Zooming Along

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Jun 04 2010 by

To further increase the immersion experience, we’ve enabled panning sound. This means that when you are zoomed in, an adversary off to your left will sound from the left speakers. Pairing this up with the trailing rings really gives you a heads-up to where things are happening when the whole plane isn’t visible, and adds more variation to the music. It is also now possible (again) to select an id to focus on so that the camera doesn’t bounce between split flocks.

Other updates:

  • The re-designing of Explore Alone is taking us a bit of time, but in a pleasing, more interesting direction.
  • We’ve got a plan to make id selection more customizable and consistent across the game.
  • On the white board are sketches for a more cohesive level select screen.

These are some exciting (scary-roller-coaster exciting) times for us and the long uphills have given way to screaming downhills that make it all worthwhile. We’re almost to the top with Influence, and hanging on tight in the front car.


0 Comments | This entry was posted on Oct 04 2009 by

Sound feedback and the evocative, affective potential of music is well documented, so it was time to figure out just what we could do to make Influence as interesting aurally as it was mechanically. For kicks, we started with a simple popping noise whenever a boid was taken over. The resulting bubble-wrap bonanza was amusing and rewarding, but definitely not sophisticated or elegant like we were trying to veer towards visually. Time for something new.

My senior year I’d worked on a project called Universe that generated music on the fly based on stars the player collected. Since so much of Influence’s gameplay is dependent on algorithms, I wanted to try something similar, where taking over boids created a melody for the player one note at a time, and these notes could be looped to create an evolving track.

We used the pentatonic scale to make sure that even several overlapping tracks would be easy on the ears, and linked the timbre of the instrument to the color the player was using. This involved chopping the colors into discreet chunks, but since we were already running into issues with player color choice overlapping or being too perceptually similar (diving into LAB color coordinates = not fun), it worked out for the better. Sound bits were created in Reason with predominantly natural sounding instruments (natural algorithms, natural sounds).

The first few tries were fantastic, and though we tweaked some of the sounds, we maintained the core gist all the way through. David Milnes also stepped in to donate a few awesome sample sets to the effort.