space to explore seems to be big and mostly empty? I hard to tell, despite headphones :) found 2 lights so far... anyway a strong 5 for mood, audio and innovation.

MatMortatti says ...
Apr 25, 2016 @ 3:46am

So... can I give 6 stars for the audio? :)

And that's even though I, too, find the need for more direction (hopefully by audio clues!). It can be a turn-down for not-so-voyeur players out there.

I will describe the experience I had:

Started, saw the stripes. Good, sense of direction. Then I started walking.
The sound of the steps were so rich that I just spent some time listening to them. I figured they would change and indicate where should I go, but them I gave up this tactic.
I felt that I was wandering aimlessly for some time, and time, and time, and time, and them...
BAM! Some gooood frequency grabbed my attention. I simply walked forward, and in a reeeaaally satisfying fashion, I saw the light.

I saw it twice. Then I went to write this comment :)

I would love to see you improving on this idea. Not only I feel it has potential, but I'm curious to see some deeper exploration of this mechanic, and how to avoid the obstacles that come within.

johnbrynte says ...
Apr 25, 2016 @ 10:34am

Such awesome feedback! Thank you all! :D

@Klaas Yes, well spotted, that is exactly the effect of standing close to a light. The way I built the world, which I've thanks to all of you testers found was maybe not the best way, is to randomly scatter "beacons" around a light source. Each beacon emits a sound within a set interval, high frequencies faster than the low frequencies. When you stand on or close to a beacon the sound will be panned in the middle, even if the light is in fact in another direction.

@theOnlyGoodDrcz Maybe I should take a look at his movies to get some inspiration :)

@MatMortatti So wonderful to hear about your experience, this is exactly the way I wanted the player to feel! And yes, there sure are some issues that needs to be addressed in order for it to reach out to more players. One thing I think would really make this a greater experience is to use head tracking. Imagine using an oculus only for the headtracking and making your environment completely dark! Thanks for sharing, I truly appreciate it! :)

Doubstract says ...
Apr 25, 2016 @ 12:26pm

Very inspirational. I want to like, no, I want to love this game, but it is way too frustrating, some kind of clue would be amazing. Anyway, I like your thinking, keep making games and surprise us next time ^_^

axoona says ...
Apr 25, 2016 @ 9:03pm

wow great game, I really enjoyed it, very interesting concept, it took a while though to understand what to do and to get all the 4 lights ;)
suprisingly for the forth I kept getting "darkness" even though I seemed to be getting closer to the sound

Naca says ...
Apr 29, 2016 @ 10:33pm

This was such a pleasure to play. I can see (hear, actually :D) that you put a lot of work into audio for this game, it feels sooo good in my ears :) I've heard about a similar game some time ago, but never played it. So this was my first audio-only experience in videogames and I really liked it! I hope we'll see more audio based mechanics in the near future, they're a fresh new field to experiment with.

PS: Found the Light 4/4! Second and fourth were very hard to find!

Skruffye says ...
May 8, 2016 @ 6:57pm

Okay, so I suck at this game, but that's fine. XD
The audio quality was fantastic. The footstep noises were as crisp as if I was making them with my own boots, so really good job on that front.
I felt like the directional audio didn't really work for me, but I'm willing to believe that that is probably more down to my ability than the game's quality. Even so, it might be worth making the directional sound more apparent for players like myself (or slowly increasing the sound's directionality over time (to a maximum, of course) to help players that are struggling with the level).
The concept is fantastic and really reminded me of a much more interesting version of Lost Woods from LoZ: Ocarina of Time.

Not entirely sure what this has to do with the theme, but apart from that, really great entry!

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