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Perceptible sound of breathing.


Character Soundprint , Awareness , Emotional Script , Entrainment .
Relates to:
Grunts .
Makes use of:
Foley .


Breath is one possible component of the Character Soundprint that can message particular circumstances, such as fatigue, stress, and pain. Uneasy breath is often complemented by Grunts synchronized with (and possibly replacing) exhalation.

Unlike Footsteps (arguably the most prevalent component of Character Soundprint), Breath is not constantly heard. It is "triggered" by meaningful associations such as hard movement, injury, and emotional situations. This exceptional appearance makes it more noticeable and effective in signalling such associations.


Heavy Rain: This Cutscene uses Breath to augment the perception of distress.
Mirror's Edge: In this game Breath is highly naturalist and effective in terms of the Emotional Script. All the complexity of timings and intensities of breath holding, sonorous exhalations and Grunts, characterize very efficiently the movements and support an Entrainment that allows the game to be felt in first-person.
The Path: A case of usage of the sound of Breath not exactly to represent the PC's actual breathing but to characterize a context in terms of the Emotional Script.
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Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory: Breath complements the Character Soundprint in a context when it makes sense.
Penumbra: Overture:
Half-Life 2: In this case the semantics is reversed. We hear Freeman trying to hold his Breath, not to get drown, which is a clear indicator of Imminent Death that is also very effective in terms of the Emotional Script.
Papa Sangre: Breath helps to characterize the pace (running, instead of walking) and provides one more element to give existence to a character who the player never sees.
Limbo: Breath (together with Footsteps) puts the focus on the character and messages his effort.
pOnd: Breath as the main (actually the sole) element of gameplay.
Halo: Reach: The gameplay does not allow long runs. This Breath sound helps to accept that is because it is hard for the character to do it.
Silent Hill: The uneasy Breath, after a run, adds to the already distressful Acoustic Ecology.
Mini Ninjas: Amongst the several selectable PC, Futo is the only one whose breath is perceptible (when running). This singularity in the Character Soundprint makes sense considering is physical characteristics.
Deadly Premonition:
Dead to Rights: