Last edited 23jul99 Matthew Woodruff,

Cricket: The Audible Experience

Cricket is a virtual-reality amusement for the CAVE. The player stands in the middle of a cylindrical chamber. Before him hangs a glossy red sphere. The entertainment lies in hitting the ball with a bat, so that it bounds about the room. The name Cricket derives from the rectangular shape of the bat, rather than from any actual similarity of gameplay; in fact, it bears a stronger resemblance to racketball.

Before the sonification project began, Cricket made very rudimentary sounds: whenever a ball collided with something, it squeaked. The goal of sonification in this case is to convey all information about the game state through auditory cues.

At present, there are cues linked to player position and ball collisions. As the player navigates through the chamber, he hears a polyphonic composition, Charles Huang's "Tetraphony." The instrumentation changes depending on the player's position; each of the four instruments can be heard on only one side of an invisible line. These four lines are arranged in the manner of a tic-tac-toe board, each parallel to one other and perpendicular to two. The overlap parameter changes the distance between the lines.

Though the squeaks linked to ball contact are still present, they have been improved. Using the positional sound feature offered by VSS, Cricket now indicates the location of the ball whenever it hits a surface. In the CAVE, this means that the same sound is sent with different amplitude to each of the eight speakers, so that one hears it as if it were coming from the ball itself.

An alternate version of cricket, notet does not use the tetraphony. Instead, a periodic beep is produced. Its frequency corresponds to the distance from the ball. Outside the cage, the quality of the sound changes, indicating that the boundary has been crossed.

Vital information.

About the author:

Matthew Woodruff is a junior in Computer Engineering at UIUC. For more details, see