Game Programming

The following research includes anything related to game programming that doesn't involve Procedural Content Generation.

Audio Games (2005, 2007)

Audio images.

Timothy Roden, Ian Parberry, and David Ducrest, "Toward Mobile Entertainment: A Paradigm for Narrative-Based Audio Only Games", Science of Computer Programming , Volume 67, Issue 1, pp. 76-90, June 2007. A preliminary version of this paper appeared in Proceedings of the 2005 ACM SIGCHI International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology, Valencia, Spain, pp. 274-277, June 15-17, 2005. [pdf]


The widespread use of sophisticated mobile computing devices has set the stage for a renaissance in audio only entertainment. Traditional visual games are already used widely in cellular phones and similar devices. A significant limitation is the small display size. In contrast, audio only games on suitable mobile hardware need not degrade due to the smaller form factor. This makes audio only games an attractive alternative to visual games. We describe a framework for authoring interactive narrative-based audio only games set in 3D virtual environments. Despite the novelty in audio only gaming, our approach builds on a foundation of several years of research into audio only applications for sight impaired users, augmented reality systems and human-computer interaction studies. In comparison to attempts to provide a realistic user interface, we argue a simple interface enhances both immersion and entertainment value, serendipitously making audio only games practical for mobile computing. Novel features of our system include real-time gameplay and multiplayer support. We also describe our software architecture, the current implementation of which uses low-cost existing PC-based hardware and software. In addition, we describe our first game, Dragon's Roar.

Author's Comments

I was asked to give an invited talk on this in 2010. You can see a video of this talk that includes some audio clips from our proof-of-concept games.

Portals and Portholes (2004, 2005)

PVS images

Timothy Roden and Ian Parberry, "Portholes and Planes: Faster Dynamic Evaluation of Potentially Visible Sets", ACM Computers in Entertainment, Vol. 3, No. 2, April/June 2005. A preliminary version of this paper appeared in the Proceedings of the International Workshop in Game Design and Technology, Liverpool, England, Nov. 15-16, 2004. [pdf]


We describe a simple and efficient dynamic occlusion culling algorithm for computing potentially visible sets (PVS) in densely occluded virtual environments. Our method is an optimization of a widely used technique in which a 3D environment is divided into cells and portals. Our algorithm computes the PVS in approximately half the time of previous portal methods at the expense of producing a slightly relaxed PVS. In addition, our algorithm enables fast culling of objects within cells using inexpensive object space methods by using a lookup table to compute the diminished object space view frustum. The algorithm takes advantage of temporal coherence, is easy to implement, and is particularly well suited for applications that need to compute a PVS for use in non-rendering tasks such as AI.

Subhunt (1997)


Ian Parberry and William R. Pensyl, "Subhunt: A Submarine Action Game", Unpublished Manuscript, 1997. [pdf]


Subhunt is a 2.5D, sprite based, real-time, first-person, single-player submarine action game produced by faculty and students at the University of North Texas. Players find themselves piloting a submarine with the task of locating and destroying enemy shipping while managing critical resources and trying not to get killed. Visual and audio cues create the illusion of action that allows the player to become completely immersed in the Subhunt virtual world.

Author's Comment

We couldn't find any place to publish this in 1997. After all, it reads more like a manual than an academic paper. Pity.

Created April 20, 2010. Last updated November 11, 2022.