Author Archives: jialilabyrinth - Page 4

Virtual Drum utilizing the webcam

Using computer vision and motion detection to create a visual drum. Cool stuff>

osu! – Tribute game to Ouendan and EBA

osu! is a tribute game to Osu! Tadake! Ouendan! and Elite Beat Agents from the NDS. It’s playable on PC and takes over the original game’s game mechanic. Further yet, players can make their own customized stage with their own choice of song.

osu! Homepage

Unlike in the original game, in osu! the background visuals can either be a still image or a pre-rendered video. Indication of the palyer’s performance,  failure, and fever/combo becomes the responsiblity of the gauge UI.

LBP Machinima – Guitar Hero Parady

I was looking around for Machinima that is done under Rockband or Guitar Hero. I ended up coming across this thing:

Which reminds me, Little Big Planet offers a set of character animations which can be evoked with different controller commands. Not sure how I’d use that to make an music video, though. Having the music playing on the side by the TV perhaps?


An animation tool developed by MIT, in which users can create interactive games and animation in. Projects can be uploaded and shared. Appearantly a lot of youngsters enjoyed using this.

Scratch Homepage

There’s other animating tools online similar to Scratch, but I find this to be really scripting/programming-oriented as well. Just take a look at the “Control” and “Sensing” tabs in the interface; those are practically programming elements visualized. – Princess

Here’s a game that functions the same way as music videos, namely, to promote a song.

Retro game graphics are use, references to classical 2D fighting games and Dance Dance Revolution are used.

Idea Bash – 2009/10/05

After doing some reading on fandom creation, I came to realize that fan creation is anchored on how the fans are both consumers and creators. Many activities in the fandom has something to do with exploring and expressing the self, some of which can be rather private and less likely to be shared willingly by the creator. Some education theorist argued that youth involved in fan creation can in fact have an accute understanding on design concepts, artistic techniques, and collaborating with other artists.

There are also some essays written for fan videos, including Anime Music Videos (AMVs). There are two key points that draws my attention.

  1. Copyright is always an issue within the fandom community. However, as long as the fan creators don’t gain profit from their work or detriment the commercial distributor’s business, distributors, for the majority of the time, won’t press charges for these fan creation. Given how Anime started off as a cult product in the US, such fan work even serves as free advertisement.
  2. For AMV, what happens a lot is the original clips from the original show becomes “decontextualized”, where the video clips are given new  meanings, and are compiled to create a narrative that is either different from the original or has different emphasis.

Given these, and the fact that I like music rhythm games, I decided to put less emphasis on fandom creation, but keep the underlying idea of disembling and recontructing context. Meanwhile, Paul Robertson’s work also invited my thoughts in blurring the line between animation and game machinima.

So here’s the deal:

This thesis is about a music rhythm game which plays with the idea of mash-up, remixing, and using game as a form of expression and performance. Two elements will be used for that purpose: the sound/audio elements, and the character animation. For the gameplay, the game consists of Mini-games where rhythms functions to serve different purposes. These mini-games will also host some of the elementary audio and performance elements which can later be used for remixing.

The stage setup follows how Rhythm Heaven sets up its stages: for each stage (other than the Remix stages), player plays the game with one or two input methods, which is each associated with a different character actions. For example, in a stage where the player plays a rallying fanclub member in a concert, a tap will be a clap, and flicking after that will be jumping up. Parappa the Rapper has something similar when the player gets to play in free-style mode. Different buttons are associated with different word phrases and actions.

So there are two parts in this game: The games of rhythm puzzles, and the remixing of the sound and performances from these stages.

Each stage should utilize one or two simple input mechanisms, each evoking different animation or character performance. The player has to play a given rhythm pattern  well enough to clear the stage. After that, the performance in this stage, which includes the sound and character animation, will be available in the remix mode.

Each stage will have its own narrative. There will also be “remix” stage where elements of more than one stage will coming into play. In essence, the stage layout is similar with Divine Beats, except now I’m not constricting the narrative and gameplay interactions to drums and Chinese culture anymore.


Since part of the impetus behind this game is remixing game elements as a form of creative expression, audiences for this game can belong to one or both of the following: players interested in playing a music rhythm game, and/or players who are interested in creating machinima with games.


Given the internet is where most  machinima and fan creators distribute their work, this game should either be playable online, or be downloadable online as a playable executable on personal computer.


I’m tempted to experiment with the Wii controllers (Wiimote, Nunchuk, etc) for the wide possibilities of interactions. However, since not all gamers online might have such, I will have to make the game playable by mouse, keyboard, or a joystick game controller for the least.

Thus, the core mechanic for the gameplay will involve one or more of the following actions which the player has to do according to rhythm:

  • Pressing/Holding down a button
  • Moving the joystick
  • Clicking/Dragging with the Mouse
  • Pressing/Holding down a key on the keyboard


Examples and Ideas for the stages include:

1. Boat Race Marathon

The aim of this stage is to have players listen to a rhythm and beat along with it in harmonic sync.

The player is part of a boat/kayak crew who helps pacing the crew’s paddling by drumming. The faster the drumming, the faster the paddling, and thus the faster the boat goes. Of course, the crew’s stamina dimishes as they paddle.

During the gameplay, the boat travels along a river with varying current speeds. For the race, they have to travel towards the river’s source, meaning they are traveling against the river’s current as well. While some parts of the river is tranquil and easy to travel upon, there are also sections of the river that are faster; in these areas, the crew have to paddle faster to sustain moving speed. The player can choose to have the crew paddle fast in areas where the current is slow, but this might also drain the crew’s energy before they reach the fast-flowing area.

For the aim of the stage, the river’s speed current at different sections should be determined/layout according to the background music.

2. Basket Ball Drill

As a new member of the basket ball club, one of your training is on dribbling. As the captain dribbles by a rhythm, you are to repeat that rhythm as well.

3. Whistle Drill

The context could either be the player being 1) a marching band/cheer team member who ques the other members performance with different whistling patterns, or 2) a canine trainer who gives commands to his dog using different whistling patterns.

Either way, the idea here is about rhythm patterns.

4. Maracas Drill

This stage will emphasize on beating a rhythm in corrdance to left and right. This is similar to practicing sticking for drumming, where the same drum pattern have to be played out by different sticks – left or right.

Impetus – free write

My thesis is a music rhythm game which plays with the idea of mash-up, remixing, and game as a medium of expression and performance. The game consists of two sides: the game stages of music/rhythm puzzles, and the remix studio. The stages are mini-games that serves as experimental grounds for the types of input that can be connected to character performance or environmental animations. Each stage should be mini-games that appeal to causual gamer and take less than 3 minutes to complete. Stages that are cleared will have its sound and animation elements available in the remix studio. In the remix studio, users can remix a song with the sound and animation from cleared stages.

I would like to start by making this game that utilizes the Wii controllers on a PC.

That took a long time. Time to enter the fast lane.

I worked as a computer software programmer for nearly 3 years. I deal mostly with the computer graphics aspects. I also have worked for an online company for awhile, during which time I am also introduced to a lot of board games.

When I’m not working, I doodle. A lot of them are fan art, though sometimes original characters appears as well. I post them online, and I look for other fanarts that I like as well. I go to a lot of the doujinshi conventions in Taiwan, and even met others at work who are also into this sort of activities. Recently, I’m also starting to pay attention to fan vids, especially those handdrawn by the creators themselves. Even though the techniques can be really rustic, the works of an amateur are still interesting for me to observe what works in animation and what doesn’t.

I have also been a gamer for a long time. Up until recently, I mostly play role playing games (particularly JRPG) and simulation games (The Sims, as one example). Recently, I’m also got into music rhythm games such as Ouendan and Taiko no Tatsujin. After that, I started looking into Rockband, Guitar Hero, and Rhythm Heaven, as well as Flash games of the rhythm genre.

I wanted to do something related to fandom at first, but some research papers also informed me that fandom creation can sometimes be a private matter and relies heavily on user content. An interesting idea that keeps on popping up in a lot of fandom studies, however, is the idea of decontextualizing snippets of the original work into something new.

I came to Parsons because the work of being an in-house software engineer is starting to get dreary with no relevant challenges for me as a programmer, not to mention I also have other non-programming projects I wanted to do, too. Hopefully it will get me a job where I don’t have to feel ashamed or guilty for being an Otaku.


A music game for iPHone from Harmonix, which resonance a lot with Guitar Hero and Frequency. Users can select their own songs on their iPhone and play them as stages. Like Harmonix’s other music games, Phase‘s gameplay involves a 3D road with discs floating towards the screen, all of which supposedly are positioned according to the song’s rhythm. As the song is divided into segments, users complete each segment by sucessfully capturing the discs for that segment.

Phase review on iLounge

While the fact that Phase can use songs in your iTune to create levels may give it an edge over most of its preceeding music games, reviews pointed out that the levels created don’t always correspond to the music’s rhythm, making the player relying more on visual ques than the audio ques at times.

Pirate Baby’s Cabana Battle Street Fight

This looks like machinima, but appearantly isn’t.  Paul Robertson has blurred the distinction between game and animation as mediums of expressions.

Most of the so-called cute stuff becomes gruesome and disturbing, and there is a hint of anti-cooperate in it as well. Otherwise, a lot of elements typically found in fighting games can be found here as well. The two heros and the girl shares a bond often found in other shonen mangas, and the majority of the animation could very well be a gameplay for any side-scrolling, beat-you-up fighting game. (I also couldn’t help notice how the two heros came out intact after all the bloodiness they went through.)

There are also lots of references to action stars and heroes, especially when one of the heroes launches his special attack. Can’t say I recognize all of them :b

Parappa the Rapper

A music rhythm game on PSP and Playstation features the characters designed by Rodney A. Greenblat. It’s played by pressing the face buttons by the music score. The gameplay usually goes by having the player repeat a given rhythm pattern, though sessions of free-improvise may also appear.

Parappa the Rapper Official Website

A stage gameplay

What I find intriguing is that while there is a score that needs to be played correctly, players can also improvise and play out their own unique rhythm.

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