by shiftBacktick
Documentation

Enter a world you can only hear

Its lush environments are teeming with synthesized sounds that evoke colorful and imaginative images. Exploration rewards you with mysteries to solve and contemplative places to revisit for meditation, studying, or sleep.

This is soundStrider—psychedelic exploration game, walking simulator, music generator, and relaxation tool.

System Requirements

soundStrider is an audio game best experienced with headphones.

Real-time synthesis is an extremely CPU-intensive process. soundStrider will attempt to run on any machine that meets its minimum requirements; however, players may experience stuttering or drop-outs when running below the recommended requirements.

Minimum System Requirements

CPU SSE2 capable (64-bit)
RAM 2 GB

Recommended System Requirements

CPU 3.5 GHz Quad-Core (64-bit)
RAM 4 GB

Browser Support

The HTML5 build of soundStrider is intended to be played in a recent version of a Chromium-based browser, including Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Opera. Browser extensions that alter page behavior are not recommended. Other browsers may suffice if they support modern JavaScript features and the current Web Audio API specification.

Performance Settings

soundStrider has been optimized for its recommended system requirements. Players experiencing performance issues are encouraged to make adjustments on the Preformance Settings screen. First try disabling reverb and then adjust the render distance if problems persist. Graphics can also be disabled for a minor performance benefit.

Controls

soundStrider supports a variety of input devices. Although remapping of controls is currently not available, alternate control schemes have been provided where appropriate.

Keyboard Controls

soundStrider’s keyboard controls support play with one or both hands:

Action Key 1 Key 2 Key 3
Forward W Up Arrow Numpad 8
Backward S Down Arrow Numpad 5
Strafe Left A Numpad 4
Strafe Right D Numpad 6
Turn Left Q Left Arrow Numpad 7
Turn Right E Right Arrow Numpad 9
Toggle Forward R Numpad 0
Confirm Enter Space Numpad Enter
Back / Pause Escape Backspace Delete

Mouse Controls

soundStrider can be controlled entirely with a mouse or in tandem with a keyboard for an immersive first-person experience:

Action Button
Forward Mouse 1 (Primary)
Backward Mouse 3 (Secondary)
Turning Mouse X-Axis
Toggle Forward Mouse 2 (Wheel)
Pause Game Mouse 4 (Back)

Gamepad Controls

soundStrider supports standard gamepads such as an Xbox One controller. Other controllers can be configured with a utility like x360ce or Xpadder:

Action Primary Secondary
Forward Any Stick D-Pad Up
Backward Any Stick D-Pad Down
Strafe Left Left Stick D-Pad Left
Strafe Right Left Stick D-Pad Right
Turn Left Right Stick Left Bumper
Turn Right Right Stick Right Bumper
Toggle Forward Y Press Any Stick
Confirm A
Back B
Pause Game Start Select

Touch Controls

soundStrider does not currently support touch beyond its menus. For best results on mobile devices, perhipherals are strongly recommended.

Forward Toggle

soundStrider's forward toggle provides a mechanism to constantly move forward without needing to hold the controls for prolonged periods. Enabling it does not steer the player and should be used in combination with strafing and turning controls.

Adventure Mode

soundStrider's primary mode of play provides a guided exploration experience. Using navigational cues, players complete quests to expand a network of breadcrumbs into unexplored areas.

First-time players should select Start Adventure to begin. Returning players can select Continue to resume their existing save, or select New Adventure to overwrite their save.

What follows is a detailed explanation of the adventuring mechanics. Visit the Audio Glossary screen to also hear examples of its cues. Skip ahead for a spoiler-free experience.

Tutorial

Every new adventure begins with a brief tutorial quest that introduces the basic mechanics and sounds to expect.

Immediately ahead is the first waypoint. The compass reacts when turning away from it. A notification sounds when stepping into the waypoint to indicate a change in objective. To complete the tutorial, navigate to the second waypoint to place the first breadcrumbs and hear the world come into focus.

Waypoints

Waypoints appear at specific places of interest. Their timbre changes with distance to help players reason with space. Approach waypoints to start quests and advance their objectives.

New quest waypoints will spawn in unexplored areas. Missed waypoints will respawn ahead when out of earshot.

Compass

The compass provides directional cues to help orient players toward their next quest objective. Importantly, it acts as a wrong-way indicator and is silent when facing the correct direction to prevent listener fatigue and allow players to appreciate the journey.

Please note that not all quest objectives utilize the compass. Some leverage other cues to promote experimentation and discovery.

Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs appear between previously visited locations to help players retrace their steps. Their resonance increases when facing them and following their path. Complete quests to connect the world with breadcrumb trails.

Autosaving

Progress is automatically saved once per minute, after completing quest objectives, and whenever the game is paused. This is indicated by a small icon on the screen.

Free Roam Mode

soundStrider also provides an open-ended exploration experience without navigational cues or quests. Select Free Roam to be ephemeral and explore at any pace.

To quickly audition new worlds in Free Roam, pause the game and select Randomize Seed from the menu for a new experience.

Bookmarks

soundStrider provides a convenient system for revisiting favorite locations and sharing them with other players. This functionality can be accessed by navigating to the Bookmarks screen.

Saving Bookmarks

Bookmarks can be saved while in-game by selecting Save Bookmark. They can have any name and store the current seed and position.

Loading Bookmarks

Bookmarks can be loaded from the Load Bookmark screen by selecting their corresponding Play button. They are always loaded in Free Roam mode and do not affect the current Adventure mode save.

Managing Bookmarks

The Load Bookmark screen provides additional options for managing bookmarks. Toggling the Star button marks a bookmark as a favorite and prioritizes it to the top of the list. Selecting the More button provides options for renaming, exporting, or deleting that bookmark.

Sharing Bookmarks

Each bookmark has a unique code that can be shared with and imported by other players. Select Copy to Clipboard while in-game or editing a bookmark to copy its code. Codes can be imported by selecting Import Bookmark. soundStrider will attempt to read codes from the clipboard and automatically fill the fields on this screen.

Seeds

The worlds of soundStrider are procedurally generated from a seed value. Each seed provides a unique arrangement of sounds to experience. World generation is deterministic, therefore seeds can be reused or shared across devices for a consistent experience.

Players are prompted for a seed when starting a new experience. Seeds can be any string, or the game can generate one from a dictionary of words by selecting the Randomize button. soundStrider will attempt to parse bookmark codes when they are used as seeds.

Virtual Instrument

In soundStrider players are equipped with a virtual instrument. It can also be used standalone from the Instrument screen. Multiple input methods are available for playing along with its worlds:

MIDI Support

The virtual instrument is best experienced with a MIDI input device such as a keyboard with pitch and modulation wheels and a sustain pedal. Played notes will be transposed such that the current scale can be played on all white keys.

Keyboard Controls

The keyboard controls are laid out like two miniature pianos. The upper octave of white keys are between T and ] with the lower octave falling between C and /. The positions of the black keys adapt to whether the current scale is major or minor:

Major Scale Layout

  • T
  • 6
  • Y
  • 7
  • U
  • I
  • 9
  • O
  • 0
  • P
  • -
  • [
  • ]
  • C
  • F
  • V
  • G
  • B
  • N
  • J
  • M
  • K
  • ,
  • L
  • .
  • /

Minor Scale Layout

  • T
  • 6
  • Y
  • U
  • 8
  • I
  • 9
  • O
  • P
  • -
  • [
  • =
  • ]
  • C
  • F
  • V
  • B
  • H
  • N
  • J
  • M
  • ,
  • L
  • .
  • ;
  • /

Gamepad Controls

The gamepad controls provide a unique tactile experience. Toggling on the instrument yields a monophonic synth that can be manipulated with both analog sticks. Beware that they no longer control movement while the instrument is active:

Action Button
Toggle Instrument X
Set Note Left Stick Angle
Set Velocity Left Stick Distance
Pitch Bend Right Stick Angle
Modulation Right Stick Distance

Unlockable Presets

The virtual instrument has several unlockable presets that change its sounds. They spawn regularly in either game mode and will randomize with each respawn. Picking them up will add them to the preset selector on the Instrument screen.

The unlock rate correlates to the total distance traveled and increases slightly with each unlock. Keep exploring to unlock them all!

Accessibility

soundStrider is developed in accordance with WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) 2.1 at Level AA conformance. Its menus are fully operable with a keyboard and screen readers such as NVDA.

Graphical Description

soundStrider provides a graphical visualization of its sounds in the form of a spectrogram. Its horizontal bars are similar to window blinds that change colors in response to sounds' intensities. Their warm color scheme cycles between night (black/pink/yellow) and day (pink/yellow/white) every half hour. They oscillate in height every few seconds like breathing ocean waves. Every sound traces a pattern. It's abstract and calming.

Motion Sickness

soundStrider respects users' prefers-reduced-motion setting to prevent motion sickness. Please configure the accessibility settings according to your specific operating system to utilize this feature.

Photosensitivity Warning

soundStrider is designed to conform to WCAG 2.1 SC 2.3.1 (Three Flashes or Below Threshold). Unfortunately, due to its procedural world generation, it’s not possible to test every scenario. Players with photosensitivity are encouraged to take precaution before playing.

The Visualizer Settings screen provides a variety of options, including reducing the sensitivity or contrast of the visualizer. Graphics can also be disabled from the Performance Settings screen.

Demo Limitations

The free demo is a vertical slice of the soundStrider experience.

Explore the beach, storms, pure oscillators, and more. Start an adventure, go on expeditions, and save bookmarks. The full version includes sixteen unique environments, additional quests, and secrets to discover.

Beware that progress and bookmarks saved in the demo are not compatible with the full version.

Support

Please direct all support requests through the platform from which soundStrider was purchased:

Credits

The typeface Cogtan Shadow is a trademark of Leandro Ribeiro Machado. Thanks to all playtesters and early access players for their feedback on soundStrider and this document.

Thanks for playing!