Lucien's Portfolio V5.0.0

Enjoyable Block Game

May 2021

A game made as a final project for MUSIC 2701: Music and Digital Gameplay. The main focus of the project was to study ways to mirror the push and pull of action and puzzle gameplay elements through sound design. In the game, four players compete in two teams -- one teammate each controlling either an action-platforming climber or a Tetris-esque block-dropping UFO, working together to have the climber reach the trophy at the top of the screen. The first team to reach three trophies wins!

Between rounds (after one team gets a trophy) all players have the chance to select one power-up to change their abilities in some way. These powerups would stack between rounds, meaning careful players could find ways to create powerful synergies. Through their effect on the game state, these synergies would eventually bias the sound system towards either an action or puzzle state, depending on if they're employed by a climber or UFO player respectively.

Since this was produced for a class studying the intersection of music and gameplay, the main challenge of this project was the design and implementation of a sound system that reflected the gameplay in novel ways. Cutting a long story short, this ended up revolving around encoding the state of the gameplay as a "sound vector," with three components -- one describing the relative activity level of the puzzle players of each team versus the action players of each, one describing the "phase" of the game (the phases described by the screenshots above), and one encoding the intensity of the current round (mostly measured by how close each player is to the trophy). Using this information, the game attempts to string together chords / melody fragments and layering tracks to create a soundtrack reflective of the state of the gameplay.

More detailed information on this project and the design/development process can be found in this rationale!

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