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Old 12-13-2009, 11:48 AM   #31
tlovemark
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I've been working on an entry which deals with the combination of light and color. At its bare bones, my idea is basically turning the visualizer mode of media players into a game.

I'm gonna try to have a rough draft of my entry posted up here by tonight.

Last edited by tlovemark : 12-13-2009 at 12:01 PM.
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Old 12-13-2009, 08:58 PM   #32
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I'm finding the hardest part of this challenge being how to communicate the concepts to an outsider. Here's a rough of my concept, let me know what you think. The more questions the better, it will let me know which areas need clarification.

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Lightwave combines the power of color and sound to create a new experience in music-based games. Playing Lightwave is a very simple and relaxing exercise. First, the player chooses a song from the game’s library of licensed music, or the player can upload their own song if they wish to play with a more personal touch.

As the song plays, Lightwave analyzes the track in terms of pitch, intensity (volume), and tone. LIghtwave creates vibrantly colored visuals based off of the analysis of the music track it is playing. The pitch of the audio controls the mass the colored objects on screen. Intensity controls saturation of the color, and the tone of the audio determines the hue of the colors on screen.
The player can then begin to adjust the three attributes of the song in real time as it plays. These attributes are all controlled by slider bars which can be manipulated by a simple mouse drag or key press by the player. As the player adjusts the attributes, the visual representation of the song is changed in real-time to reflect these changes, effectively letting the player paint with music.

Lightwave has three visualization modes, Liquid, Energy, and Streaming. The Liquid mode fills the screen with a fluid subtance. The color of the fluid changes with the song along with surface ripples and consistency. Energy mode populates the screen with colored balls of energy which bounce around each other. The velocity and number of energy balls present is controlled by the audio. The last mode is the Streaming mode. In Streaming mode, the color is painted on a moving background with brushes that only move up and down (much like a seismograph).

As the player manipulates the tone, pitch, and intensity of the music, Lightwave adjusts how it displays its visualizer to the player, letting the player create their own personal music video with light and color. Sessions can be recorded and then posted online for players to compare with others who chose the same track. Top-voted track visualizations can be downloaded from the leaderboards to each players’ computer.

Another mode in Lightwave is called the Challenge Mode. In Challenge Mode, the screen is split into two halves. One half representing a pre-made visualization, and the bottom mode showing the player’s visualization. As song plays, the pre-made visualization plays with it and the player must try and adjust their own visualization to match the one above. The closer the player is able to mimic the tone, pitch, and intensity, the more points they are awarded. This mode can only be accessed using songs included with Lightwave. There are different levels of difficulty for each song as well, giving achievement-seekers plenty of goals to take down. Top scores in Challenge Mode can then be posted online to the leaderboards as well.
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:51 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob View Post
Cnutt,

Any word on those rules for judging?
Well, I don't think that we can really provide a breakdown of how entries are judged. I've been doing some thinking and my belief is that the entries should be primarily judged on the content of the text entry and any supporting elements (YouTube, Images) are bonuses that help explain the idea but not core to the entry. Does that help? I don't think I can get more specific than that.

It is something we tend to be pretty loose about. After all, there isn't any prize beyond getting your work viewed by our readership... I don't feel that we have to be strong and stringent about it. This could be an error. I'm always open to hearing your thoughts, everybody.
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Old 12-14-2009, 11:46 AM   #34
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Since these challenges aren't really a high-value competition (meaning there's no reward aside from a deserved boost in ego), I kind of assumed that there wasn't a rubrick that the judges went by. Would I be right in assuming that these are judged on basically the uniqueness of the concept itself, and the contestant's ability to communicate the concept to an audience?

I think what bob was looking for might've been whether there was a rubrick that broke it down further, such as:

Integration of game concept and prompt given - How well does the entry incorporate the key features of the challenge into its design. Does the entry look at the prompt from a unique perspective?

Ability to express said game entry - Is the contestant's entry well-written and easy to understand. Does it break down the game in a logical manner with clearly defined sections? Are there any lasting questions about the game's key features?

Logistical concerns - Does the entry explain in specifics how key features would function in the game, or does the contestant instead explain with generalities? Is there a clear effort given to make the design of the game sound?

Additional concerns - Are there any other factors that the contestant describes which go beyond the requirements of the challenge? For example, does the contestant describe the art style of the game or how sound is used? Does the contestant explain their reasoning behind design decisions? Does the entry give attention to how the player may react to play mechanics in the game?

I think this might have been what bob was looking for, but I'm not sure.
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Old 12-14-2009, 12:17 PM   #35
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Right. I don't think we're going to publish anything like that -- it's a pretty casual thing from my perspective. Not to say that we don't take it seriously, and we do absolutely appreciate the effort that all of the submitters go in. But judgments are subjective, and there is no major reward that makes it necessary to be exactingly stringent about judging.

We like good concepts; the strength of the design is the primary thing. I've made a judgment that images etc are more ancillary, if still helpful, to submissions.
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Old 12-15-2009, 01:37 PM   #36
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Just a quick note; I won't be entering this challenge. Not only have I been busier than usual this week (thanks to the holidays), but I also don't feel any of the ideas I've had are at the point of being presented. I've got a few good ideas, but nothing fleshed out enough to be called a 'game' yet.

Just in case anyone was tinkering with an ambient-themed "Music in volumes of space" project. I doubt anyone is, though.

Anyways, best of luck to everyone, and if I don't have a chance to drop in before the next challenge gets under way, Happy Holidays to everyone. I'm off to go seal more Christmas Cards .
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Old 12-15-2009, 08:28 PM   #37
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Tlove,

I see a couple of problems with your design:

First, what do you mean by tone?

Second, explain how changing the pitch of a song could retain an enjoyable listening experience. Are you changing the pitch of every instrument? Of just the melody? Would a song in E still sound good in B?

Third, Adjusting the volume could get annoying. What if I don't want my song to be really quiet, but I want to achieve the visual effect? Or what if I don't want it to be blowing out my ear drums? I think you should choose a different variable.

Also, I just don't know if manipulating simple images on screen is enough to keep people playing - especially if they are listening to constantly changing, really weird-sounding music. I'm not convinced this game would be fun to play.

Maybe if, instead of a colorful blob, they were building a castle, or something.
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Old 12-15-2009, 09:20 PM   #38
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Audio itself has three basic properties, tone, pitch, and intensity. Intensity is synonymous with volume, and pitch is basically how high or low a sound is. Tone is the quality or harmoniousness of the sound. If two instruments play the same note, and you can hear a vibrating-like sound, it means they are out of tone with one another. I'm not a music major, but this is what my research into sound design has yielded.

When the player changes the pitch, all audio in the music track would play at a lower frequency, vocals, instruments, everything. The idea I'm going for with this submission is giving the player a set of tools for them to experiment with their own music with. My main inspiration for an experience was the game flOw. The whole idea of a player setting their own pace and moving about this organic gamespace in a relaxing manner is just such a different approach to a game experience that I had to try something out similar to it.

For the volume part, maybe it would be better to lower the volume of a specific part of the music track, such as lowering the bass. This would ensure that the player can still hear the song at all times, but still give them a sizable amount of control over an important part of the audio.

The experience I was hoping to capture with an entry like this is one that is ultimately a relaxing and organic experience for the player. The visuals on the screen dancing with color and light to match the music as it's being manipulated by the player strikes me as an experience that is ultimately there to let each player make something specific and personal to themselves. It would be pretty impossible for any two players to perfectly mimic each other, each musical piece and the visuals associated with it would be unique to each player and each experience.

The reason I didn't want the onscreen objects to be something concrete like a castle (if we go with your example), is because if the manipulation of the music affects how the castle is constructed, or if it even is able to be constructed at all, then that introduces an inherent sense of "this is the right way to adjust the song, this is the wrong way", which was the kind of experience I wanted to move away from. Instead of a music game in which the end goal is a high score or passing a song, this type of a game would basically be an end in and of itself. The goal is quite literally creating the the music that the player wishes to. I kind of introduced the score system with the Challenge mode, but that's basically me just working something in that would satisfy the achievement-driven demographic. I'm actually really considering just cutting out that whole Challenge Mode aspect because it directly conflicts with the experience I wish the primary mode to impart to the player.
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Old 12-15-2009, 11:31 PM   #39
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Tlove,

It sounds kinda odd to me, but maybe it could work.
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Old 12-16-2009, 02:58 PM   #40
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Hello everyone! I've just finished sending my design a few minutes ago, and I'd like to share it just in case it doesn't make the list. I'd appreciate your constructive criticisms on this one, as we're very fond of this design and might make it into an actual game Here we go.

Crescendo Flow

Game Design Challenge entry by Elendil "Shin" Cañete and Michaelangelo Lee
Art by Michaelangelo Lee and Gabrielle Mendez


Crescendo Flow is a music-driven rhythm/puzzle game for the DS that sharpens music sense and rhythm. Using the stylus and a simple touch-based system, you will rely on what you hear more than what you see. Embark on an adventure as the musical sprite Flow and rescue her world from chaos by composing spells in the form of songs. In Crescendo Flow, creativity is everything.

Objective

Each stage represents a song, and the player must keep a performance meter known as the Crescendo Gauge above a certain level to complete it. This is done by tapping or dragging on a group of glyphs (called Scales) while following the beat. If the gauge falls below the defined level, the player will fail.

Controls

Each Scale’s appearance is based on the length of a musical bar. They will only appear for a set duration of time, and must be tapped or dragged to complete the bar.


Though the system may be reminiscent of the hit game Ouendan, Crescendo Flow deviates by assigning specific sounds to each glyph. They will branch out at certain points in the Scale, and the player can select which glyph to tap or drag first to create their own melodies. Each action can and will affect tempo and pitch, allowing players to shape the song to their liking.

The Screens

All animations and visuals are shown at the top screen while the touch screen displays the Crescendo Vision, a representation of Flow’s mind and speech. It houses the Crescendo Gauge, as well as the Scale glyphs.

Casting

Crescendo Flow features a spell casting mechanic that allows the player to solve puzzles. The game will display Flow in a variety of quirky situations; from fighting groups of enemies to overcoming obstacles such as trees or huge boulders. To solve these problems, Flow must cast spells with the help of the glyphs.


At the bottom of the screen is Flow’s spell sheet. Each spell on the sheet requires a sequence of glyphs to activate. The player can power up these spells by selecting the required glyphs within a Scale. Once a spell’s requirement has been met, the player can cast it by tapping on a special Cast glyph that will appear on the Crescendo Vision instead of the last glyph in the Scale.

Casting spells and solving situations allow players to proceed with the story and level up their glyphs, unlocking more options such as new spells and new songs.

End Note

Crescendo Flow is a vast design and can be tweaked in a number of ways to make it more enjoyable. Its core objective, however, is to teach players about scales and sounds by learning how notes affect one another, as well as the value of tempo and pitch. It’s a great way to teach children and adults alike about the fundamentals of music development while avoiding the nitty-gritty of hardcore study. It also teaches self-improvement and musical appreciation, something most music-based games don’t usually offer.

+

Hope you all enjoyed it. Good luck to everyone who joined the challenge!
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