A RHYTHM GAME

A video game that’s projected onto video game controllers !>1… The game introduces a “call and response mechanic” so that special phrases (if completed with accuracy) are “volleyed” to one’s opponent … if of course I had completed my second set of drums.

It definitely seemed as if Eddo was wary of me sticking too closely to a traditional rhythm game “template” and I could certainly appreciate that. I think it’s really important to be conscious of how the output of the gaming industry might homogenize our thought processes and sometimes stunt our creativity in coming up with new play mechanics … that’s definitely something that’s stuck with me throughout discussion in this class and influenced me as a designer.

… Still, I think the rhythm genre has a lot of untapped potential … and its by no standards a “new” thing, here’s what I tried to add:

Overhead projection - Tried to acknowledge the player’s input in a really immersive way … Digitally projected notes pass over a drum and “explode” when you hit them … thought it would be cool to blend a physical and digital interface as such.

Call-and-response echo mechanic - The game introduces a “call and response mechanic” so that special phrases (if completed with accuracy) are “volleyed” to one’s opponent. I’m very much interested in this notion of using music to “coreograph” gameplay, add musical variety in a way that breaks with the predominant linearity of most rhythm-based games. (Unfortunately, I didn’t have a second set of drums for the final … couldn’t test this.) Thought that this might function as a sort of digitally mediated “patty-cake,” but that’s for another day.

Recipe

Four drums rigged up with piezo elements make for four simple knock sensors.

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Added some quarter inch jacks into the circuit in order to make the game a little more portable. This way I could use standard 1/4″ cables (everybody’s got em) to hook the drums into a “hub”.

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I’ll spare you pictures of the very, very budget rig I used to turn our horizontal overhead camera mount into a vertical one. It involved lots of duct tape and a mirror. I got very finicky about the “pyrotechnics” involved successfully completing a note … wanted very badly for it to be satisfying.

Given the drums aren’t really tethered down to any sort of game board, I figure I could use this overhead projector setup to make any other sort of knock-sensor type video game … wanted to keep it modular, recyclable. Please excuse my icons.

Here’s a really really awful video of this game not working the night before critique. It had, of course, been functioning perfectly until it sensed a camera in the room. Was ready to admit defeat and not show this in critique until David (best TA ever, savior, messiah) hooked me up with some replacement piezos (turns out I thwapped them too hard … put the sensors UNDER the foam the second time around).

It worked better than this the day after, I promise:
http://www.vimeo.com/3725408