Author Archives: jialilabyrinth - Page 2

Concept Statement as of Feb. 2010

My thesis is a music rhythm game, centered on the adventure of a drummer in a fictional Oriental world. A common aspect of music games is how the game informs the users the timing for when they have to perform a certain action. In this game, I want to explore how beatmap data of such can be implemented and incorporated into the theatrical aspects of the game (such as the character animation, narrative, and the music).

My motivation for this thesis stems from the different ways various music games handles theatrical elements. When beatmap data are represented, either as visuals or audio, they may either combine with one of these theatrical elements or compete for attention against them. For this game, I attempt for the first approach, which leads to several design questions, including:

  • What are some of the conventional and unconventional ways beatmap data have been represented in music games?
  • How much beatmap data can be represented yet still allow the users to pay attention to the theatrical elements of the game?
  • If beatmap data are to be merge with the theatrical elements of the game, how can it still present information clearly to the user?

The prototype I’m currently working on, tentatively named Divine Beats – Night in the Monastery, is inspired by the NDS game Rhythm Heaven and the Playstation franchise PaRappa the Rapper. It builds upon a call-and-response game mechanic, where the player has to repeat a previously performed rhythm. In this game, the drummer works with a Taoist Monk to evict malicious spirits from their possessed victims, whom stream in based on the rhythm of the background music. Having the enemies representing the beatmap data introduces challenges covered by the mentioned design questions.

The intended audience for this thesis mainly focuses on gamers who may have varying exposure to music games. The narrative context and music choice may also appeal to people familiar to Asian pop culture.

Why DJ Hero Can’t Save Music Games

An article about DJ Hero compared to Guitar Hero and Rockband. The articles, as well as many of the comments on it, provides some interesting insight as to what makes one want to pick up a music game.

Opinion: Why DJ Hero Can’t Save Music Games
by Leigh Alexander

Kokoromi One-Button Game Contest

Marking this on my calender. The One-Button Game contest sponsored by Gamma.

So now I have to get a prototype done by Jan. 30. The joy~

We have to use an Xbox controller for this, though. Hope it’s as easy to hook up as the Universal USB controller.

Some references on using the Xbox Controllers on PC:

Wii Music

I’ve rented this and toyed around with it for about half an hour. My thoughts are somewhat similar with this review here:

Wii Music game review on Gamespot

It’s a good reference on how the Wiimote can imitate different instruments. I’m just not sure how much of a “game” is there; the game stages are not clear with its objective and challenges. The improv part is probably funner.

Cherry Chase – ver. 07

I’ve decided that to shift gears a bit and pick a temporary song that will at least help me demonstrate what I have in mind. I ended up picking an altered version of Ai Otsuka’s “Sakurabon”.

And with that, I scratched up some character designs and a storyboard for the narrative context.

Character Designs

The girl on top is Cherri. She looks like a sweet girl for the majority of the time, but can get scary when ticked.
The guy below is Chuck. To some his character up, he is a childish comic relief who enjoys annoying Cherri.

So the narrative of the story basically surrounds the chase between Cherri and Chuck. Very bare narrative, but has a lot of potential to play around with.

The game appears to be like Vib Ribbon, where the player has to avoid obstacles, which are arranged based on the background music. The call-and-response mechanism in the basketball drill stage still applies; while Chuck jumps in a certain pattern to avoid obstacles, Cherri has to repeat the jump pattern in order to avoid the same obstacles.

The Game

It’s a really ditry prototype where the character animations are yet done.
Press [Space] to start the game and jump.
[swfobj src=”” align=”center”]

I actually have an alternative idea where the player plays as Chuck instead of Cherri.

Basketball Drill – ver. 1

We did a playtest session last Wendesday, and here are the 3 different prototypes I presented then.

You might want to turn on the volume to hear the sound effects.

Prototype 1
[swfobj src=”” alt=”Basket Ball Drill – played with keyboard” align=”center”]

Prototype 2
Same as Prototype 1, with variation on the rhythm.
[swfobj src=”” align=”center”]

Prototype 3
Played with mouse instead of keyboard
[swfobj src=”” align=”center”]

I tested these with 4 people during the playtest session, and 2 more outside of school.

Summing up of feedback I’ve got:

  • A tutorial mode – or simply clearer instructions – will help a lot, as many testers at first didn’t grasp the input action and the goal of the game.
  • While the sound and character animation are in-sync, the sound is lagging in relations with the key/mouse input. The delay appears to be worse with the mouse.
  • The two characters are too similar and needs distinction.
  • Some players rely on the audio to play, while others rely on the metronome graphics.
  • Most players prefer the keyboard over the mouse.

The lagging between the input and the audio will obviously be an ongoing techical issue I have to deal with. Also, I might need to consider

Divine Beats – Stage 1

Of the first stage of Divine Beats, where you play the drummer who’s to drive away the boar.

Press [H] to hit the drum. The gauge on the right will determine if you are pushing the beast away or withdrawing from it.

[swfobj src=”” align=”center”]

This is actually a strip-down version for the web. The original version is played with a drum controller with a microphone embedded.

Music Game and Action Game Fusion Example

Two music games that plays like action games, where music is used as a cue for what’s coming up.

Music in Motion

Chaotic Escape

Music Catch

It seems like another music game where the stage is created from a chosen music. Players have to use the mouse cursor to catch floating shapes, which seems to behave depending on the music played. A downloabable version allows users to specify their own music as well.

Music Catch

The objective is to collect as many points as possible. Yellow ones will increase your score while red ones will hurt you. Purple once will help you suck in all the scoring shapes. I personally enjoy watching the screen while having the music quoing possible waves of assaults.

MGMT’s “Electric Feel”

Other than the official music video, MGMT has another Electric Feel interactive video, where different video clips can be mixed and composited.

The video is downloadable here.

Page 2 of 512345