HABITONE

(2019)

Habitone is a sonic-driven educational game that explores the concept of the environment 
as an instrument. It has three aims: to teach the player about the environment and human 
impact; to let the player create virtual and sonic environments that exist, and could not exist, 
in the real world; and to accustom the player to listening attentively. This game is aimed 
towards school-age children, but it can be explored and enjoyed by a player of any age. 
 
Habitone was made using Unreal Engine 4.21 and FMOD audio middleware. I began 
using FMOD as I became dissatisfied with the flexibility of UNREAL’s audio options, 
especially with regards to the specifications of this project. I needed all the music layers to 
remain in tempo, and some events only to happen once the music reached a certain beat, 
which can be achieved easily using FMOD. 


The game has six customisable areas on the map. The player chooses a terrain out of the 
following six biomes – woodland, rainforest, grassland, swamp, desert, and tundra – and this 
starts a drone. Each new adaptation to the environment creates an adaptation to the music. 
Spawning flora and fauna adds melody and drum layers, and choosing the temperature 
changes the filters applied. These choices are made purely sonically. The menus have no 
visual clue as to what will spawn when a choice is made, so the player can only listen to 
decide which layer they would like to add. 
Through this process, the player could create bizarre new ecosystems – for example, a 
desert full of huge rainforest trees populated by arctic wolves – which would never work in 
the real world. This sort of play is encouraged, as it lets children explore beyond the bounds 
of nature, and also requires focused listening skills. Sandbox play like this can be fun for a 
while but games progress by giving the player rewards for certain actions. So, if the layer of 
music spawns a plant or animal that matches the original terrain, the player is rewarded with 
information about that environment. 
At one point, a city spawns in the middle of the six customisable areas. The player must 
now listen out for the sounds of human impact in their environments and work out what they are.

PERFORMANCES

May 2019

UoM showcase, UK