Hey Drop Fans,
This week we have been experimenting with a few new designs. One of which we described and diagrammed last week. That idea involved battling over control of the music by destroying your opponent’s speaker. While it was originally pitched as a simple concept, it had a number of issues including it’s over-complicated nature. I guess this tells a lot about how complex some of the ideas we have come up with that even our “simple” idea was too complicated.
Often times though you need to actually implement something to see what is good or bad about it. Pretty soon after we started playing we realized some of the inherent issues with that design.
1) It was hard to keep track of everything that was going on. Having two different modes for Drop sections and non-Drop sections convoluted things. Strategy was not entirely obvious as it was unclear whether you should be attacking the speaker or your opponent.
2) Shooting at a static speaker isn’t very fun. We had wanted to limit movement in the game due to the difficulty of moving too much while focusing on the rhythm, but too little movement is incredibly boring. Having raised speakers that you are shooting at made it very difficult to focus on your opponent, which also made things a lot more boring.
Slightly frustrated and nearly ready to just focus on a pure death match, Tao brought up an idea he had thought up before about placing a crossfader in the environment. For those that might not know, crossfaders are a crucial feature in DJ mixers that allow you to mix between two different songs. If the crossfader is all the way on the left then you can hear all of song A and if it is all the way on the right you can hear all of song B. There are different configurations depending on what kind of music you are mixing, but in between those two extremes you can hear the two songs mixed together when the crossfader is in the center.
The theme we have been moving towards is two future DJ warriors competing over the control of the music and thereby the control of the crowd. The crossfader perfectly represents this idea and is a more literal call back to one of the main features that we came up with when pitching the game to the Entertainment Technology Center faculty: a musical tug-of-war. The gameplay is similar to the “push the cart” mode in Team Fortress 2. By standing next to the crossfader (a placeholder box in the picture above) the crossfader will move closer to your side. The more that it is pushed the more that you can hear your music.
Immediately, this felt kind of fun and exciting when we sat down to play it. A lot of the issues with the destroy the speaker model were absent in this new prototype. You need to balance focusing on the crossfader while also focusing on your opponent, otherwise you will be neutralized and the other player can easily move the crossfader to their side. We need to add some simple clarifications to make the gameplay clearer, but are encouraged by how well this fits together with our theme and desired gameplay moments.
Ariel and Elizabeth have been hard at work modeling, animating, and texturing our characters and weapons. You can see the work in progress above. Now that Ariel is done modeling and animating, she has begun art tests to see how we can fit the interest curve of the music to the interest curve of the game. One of our big goals is to create a huge contrast between intro/breakdown segments and when The Drop comes.
Some of the ideas we have been talking about include having the floor literally dropping out from under you as you fall into a new environment (potentially complicated for the physics in our game), all kinds of lights and colored effects being turned on (like you would see in a dance club when the drop happens), and the walls breaking apart with the pieces floating in the air revealing an exciting skybox in the background like outer space with stars and planets in the sky. We will be iterating and experimenting with different ideas to accentuate these critical moments going forward.
Musicians Collaborating with The Drop
Even though we are still relatively early in development, it has been amazing how many people are excited about this project and it’s potential, getting on board with their support. We already have a long list of popular musicians/DJs/Producers who are willing to feature their music in our game and even write original music for the game.
Some of our collaborators now include the record label Boogatti Records and musicians like: Pusher, WBBL, daPlaque, D.end, Basement Freaks, Father Funk, Phibes, C@ in the H@, B-Side, Leygo, JFB and a ton of others. Of course we won’t be able to feature all of the songs we are getting in the prototype, but we want to thank all of these guys for showing their love/excitement for the project and contributing their incredible music.
There was a lot more going on this week, but those are some of the major things we have been working on.
Next week three of us will be going to the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco so we will see you in a few weeks!
Thanks for tuning in!