Level With Me is a series of interviews with game developers about their games, work process, and design philosophy. At the end of each interview, they design part of a small first person game. You can play this game at the very end of the series.
The FRACT team
An aspect of FRACT OSC that we’re trying to develop further than the original FRACT prototype is that of scale. There are some really, really big machines and architectural elements in the world.
For myself personally, this is the magic of synthetic worlds; building impossible and inspiring spaces. Why restrict ourselves when we’ve got virtually limitless tools, right? In any case, I’ve been getting a few enquiries about scale after posting the following little clips:
And to illustrate the scale of the machines and the world here’s a cute little diagram showing the size of the player vs one of the main machines in the game (the player being only a few pixels tall, even at a fairly generous resolution):
And while this is one of the bigger machines in the game, it’s still dwarfed by another, even bigger toy to play with. Hooray for big stuff!
So this week I’ve been giving a more final pass of over the nuts bolts of a few puzzles. What this does is give us a more solid framework for musical structures that interact with the puzzles themselves (I’m being nebulous intentionally, this is super cool, promise)
The big change has been coming back to the bass puzzles; they’ve been riding on very early implementations of some of our tech, and needed some love to get them to parity with the rest of the world. Good news, they’re bassy!
Today I’m tidying up the studio – finalizing layout and features. In the studio we have some simple controls for global effects and parameters for players to fiddle with, but may provide more advanced parameters for those wanting to mess around with reverb, delay and vinyl noise (crackles) further.
The game is designed to permit a certain level of flexibility in how the player explores the world, the puzzles and how they are solved. I was testing a build today and discovered a remarkably backwards way to solve a puzzle (which will have to be addressed slightly) but was surprised and pleased by its’ musicality when approached in reverse.
I love my job
So, I’m polishing and elaborating some of the sound systems in the world – and that starts with a good plan. Quynh suggested I map out an approximation our current voice allocation (synth voices) and then elaborate with the other sound systems (implemented, in need of love, missing etc). Sometimes a holistic view of things can be very informative.
For instance, the bass area of the game (above) is the oldest, and was built using highly-iterated upon sound tech. Not only were we still developing the tools, but our ability to use them effectively. As such, there are a few too many sound shadows in this area – and while contrast is valuable, it’s a little sparse right now.
It was a valuable exercise to quickly mock-up, and will be really helpful in informing the finalization of some aspects of the wacky world we’re building. Oh, and here is the majority of the game world:
This week I’m working on the end game a bit. It’s a complicated puzzle, less from the player’s perspective, but more in terms of what’s going on. Communicating the various stages of interaction effectively is proving challenging, but I think it will be a rewarding apparatus for players to work with. Here are some not-screenshots, more WIP screen-photos while I was working out some of the hierarchies, objectives, and spatial issues (don’t worry, these aren’t spoilery, just cool looking)