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  • Results from Game Design Challenge: DS Platforming Innovation

    [07.21.09]
    - Danny Cowan

  • Elendil "Shin" Cañete, Game Designer, Running Beat

    Running Beat is a rhythm-based platformer for the DS. Take control of a musical runner named Alto and liberate the world from silence, one beat at a time. Using the stylus and a simple touch-based system, you must follow the beat of the music and build momentum to accelerate through dangerous terrain, while fighting off enemies in a rhythmic display of movement. Can you keep the beat flowing?

    Objectives and Controls

    The game is split into two screens. Alto and the level are displayed at the top screen, while the bottom screen displays the Beat Vision, a representation of how Alto musically sees the world.

    You can move Alto swiftly through each level by drawing a series of gestures or tapping different buttons displayed on the Beat Vision screen. By following the beat of the music, you can gauge the timing of each tap or gesture.

    Building Momentum

    Each rhythmically drawn gesture allows Alto to gain momentum and perform parkour-like maneuvers, allowing him to blaze through obstacles and terrain. A combo display called the momentum count is displayed at the top screen and will increase as Alto moves faster.

    The higher the momentum count, the faster Alto moves and the harder the gestures will be. If you miss a beat while drawing a gesture, Alto will trip over and the momentum count will drop to zero.

    You can slow down Alto’s movement by drawing a gesture then stopping. Doing so will make the momentum count drop with each skipped beat, and will decrease the difficulty of each gesture until it reaches zero or you perform the next displayed gesture correctly.

    Rhythmic Combat

    As Alto gains momentum, he will attract enemies around him. When this happens, the Beat Vision will replace the gestures with a series of buttons that must be tapped to the beat of the music. Tapping them with the correct timing increases Alto’s momentum and allows him to perform amazing acrobatic attacks.

    End Note

    Running Beat aims to replace conventional platform-game schemes with a music-driven stylus-based mechanic, a method that has been successful in most games such as Ouendan and Cooking Mama. It also improves alertness, rhythmic awareness and accuracy.

    Though it may not be completely original in terms of stylus-based functionality, Running Beat’s mechanics aim to prove that gesture-based systems are not just for rhythm or simulation games, they can also be used for other genres.

    As a bonus, Running Beat also aims to teach core values to players of all ages. By deciding whether to perform that next gesture or to skip it to practice on previous ones, the game aims to educate the player on the value of self-improvement and discipline, values that are rarely seen in most games in our time, regardless of genre.

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