Help the Mice design their next hit song, and enhance your creativity and listening skills with sonic treasure hunts and audio puzzles.
3 DEAF MICE
Open your ears, open your mind.
The only music puzzle game (with mice!)
"Learn to listen! I can't wait to play this!" -- Karen Collins, author of "Game Sound" and "Playing with Sound", Chair of Interactive Audio at University of Waterloo
"First to seamlessly combine gaming, community, pure entertainment and a powerful education tool." -- Neil Hillman, Sound Designer and PhD Researcher, "Emotion in Sound Design", The University of York.
"Very accessible and intuitive.” - Kelleigh Welch, Kickstarting a Sound Design Video Game, Pro Sound News
“David Sonnenschein is unquestionably one of the best at devising fun ways to dive deep into sound design technique. I'm anxious to try 3 Deaf Mice myself!” -- Randy Thom, Sound Designer, 2 Academy Awards, 14 nominations
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These rockin’ rodents blasted their ears with too much loud music, and now they need your help. Join them on this sonic treasure hunt to solve audio brainteasers and play with digital sound transformations. Then uncover the vocal, instrumental and sound FX tracks for their hit song “Cheatin’ the Trap”. Successful game play rewards you with the power of remixing the song, and leads toward community participation in contests, music videos and the opportunity to help develop the next 3 Deaf Mice music game. For PC and Mac, with iOS, Android and OUYA in our stretch goals. Discover the source, shape and meaning in the world of sounds!
3 Deaf Mice is based on my book “Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice and Sound Effects in Cinema”, which is #1 on Amazon and the definitive international resource on sound design for film. As founder of Sound Design for Pros, I've produced lots of great sounds, interviews and articles, and offer a 12-hour webinar series as part of the Kickstarter rewards. My experiences as audio consultant for EA's "Mass Effect 3", musician, filmmaker and neuroscientist, combine to bring this incredible sensory challenge and unique game play to everyone.
Gamers and Music Lovers - You’ll experience sound in new ways on this vibrational journey with cool characters, story, goals, discovery, rewards, self-expression and community. This will be a fun and challenging exploration of your sonic world and a chance to communicate in unusual creative forms. It’s unique and mind-expanding!
Sound Designers, Musicians and Composers - This playful approach will provide an effective and engaging way to discover how sound and music works on many levels. People learn faster and better through interactive video games than through any linear media, so 3 Deaf Mice promises to expand the skill set and creative inspiration for students and pros.
Parents and Educators - This game empowers players 12 and up to listen actively and communicate effectively in everyday life. It helps children master higher quality interaction in New Media, supports STEM subjects and Core State Standards, and increases academic and mindfulness skills by making learning. The cautionary tale and humorous punning of the 3 Deaf Mice implicitly support hearing health.
Transforming the invisible world of sound into the visible, the 3 Deaf Mice bring fascinating powers to the player in this ear-opening game, helping answer the following questions:
How can you perceive sound in new ways to
understand and create your environment?
What potent sonic building blocks can support your communication and music composition skills?
How can developing your listening abilities improve your social and physical health?
What makes sound and song so fun and empowering?
3 Deaf Mice game develops:
- Sensory awareness and listening skills
- Attention, concentration and mindfulness
- Understanding of physical principles of vibration and materials
- Support for STEM curriculum (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math)
THE MICE AND THEIR INSPIRATIONS
This really is a first-of-its-kind game, but everyone likes to have some references. So think Myst (puzzle solving) meets Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego (detective treasure hunting) meets Bjork's Biophilia (musical explorations). This version of 3 Deaf Mice will live in a fun, 2D graphics environment that will emphasize sound, drawing the player's attention toward solving the audio challenges of the game.
As you dive into the 3 Deaf Mice world of immersive sonic experiences, you’ll find cool tools for exploring the multi-dimensions of voice, sound and music. Discover their story while playing with ear training, acoustics, music theory, film sound design and storytelling. Here's an overview of the game structure:
Song Verses / Levels - There are 10 Verses to the song “Cheatin’ the Trap”, which tell the story of the mice from their days in wild fields and psych labs, into the urban landscape forming their band and finally hitting the big time in a concert stadium. Each game Level corresponds to one of the 10 Verses, taking the player into the Mice’s environment and sonic landscape.
Sound Masks / Core Sounds – In each Verse/Level, there are 5 sound “Masks” that the player needs to penetrate. With each Mask, the player must identify the correct sound Sources of the sonic landscape and the specific sound Shape (pitch, timbre, reverb, envelope, etc.). Once the first sound is correctly identified, it fades out, revealing the next underlying sound environment. The player once again identifies the sound Source and Shape, which fades out, and so on through all the sound Masks, until the 5th innermost Core Sound is revealed. Each Verse/Level will progressively increase in difficulty, so the player can learn how to identify the sound qualities more accurately.
Digital Sound Transformation / Phoneme Creation - Once each of the Core Sounds is discovered, they are ready for digital sound processing (DSP) which employs combos of clipping, looping, pitch shift, EQ, chorus and other DSP techniques. Each Core Sound is transformed into a Phoneme (a tiny chunk of the lyrics of “Cheatin’ the Trap”), while visually illustrating the transformation step-by-step to demonstrate how this happens. To activate each DSP transformation, the Player must first solve the Tidbit Quiz.
Tidbit Quiz - The 3 Deaf Mice challenge the player with quirky questions on the physics, history, biology or psychology of sound, leading toward fascinating discoveries with links to further investigation. Solving the Tidbit Quiz will earn the player a point, leading toward a point total and designation as band member Groupie, Gofer, Back-up, Rhythm, Lead or Star.
Phoneme Puzzle / Tracks Unlock - Once the 10 Core Sounds have been transformed into their Phonemes, they can begin to be sequenced into the proper order to create a portion of the song lyrics. Each time two or more Phonemes are placed together correctly, they “light up”, activating one of 10 Tracks of the song (3 vocals, 3 instrumentals, 4 sound effects) and adding one more of the 10 Verses.
Full Song / Open Remix – After unlocking all the Tracks and Verses, the player can move all 100 of the individual sound components into any order and combination, creating their own song and lyrics remixes. A future version of the game will allow the player to upload their own Tracks and Verses to make an open source music game and song.
CONTESTS AND COMMUNITY
3 Deaf Mice is more than a game -- it's a community experience. When the player scores points in the game, they'll be eligible to participate in contests that the community votes on as their favorites for creativity, technical rendition and most outrageously funny. Prizes include participating in the development of new 3 Deaf Mice games and sponsored goodies.
Contest areas, part of our stretch goals, include:
- Music remix, make your own song version
- Music Video of the song using graphic assets from the game
- Drawings of the 3 Deaf Mice in thought-provoking or comedic poses
- Sound Design creation to accompany the winning drawings
BUDGET AND GAME DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
The funding goal in the Kickstarter campaign covers the minimal costs of programming, graphic arts, sound design and music to complete the fun, playable game that's being developed. But truthfully, I'm not getting any salary with this minimum goal, and I’ll be working a LOT of time on this. If I exceed the goals, I’ll get paid to work, and will also aim for our stretch goals to bring more fun and empowerment to more people, including:
- Android and OUYA versions of the game
- iOS version of the game
- Eek-book, containing all the Sound Tidbits (embedded in the game play).
- More character artwork
- Album of the 3 Deaf Mice songs (6 already written)
- Community and contest organization
- More interactivity and variety of sounds
3 Deaf Mice is being developed in Protools, F-mod and the Unity game engine, so that it can be easily adapted for different platforms (PC, Mac, iOS, Android, OUYA). For the minimum Kickstarter budget, we are first developing for PC and Mac, while iOS, Android and OUYA will be the part of the stretch goals. We aim to release the game by December 2013.
BOARD OF ADVISORS
Chanel Summers - Adjunct Professor, University of Southern California's Interactive Media Division in the School of Cinematic Arts; game designer and producer at Mindscape, Velocity, Mattel Interactive and Microsoft, as their first Audio Technical Evangelist, launching technologies such as DirectMusic; designed and promoted audio capabilities of Xbox and the industry's first support team for content creators.
Joe Wise - Director, Center for Effective Learning, New Roads School; coordinating research, training and development of educational resources funded by the National Science Foundation and NASA; developer of The Learning Tool software, effecting paradigm shifts in the way students, teachers and parents think about "learning".
Christopher Harz - Marketing & Technology Development Executive, VirtualAgility, Inc.; specializing in communications and IT, New Internet (IPv6) applications, streaming video and mobile operations, 3D animation and virtual worlds, online training and collaborative learning, videogames and Serious Games (for education).
Andy Farnell - Author of "Designing Sound", pioneer in the field of procedural audio, computer scientist, sound designer, visiting professor at several European Universities and consultant to game and audio technology companies.
Karen Collins - Author of "Game Sound: An Introduction to the History, Theory, and Practice of Video Game Music and Sound Design" and "Playing with Sound: A Theory of Interacting with Sound and Music in Games", Chair of Interactive Audio at the Canadian Centre of Arts and TEchnology, University of Waterloo, and active participant in the gaming industry.
THE MICE AND I COUNT ON YOU TO MAKE THIS PROJECT POSSIBLE -- THANKS FOR YOUR PLEDGES!
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
After researching the game and app markets, I discovered that 3 Deaf Mice is going to be the first of its kind, combining game play with story, listening and music. With little comparison for this genre of audio music puzzle game, I will do extensive tests with focus groups to make sure it is as fun as possible and able to reach the final gaming goals with stimulating challenges, while providing accessible and useful skill development. I’m gathering a supportive community of gamers, sound experts, music educators and kids, that will help evaluate and develop a successful game. The tests that I’ve already conducted about concept, story, graphics and goals (including several years of real-time classroom exercises in my sound design courses), show that I’m on the right track.
Completion dates are always tricky with game development, so I have given a good margin of several months beyond the estimated time needed. I’m planning a tight budget to have good chance of achieving minimum funding goals, while making sure that I can deliver a working game with that budget. Projects can go over budget, so I’m also adding a 10% contingency to cover the unexpected.
Is there an expiration date on the rewards for the Skype consultation and the SDFP webinar series recordings?
The Skype consultation can be scheduled anytime with me after Kickstarter is fully funded (May 20, 2013) until July 1, 2014. Same dates for access to the Sound Design for Pros webinar series, which will be streamed online with a pass code.
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